FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 Governors 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
There is no doubt the states fiscal condition
is difficult, Schiller said. However, we must
be aware that some of the Governors 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
- 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 Governors
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 Governors veto proposal
can be found at: