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February 4, 2002

State Board of Education Announces Further Streamlining Plans

Newly appointed State Superintendent of Education Respicio Vazquez today announced the second phase of the State Board of Education's reorganization that further streamlines the structure and better aligns agency resources with its mission to help school districts.

The plan, which will go into effect March 1, was announced at employee meetings in Springfield and Chicago. By the end of this fiscal year, June 30, the reorganization plan will result in about 60 fewer positions than the 723 the agency had on Dec. 31, 2001, Vazquez said.

The plan is not a headcount-reduction plan, but one to improve the efficiency of delivery of services to schools and the students they serve, he said.

"This plan places the right number of people in the right places to get the needed assistance to schools most efficiently," Vazquez said."It is the result of two months of intense study by former Superintendent Wish and the Core Team of administrators he put in place in phase one of this reorganization."

"Our agency's organization will now be aligned with its mission," Vazquez said.

"This structure is driven by the needs of schools. Although we do not directly serve students, our operations have one goal - to support schools in the most efficient way possible. That is the bottom line of this plan."

Vazquez pointed out that the centerpiece of the new structure is the Center for Teaching and Learning, led by Dr. Christopher Koch, the State Board's Chief Education Officer.The Center for Teaching and Learning will include nearly half of the agency's staff, with all other agency units and staff providing "utility support" for that Center's mission.

Staff members within the Teaching and Learning Center will come from several areas within the current agency structure and be organized into four work units targeting high-priority areas that reflect several pressing needs of schools:

  • Standards Aligned Learning will focus on the rapidly expanding area of eLearning and continue the strong agency focus on Early Childhood Education; reading and mathematics; and career development.

  • Teaching and Leadership will target efforts toward recruitment, induction and mentoring teachers, increasing participation and support for nationally certified teachers; preparation for educators; continually improving the certification process, school and district leadership support and continuing efforts on certificate renewal.

  • Specialized Support will focus on special education; new learning opportunities including alternative schools, regional safe schools, and charter schools; and English language learning, including support for bilingual, immigrant and migrant students, as well as foreign language learners.

  • Student and School Progress is charged with providing intensive support for underperforming schools and districts; delivering grant support for school improvement; administering the state assessment system to measure student progress on the Illinois Learning Standards; and assuring school compliance and accountability.

In addition to adding a new department to help underperforming schools, the reorganization plan also establishes a new department for strengthening partnerships with Regional Offices of Education, which Vazquez says fulfill key roles in school improvement and accountability. Another new department combines all auditing staff from several units into a single, focused unit responsible for audits.

The estimated reduction of 60 positions by June 30 includes anticipated retirements as well as the 15 management positions eliminated in phase one of the re-organization announced January 7.

Phase II Agency Realignment
Description of New Agency Structure

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777