Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 6:28 PM
To: Regional Superintendents and Special Education Directors District Superintendents
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 1-9-04
Happy New Year!


Hope all of you are approaching the second half of the school year with the same vigor that you did back in August and September.


If you haven’t already heard today, the State Board Thursday approved the Fiscal Year 2005 elementary and secondary education budget recommendation. I am proud of the recommendation. I say that because it represents concerns expressed by so many of you over the past several months.


The FY05 proposal includes a $609 million General Funds increase over the FY04 elementary and secondary education appropriation, of which 87 percent or $576.6 million alone supports adequate basic education and full funding of programs that the state requires districts provide.


The FY05 recommendation includes:

·        A $250 per pupil increase of general state aid, which equals $396.5 million.

·        Restoring the School Safety and Educational Improvement (ADA) Block Grant to its FY03 level of $66.9 million, an increase of $24 million.

·        An additional $139.1 million to fully fund the state Mandated Categorical grants including special education and transportation.

·        A $13.3 million increase for the Bilingual program to increase the proration from 64% to approximately 75%.

·        Restoration of $19 million for Gifted Education.

·        $30 million for Early Childhood.

·        $23.7 million for Bridges Extended Learning Opportunities (formerly known as Summer Bridges).

·        Additional increases include:  $2.6 million for Reading, $6.2 million for System of Support, $3 million for Career and Technical Education, $4.5 million for Truant and Alternative Learning Opportunities, and $11.6 million for Regional Offices of Education.


The $250 GSA increase represents the State Board’s second down payment of the phase-in plan geared toward meeting the foundation level recommended by the Education Funding Advisory Board and agreed to by the Governor.


The recommendation is necessary especially when considering negative reviews of the state’s funding inequity including:


The FY05 budget recommendation will begin to help schools address these basic finance and equity issues. We hope that your concerns have been addressed in this proposal. I believe the board struck a balance by continuing the $250 per pupil increase of General State Aid, Restoration of the ADA grant and increasing the funding for the Bridges extended learning program, which targets our students who are not meeting ISAT reading standards.


It is important to note that more than 99.99% of the $7.6 billion FY04 education appropriation goes directly to the state’s 891 locally controlled school districts. After continued reduction of personnel and operations, this proposal includes no increased administrative costs at the Illinois State Board of Education.


The complete FY05 budget news release and related documents are available at


We have other additional news to report to you this week. I hope that this message finds you well and appreciate your continued support.


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education


Also in today’s message:


2003 Test Data Verification

As we are well aware, this year was our first experience with calculating Adequate Yearly Progress, including test participation rates.  Many districts experienced difficulty providing accurate information with regard to student groups, enrollment dates, etc.  In the January 7 issue of Education Week, a cover story outlines the ways states across the nation have experienced similar difficulties this first year. We have already begun working with 450 schools to verify student data and update our data files.


In addition to the 450 schools mentioned above, several districts have requested additional appeals of their 2003 data.  We have reviewed all these requests.  Districts who have requested appeals will be notified of how to submit data verification forms within the next week or so.


We are still accepting requests from districts for data verification and corrections until March 1.  This will allow ISBE to process all data prior to the 2004 state testing dates.


To request data verification forms, send your request on district letterhead to:


Planning & Performance Center

Illinois State Board of Education

100 N. First Street

Springfield, IL 62777-0001

ATTN:  Data Verification


You may also send an e-mail with the same request to


Be sure to include the names of the schools in your district for which data verification is being requested, and describe the types of data you would like to correct.


Looking Ahead to 2004 Testing – “An Ounce of Prevention”

Upon thorough review of the 2003 data collection process, we have concluded that overwhelmingly, the greatest difficulty occurred in the coding of student data in two places:  on the test forms, either through pre-ordered labels or through hand-coding, and on enrollment forms that tell the state how many students in which groups were enrolled on the first day of testing.  These two pieces of information form the basis for calculating test participation rates.  The percent participation is the number of tests divided by the number of students enrolled, in each group and in total.


ISBE is making several important modifications to improve the accuracy of school data for the 2004 test cycle and beyond.  These include:


Pre-ordering student test labels:  Currently this is a voluntary process in which school districts may order test labels in advance, complete with bar-coding of student information and a checklist to review.  We are encouraging ALL districts to take advantage of this opportunity.  The deadline for ISAT and IMAGE label orders is February 7th; for PSAE the deadline is February 23rd.  For 2005 and beyond, pre-orders for test labels will be required for all districts.


Student enrollment data:  Districts submit information about the students that are enrolled on the first day of testing.  For the first time this year, enrollment data will be submitted electronically.  The on-line enrollment form will include an automatic check for internal consistency; that is, any incomplete or inconsistently coded forms will not be accepted by the system until they are corrected.


Data Reporting:  ISBE will return test participation data to districts in early June, more than a month before actual test data is returned.  This report will include percent tested, percent not tested, and participation rates for each student group and overall.  Detailed reports will be provided along with instructions for corrections as needed.  ISBE will “red flag” any problem areas.  Districts will have a July deadline for submitting corrections.


Performance Results and AYP:  ISBE will return test performance results in late July, so that districts can determine if any additional corrections are warranted.  Also at that time, ISBE will provide districts with preliminary Adequate Yearly Progress calculations, which can serve as a final “red flag” for possible data errors.  Districts will again have a set deadline for submitting corrections.


ISBE will distribute more detailed materials to districts that clearly explain each step and how to check for data accuracy throughout the process.  We look forward to partnering with school districts to streamline the process and increase our accuracy in the coming year.


Advance Notice of 2004-05 Test Dates


In order to facilitate earlier reporting of state assessment results, the following test dates have been established for the 2004-05 school year:



The assessment website will be updated immediately to reflect these changes.


Spaces Available on Due Process Screening Committee

The Illinois Due Process Screening Committee is seeking applications for individuals interested in becoming hearing officers as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Application materials are available on-line at:

Applications will be accepted through January 31, 2004.

Invitation to Comment on Rules

At its December meeting, the State Board of Education released four sets of proposed amendments for public comment.  These rulemaking items have been posted on the agency’s web site at; choose “Proposed Rules and Amendments”.  Please submit any comments or suggestions you may have to


Part 25 (Certification)


This rulemaking encompasses a number of aspects of certification policy.  Salient among these are the proposed new requirements for issuing and endorsing teaching certificates.  These reflect a new structure of endorsements; the need for endorsements to be congruent with the requirements for highly qualified teachers under federal legislation; and the transition to a standards-based system of credentials.  Comparable updates and clarifications are being made in the portions of the rules that describe requirements for the school service personnel certificate and the administrative certificate.  New Section 25.365 (Director of Special Education) does not represent new policy; it contains material that is being moved from its current location in Part 29 of the State Board’s rules (Standards for Administrative Certification) for organization reasons.


The proposed amendments also respond to three pieces of legislation enacted in 2003.


·        P.A. 93-112 established requirements for speech-language pathologists to receive the school service personnel certificate.  These are reflected in new Section 25.252.


·        P.A. 93-125 liberalized the previous requirement that school counselors hold or be qualified to hold a teaching certificate.  An individual may now qualify as a school counselor either by holding teaching qualifications or by meeting “such other requirements as the State Board of Education and the State Teacher Certification Board may by rule establish”.  Provisions for non-teacher candidates are found in new Sections 25.225 and 25.227.


·        P.A. 93-332 discusses the acceptance of life experience as part of the qualifications for paraprofessionals.  Section 25.510 responds to this new Act as well as delineating requirements for paraprofessionals in programs affected by federal Title I.  Material regarding the use of other non-certificated individuals is reorganized.


In addition, several technical and procedural changes are being made in the rules for accreditation of educational units and approval of higher education programs that prepare educators; numerous outdated rules are being repealed.  The rules for the Illinois Teaching Excellence Program are being amended to deal with cases of insufficient appropriation.  A new Section 25.464 is being added to account for districts’ inability to fill vacant positions with fully qualified staff.  Potential conflicts of interest in procedures for certificate renewal are addressed.  Finally, several clarifications are made in the requirements for moving from the initial to the standard certificate.

Deadline for Public Comment:          March 2, 2004


Part 27 (Standards for Certification in Specific Teaching Fields)


This rulemaking will accomplish two technical corrections, one in the common core of standards for science (Section 27.140) and the other in the common core of standards for social science (Section 27.200).


In Section 27.140(j)(2)(A), a performance indicator is being expanded to reflect the original intent of the drafters of these standards.


Section 27.200(q)(2)(D) requires the competent social science teacher to “describe the effect of globalization of the world economy since 1500 CE.”  However, the reference “AD” is used in several places in the history standards set forth in Section 27.230 of these rules.  The Joint Committee on Administrative rules requested the agency to revise Section 27.200(q)(2)(D) for the sake of consistency when an opportunity arose to do so.


“BCE” and “CE” (which stand for “Before the Common Era” and “Common Era”) are gaining currency, particularly within higher education.  The most productive means of ensuring that teachers are aware of both forms of reference is to include them both in the standards for teachers.

Deadline for Public Comment:          February 16, 2004


Part 29 (Standards for Administrative Certification)


These amendments cover three aspects of the rules and are all basically technical in nature.


The revision in Section 29.10 corresponds to revisions that have been made in other sets of ISBE’s rules to identify October 1 as the date when the new examinations are required.  In each case the new examinations will be first administered in summer, and the three-month delay is needed before the test is required, to account for the time it takes for scores to become available and for the passing score to be established.


The reference to the “general administrative endorsement” at the beginning of Section 29.120 acknowledges that Section 21-7.1 of the School Code gives this title to the endorsement that is required for principals and certain other administrators in similar positions.  The remaining revisions in Section 29.120 are being made for the same reason.


Finally, the changes in Section 29.140 (Director of Special Education) and the repeal of Section 29.150 correspond to the insertion of new material into Part 25 (Certification).  We are now at the point where comprehensive new statements need to be made in those rules about the requirements for issuance of all types of teaching, school service personnel, and administrative certificates, so this is an opportune time to transfer the information that has been stated in the introduction to Section 29.140 and in all of Section 29.150 into its logical place within Part 25.  This transfer will leave only the standards for the endorsement stated in Part 29, which is comparable to the way all the other administrative endorsements have been treated.


Deadline for Public Comment:          February 16, 2004


Part 350 (Secular Textbook Loan)


This rulemaking implements P.A. 93-212, effective July 18, 2003, which amended Section 18-17 of the School Code to allow schools to purchase certain science curriculum materials under the Secular Textbook Loan Program.  In addition, procedural portions of the rules are being changed to reflect the electronic submission of request forms.

Deadline for Public Comment:          February 16, 2004


Notice of Completed Rulemaking

Please be advised that a rulemaking item recently adopted by the State Board of Education is now in effect.  This set of rules has been posted on the agency’s web site at; choose “Rules Currently in Effect” and scroll to the relevant Part number.  (If you print only the affected Sections, remember to include the table of contents for the Part, which changes every time the Part is amended.)


Standards for Certification in Specific Teaching Fields (Part 27)


These amendments originated with one of the determinations issued on June 22, 2000, by the Court-appointed Monitor in the Corey H. litigation.  The Monitor’s determinations identified necessary changes in Illinois certification policy with respect to both special education and general education teachers.  After content standards had been developed for general education teachers in the various subject fields, ISBE was required to “develop content area standards that relate to the general curriculum” for special education teachers.


The new standards were developed with the assistance of representatives of higher education.  They emphasize reading and mathematics but also include fundamental requirements in the natural and social sciences.  They represent a synthesis of selected standards that are already in place with respect to elementary and special education as well as those four curricular areas.  The guiding principle in their development was to state expectations for content knowledge that would enable special educators to afford their students access to the general curriculum as required by IDEA without unduly extending their initial preparation programs.


Affected Sections:      27.10 and 27.350

Effective Date:           December 1, 2003


FY 2004 Final Mandated Categorical Prorations

Selected mandated categorical prorations have been finalized for FY 2004:


Due to the failure of HB 1180, the final proration for Special Education Extraordinary will not be final until late February or early March.  Special and Regular Education Orphanage will not be final until August 2004; however, due to passage of SB1333 the proration will be 100% for both programs.  The final proration for the Illinois Free Lunch and Breakfast program will not be final until August 2004.


If you have any questions about this information you may contact staff in the Division of Funding and Disbursement Services at 217-782-5256.







            February 23 – National-Louis University, Chicago

            February 27 – University of Illinois, Springfield

            March 4 – John A. Logan College, Carterville


Updated information on registration and the conference program can be accessed at the following sites:



·        Lt. Governor Pat Quinn is launching the Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning initiative to encourage an ethic of service and civic responsibility in young people.  This program is for K-12 public and private school students who will connect with community agencies to work on a service project on or during the week of March 31, 2004 (Chavez’s birthday).  Schools are encouraged to address the growing hunger issue in Illinois with service at soup kitchens or classroom food drives.  However, projects are not limited to this specific issue, and can range in nature from cleaning up parks to painting a building to visiting with seniors.


       The Lt. Governor’s Office will also be hosting a Workshop, complete with lesson plans, for participants at the Mexican Fine Arts Museum, 1852 W. 19th Street, on January 30, 2004.  To view a letter from the Lt. Governor to principals, please go to  For more information, please visit or call Lisa Hernandez or Peter Newell at 312-814-5220.




On January 8, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer presented a debate on No Child Left Behind entitled READING, WRITING AND POLITICS.  To access the transcript, go to