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For Immediate Release
May 20, 2004

Illinois State Board of Education Vice-Chair Resigns
Three Democratic seats now vacant

(Springfield) – The Illinois State Board of Education vice-chair Beverly Turkal submitted her resignation Thursday and called upon the Governor to fill the three Democratic vacancies with his anticipated appointments before the General Assembly adjourns.

“We have heard a lot about accountability over the last five months – but all of us know that the Governor’s plan for education does nothing to improve education, this is simply about governance and control,” Turkal said. “With or without legislative changes, the General Assembly has made it abundantly clear that the State Board – as the Constitution prescribes – should continue to oversee education in Illinois. The Governor should immediately fill the vacancies for Chicago and downstate, seeking Senate approval this session and then make the board appointments effective July 1.”

Turkal was appointed to the board in February, 2001 and her downstate vacancy adds to the two other existing Democratic vacancies on the board. Her term was set to expire in January, 2007. The new appointees could then fall under the reconstituted board or new majority, both of which are currently under consideration in the Legislature. In the event that proposed legislation is not enacted, making the appointments immediately enables the Governor to have a Democratic majority on the State Board.

“The Governor has the ability to bring diversity to the board and if he does so now he can offer the Senate the oversight that they both desire and deserve,” Turkal said and added that if the Governor does not act now it could be as late as November before the Senate reconvenes and is able to consider the board appointments.

“I remain a faithful proponent of the real needs of education including those that focus on closing the achievement gap and bringing equity of resources to all schools, neither of which are addressed under the Governor’s proposals,” Turkal said.

Turkal resigned her position after accepting the position of interim superintendent of the Robinson Community Unit School District 2 which is located in her hometown and where she previously served as the district superintendent.

Turkal served as Chair of the Governmental Relations Committee and a member of the Finance and Audit Committee. She said she is grateful for the opportunity to work as a board member and that she was able to advocate for best practices for all of Illinois school children.

“I was honored to serve on a board that is faithful in its advocacy for improving our schools, driving achievement and bringing equity to the system and am grateful to the ISBE staff who repeatedly equipped the board with the tools it needs to sound the alarms that funding reform is not a single-sided issue,” Turkal said.

Turkal taught in the Chicago suburbs and in her home area of southeastern Illinois. She served as a principal, special education coordinator, director of buildings and grounds, and superintendent throughout her career in Robinson, Olney, and Brussels, Illinois. She has also served as a student teacher coordinator for Eastern Illinois University and worked for a private superintendent search and consulting firm.

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