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July 31, 2003

State Board of Education Set to Release List of Non-Public Schools Receiving Recognition

Non-public schools in Illinois seeking “recognition” status from the Illinois State Board of Education for the upcoming school year and which met the required procedural deadlines will be notified next week whether their application has been approved, state board officials said today. Last year, some 800 of 1400 non-public schools received such recognition through participation in the voluntary program. However, a line item veto cut to the agency’s budget by Governor Blagojevich has eliminated ISBE’s capacity to carry out the function of registering and recognizing these schools beyond August 15.

ISBE recognition is sought by non-public schools for various reasons, including:

  • It gives assurance that the school's educational program has been approved by ISBE and meets at least minimum state requirement.
  • It is an aid/requirement to entrance in many colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions and training programs.
  • It is a requirement for membership in Illinois High School Association and student participation in Illinois Elementary School Association sanctioned sports, contests, tournaments, etc.
  • It is a requirement for acceptance/assignment to most military training programs.
  • It is a requirement for eligibility of students to sit for licensing examinations in fields covered under the Illinois Nursing Act.
  • Teaching in a recognized nonpublic school is often used to determine placement on the salary schedule when teachers transfer to other schools, both public and private, especially in other states.
  • Student transfers from recognized schools are expedited and credits can be generally accepted.

“The State board believes this is a crucial service, and it’s our intention to work with the General Assembly next year to restore fiscal support for it,” said Robert E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education. “But providing this program is not required by the statutes and we no longer have the funding to perform the work,” he said.

In May, ISBE sent letters to all nonpublic schools in the state informing them that to be processed, their applications for recognition for the 03-04 school year must be sent to ISBE (schools in Chicago) or to the local Regional Office of Education (all other schools) no later than June 30th. All applications that met that deadline were processed before the Governor’s cuts were announced, and those schools will be notified of their status next week. Any application received after June 30 will not be processed because of the budget cut. The recognition program will shut down fully August 15, ISBE said.

Chicago schools that are recognized for 03-04 will receive their certificates from ISBE; all other schools in the state will receive their certificate from the Regional Office of Education.

Update: A list of recognized non-public schools
for 2003-2004 can be viewed at:

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