This week we heard the Governor pledge 400 million new dollars for education. It’s an amount, in light of the state’s financial woes that is nothing to sneeze at, but we all know that it doesn’t address the greater needs of our school districts.
I felt that the State Board’s role in the budget process was validated when reporters immediately equated the Governor’s proposed funding increase with the amount of money needed to fund the $250 per pupil increase of General State Aid. They asked me where I thought the money should go. I told them that we will meet soon to define some priorities based on the amount of new dollars offered by the Governor.
I was pleasantly surprised when I began to read the newspaper articles about the budget address. The articles highlighted the fact that $400 million can’t possibly fund: $396.5 million needed to continue the $250 increase of GSA; $66.9 million needed to the ADA Block Grant to its FY03 level; $139.1 million to fully fund the state Mandated Categorical grants; $13.3 million increase for the Bilingual program to increase the pro-ration from 64% to approximately 75%; and the $19 million for Gifted Education; $30 million for Early Childhood.
Again, it validated our role. We have to propose a budget that best represents the needs of all of our districts. We can’t say that what’s good for one city is great for the rest. We must choose to be equitable with our resources. And the needs that drove the State Board’s budget proposal provided reporters and editorial writers over the past month with the information that they needed to ask the tough questions.
We stand at the beginning of what will be an intriguing
session of the General Assembly. As I read those newspaper stories it was
obvious that the battle lines were already drawn, with suburban lawmakers pitted
against downstate and
The answer that remains to materialize is where that $400 million will come from, if the corporate tax loopholes are not closed. How great of a priority is education then? Is education a real priority or a bargaining chip for other wants and needs of this current administration?
So stay tuned, because at this point it remains to be seen whether or not education can claim its share of this budget as a victory.
Also in today’s message:
English Language Proficiency Standards
Students New to the
Based on a recent announcement from the U.S. Department
of Education (DOE), ISBE has decided to no longer include limited English
proficient (LEP) students who are new to the U.S. (i.e., who are in their first
school year in this country) in AYP performance computations. However,
these students will still be included in AYP participation calculations.
Unfortunately, the information that is needed to identify these students is not
being collected in pre-ID label data files, on pre-ID label rosters, or by
gridding on students’ state testing answer documents. ISBE is exploring
options for collecting the information after testing is completed.
Detailed instructions for identifying LEP students who are new to the
Financial Profiles Coming Out
School districts will receive their Financial Profile scores based on 2003 data next week. Several changes have been made to the calculations (for instance, to include the working cash fund) and both 2002 and 2003 scores have been provided. It is important for you to review these scores to verify the accuracy of the data and score and to submit any public comments through the process that is outlined in upcoming communication. We anticipate making the 2004 designations based on the 2003 data during the State Board’s March meeting.
Proposed Rule Making
This is a reminder that the public comment period on
proposed changes to the certification rules Part 25 will end on
New Uses for OTIS
We are moving ahead with additional uses for the Online
Teacher Information System known as OTIS. Two new uses have been announced
to the groups most affected – i.e., online application for certificates by
candidates for certification by entitlement and online application and
registration of substitute certificates for
Most significantly, you will now be able to use OTIS as described in earlier messages to determine whether a teacher has been certified even before their certificate has reached the candidate. Of longer-term significance, we plan to expand the use of OTIS for substitute and duplicate certificate applications within the next month. Soon thereafter we expect to make it possible for candidates to apply for all types of certificates and endorsements online.
Those of you who use OTIS will notice that it has been
further simplified and we believe that it is even more user-friendly than when
it was first introduced. This new system has been quickly developed in
order to better serve
NCLB & eGrant Management System Training
Plans are underway to release the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) consolidated application this spring through the State Board of Education’s new eGrant Management System (eGMS). The following grants will be included:
This web-based system eliminates the paper process, improves data quality and makes filing grant applications more efficient by improving the review and approval turnaround. Over the next two to three years, the Agency plans to phase in the release of more than 60 grants through eGMS. Training dates and locations are being scheduled and will be shared with you in the coming weeks.
Data Verification Deadline Reminder
Window for 2003 test cycle closes March 1-- We are still accepting requests from districts for 2003 data verification and corrections until March 1. This deadline 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:
ATTN: Data Verification
You may also send an e-mail with the same request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 corrections you seek.
Statewide Professional Development Activities Webpage
We have now listed the “Statewide Professional Development Activities Webpage” on the main “Teachers” page and the “Administrators” page
You will find them under announcements and also under professional development on these pages.
United States Department of Agriculture Commodity Alert A672 Pork Roast
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has received a complaint regarding United States Department of Agriculture Commodity A672 Pork Roast. The string wrapping the A672 Pork Roast may be green and/or moldy. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is investigating the complaint and has determined A672 Pork Roast found in this condition should not be used.
If you have received A672 Pork Roast you are advised to carefully inspect each roast as it is unpacked for evidence of moldy and/or green string. Any A672 Pork Roast found in this condition should not be used.
If you find A672 Pork Roast in this condition, immediately contact ISBE, Nutrition Programs and Support Services at 1-800-545-7892. Please keep the A672 Pork Roast, box, and packaging so they are available for inspection.
GIS in K-12 Education: Opening Your
Student's Eyes with GIS & GPS
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Plaza G in
The Illinois GIS Association is happy to
announce a free half-day workshop offered to teachers in K-12 classrooms to
learn about Geographical Information System and Global Positioning System (GIS –
GPS) and how these technologies can be incorporated into the classroom.
Discover the rapidly growing benefits of GIS and GPS as new and essential tools for student learning in the 21st Century. These two tools engage students in active hands-on learning, foster critical thinking, involve students in investigations of relevant real-issues, employ problem based learning, and advance the technology literacy, goals of the educational community.
It is our hope that this workshop will stimulate the interest of schools across the State of
The workshop will be held April 14 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Ill., from 1pm - 4pm. CPDU's will be available for this workshop as well. This hotel offers plenty of convenient parking. Seating is limited, so if you are interested in attending, be sure to RSVP so a seat and materials can be reserved. Additional information can be found at www.gis2gps.com.
Week of the Classroom Teacher
The Association for Childhood Education
International (ACEI) has
Free resources to use in planning activities that honor teachers can be found at www.acei.org under “Week of the Classroom Teacher.”
Dave is the band teacher at
Dave is a passionate teacher who is excited to share his experiences with other teachers and exchange ideas for strengthening and uplifting the teaching profession.
To schedule Dave for your next function please contact Bonnie Schaap at 847/718-7609.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week
February 22-29 will mark the 17th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW). Sponsored by the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), NEDAW is the nation’s largest eating disorders outreach effort. During NEDAW, more than 500 volunteer activists will partner with NEDA to help individuals in their community “Get Real” about eating disorders.
An important aim of NEDAW is to inform the public about the serious consequences of eating disorders not only through events, but also through information and stories in national and local media.
For information about NEDAW activities and events visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
Questions regarding this issue should be directed to Jerry Scranton, Principal Operations Consultant at 1-800-545-7892 or
Severe Weather Preparedness Week
Severe Weather Preparedness Week is scheduled for
February 29 -
Congressman Henry Hyde recently announced the 6th Congressional District Essay Contest. The contest is offered to 8th grade students and high school seniors. The topic of the essays is: What is the role of the United Nations in fighting terrorism? Deadline for entries is April 13.
All contestants will receive a certificate of participation. Cash awards will be given to the top three winners in the amounts of $500, $200 and $100. For additional information call 630/766-8384.
Young Authors Conference
The 30th Annual Statewide Young Authors
Conference, co-sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education and the
Illinois Language and Literacy Council, will be held on