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State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

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July 15, 2003

State Board of Education faces service and staff cutbacks

Special Board meeting assesses budget vetoes

Illinois State Board of Education and Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller today raised concerns about the ability of the agency to maintain basic service levels and proper oversight of state and federal funds in light of vetoes to the FY04 education budget recently announced by Governor Blagojevich.

Their concerns were discussed as part of a special board meeting held by conference call in which Schiller reviewed the vetoes, which total almost $21 million.

Following the Governor’s direction to reduce “administrative costs,” the agency will have to reduce or eliminate various services to schools and school districts by eliminating as many as 80 positions at ISBE. The cuts come on the heels of a recent reduction in force of 45 positions that went into effect July 1 and 120 positions last winter. The agency has reduced its headcount by about 30 percent in the last two-and-a-half years.

“There is no doubt the state’s fiscal condition is difficult,” Schiller said. “However, we must be aware that some of the Governor’s cuts will have a dramatically negative impact on how we are able to provide oversight of grant programs and provide other important support services for Illinois school districts.”

According to Schiller the cuts in grants and positions will result in an immediate significant impact on services such as:

  • Cessation of GED testing or a 100% increase in the fee charged persons taking the test.
  • Elimination or reduction of monitoring functions for numerous state and federal grants – which determines how hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds are used and whether they are being used appropriately.
  • Extensive delays for local districts in the certification of teachers and the closing of certification office and services located in Chicago.
  • Elimination of non-public school recognition process.
  • Elimination of Private Business and Vocational Schools oversight – which monitors more than 200 private, for-profit schools that recruit Illinois students and collect fees. There will be no staff to process applications for new schools, school changes, student complaints or student solicitations for transcripts from closed schools.

State Board members directed Schiller to prepare for them two approaches for addressing the funding reductions: one which eliminates all the positions contemplated by the Governor’s vetoes, and a second that retains some of those positions so the agency can meet minimum federal and state requirements for monitoring how school districts use the money.

ISBE will release detailed news information about impacted programs as it becomes available.

A breakdown of the impact of the Governor’s veto proposal can be found at:

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