Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 3:17 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 6-25-04

Good afternoon,


Suffice to say there is nothing to report at this time from Springfield as to the status of budget negotiations. As soon as we have news to share with you, I assure you we will do so.


Next week, because of the July 4th weekend, permitting there are items of interest to you, we plan to send out the weekly message on Thursday.


Last week I asked for your assistance in the search to fill positions for the next year of financial oversight transition in East St. Louis District 189. This week I am pleased to announce that the East St. Louis School Board yesterday accepted our appointment of interim CEO, Stan L. Mims, Ed. D., who is the current Superintendent/ Chief Education Officer of Round Lake Area Schools. He is set to begin July 1st and is already working to hire the management team. Please see our announcement at:


Have a good week,


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education



 Today’s message includes:

  • Extension of RFPs and Parent/Guardian Survey Deadlines
  • Due Dates for Filing General State Aid Claims
  • Missing Enrollment Data Reminder
  • English Language Proficiency Standards for Administrators
  • School Bus Safety
  • Reading Improvement Block Grants Reallocation
  • News Clips


Extension of RFPs and Parent/Guardian Survey Deadlines

ISBE has extended the submission date for applications for two Requests for Proposals (RFPs), the Parent Mentor Project and the Statewide Technical Assistance Center for Parents.  Proposals will now be accepted through August 6, 2004 and the grant period will begin no sooner than October 1, 2004.


Also, the timeline for the collection period of the Parent/Guardian Survey has been extended through September 30, 2004.  The extension will provide an opportunity for schools to disseminate the survey to parents at the beginning of the new school year.


If you have questions about the RFPs or the Parent/Guardian Survey, contact Deb Kunz at 217/782-5589.


Due Dates for Filing General State Aid Claims

Section 18-12 of the School Code provides that the General State Aid claim “shall be certified and filed with the regional superintendent by June 21 for districts with an official school calendar end date before June 15 or within 2 weeks following the official school calendar end date for districts with a school year end date of June 15 or later.  The regional superintendent shall certify and file with the State Superintendent of Education district State aid claims by July 1 for districts with an official school calendar end date before June 15 or no later than July 15 for districts with an official school calendar end date of June 15 or later.  Failure to so file by these deadlines constitutes a forfeiture of the right to receive payment by the State until such claim is filed and vouchered for payment.”  If there any questions regarding this process or timelines, please contact Jim Mathes in the Division of Funding and Disbursement Services at or 217-782-5256.


Missing Enrollment Data Reminder

In an effort to provide AYP participation calculations based on accurate first-day-of-testing enrollment data, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is providing an electronic early data correction window now through June 28, 2004.  During this window, districts and schools can verify and, if needed, correct enrollment data that should have been entered by May 21, 2004, on Pearson Educational Measurement’s SchoolHouse Web site.


During the data collection process, the number of students enrolled on the first day of testing should have been entered for each school with one or more tested grades and then these enrollment data should have been approved at both the school and district levels by the district superintendent.


To date, about 80 schools in about 70 districts have not entered any enrollment data for their schools in the SchoolHouse system.  All district superintendents have been contacted directly by ISBE Student Assessment staff regarding this situation.  In order for ISBE to use the data in final AYP participation calculations, separate approvals are required on SchoolHouse for each school and for the district as a whole (all schools).


Unless these data are entered and subsequently approved by the district superintendent, AYP participation cannot be calculated and the affected school(s) will be considered as not having made AYP.


If enrollment data have been entered for a school, but these data have not been approved at both the school and district levels, the district superintendent should review the instructions on pages 21 – 23 (HOW TO APPROVE ENROLLMENTS) in the Illinois Data Collection User’s Guide, which is available on the ISBE Web site at


If you still have questions about the approval process after reviewing the instructions, please contact Pearson Educational Measurement at 800/627-7990, state code 814.


School Bus Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned school districts of broken or defective welds in the roofing structure of Carpenter school buses manufactured at that company’s Mitchell, Indiana, plant between 1986 and 1996.  In the event of a rollover, the defect could cause the roof to collapse to seat level.  Additional information, including recommendations of the NHTSA, is available at


The State Board of Education is responding to a legislative request that asks us to identify the number of pre-1996 Carpenter school buses still in use by Illinois school districts.  Please take the time to identify the number of Carpenter school buses that have a six digit body number that starts with any number other than “4” that are still in use by your district or contractor.


Please e-mail ISBE at and provide the following:


District name:

Contact name:

Phone number:

Number of affected Carpenter buses in use:


English Language Proficiency Standards

Administrators and teachers are invited to learn more about the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELP).  Administrator training is scheduled for one-day sessions on July 12, 13, or 14, 2004. Initial learning opportunities for teams of teachers will be offered in September. Teacher training will be conducted in two-day sessions.


Developed by a consortium of ten states with input from Illinois educators and experts in assessing ELL students, the State Board of Education approved ELP standards will have implications for all administrators and teachers.  More information and the registration form are available under “HOT TOPICS” at


Interested educators should download the registration form and call Hanka Szymborski at 847/803-3112 two weeks before the event to register for these free workshops.  Additional learning opportunities for administrators and teachers will be offered during the 2004-2005 school year.


Reading Improvement Block Grants Reallocation

On Monday, letters were mailed to eligible school districts letter notifying them that a reallocation of $474, 231 in Reading Improvement Block grant dollars is being distributed per the original formula.  All projects have been extended until August 31.


Schools may use the money according to grant guidelines.  Final completion reports should include all expenditures for the period of July 1-August 31 from the FY04 grant.  Schools must file their completion reports by September 30.


If you have questions, please contact Gale Meisner at 217/557-7323.


NCTAF Weekly Digest

In This Issue:
-- Achievement Gap Widens In South Carolina Schools
-- Educators Divided Over Fast-Track Certification
-- 4th-Graders Say Principal Urged MCAS Cheating
-- Nearly 800 PA Teachers Agree To Retirement
-- Editorial: No Child Left Behind A Failure
-- At Least 90 Percent Of New Jersey Teachers Met Federal Standards That They Be Rated "Highly Qualified"
-- California Says 200 Teachers Helped Kids Cheat On State Exams


News Clips

This week’s news clips may be accessed at