For Immediate Release
May 7, 2004
Teacher Certification Funds Restored by Governor Blagojevich
(SPRINGFIELD) The Illinois State Board of Education
praised Governor Rod Blagojevich Friday for restoring
$1.2 million to the area of Teacher Certification, giving
ISBE the authority to rehire personnel critical to support
teachers awaiting issuance of certificates.
We saw our staff in Teacher Certification cut in
half last year as a result of the budget cuts, said
State Superintendent Robert Schiller. We will move
forward to hire staff that can best support our teachers
applications for certifications.
Governor Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 1271 Friday,
part of which included a request by the General Assembly,
brought forth by Senate President Emil Jones and House
Speaker Michael Madigan to re-appropriate $1.2 million
from the Teacher Certification Revolving Fund.
In June of last year, the Illinois State Board of Education
had reduced a three-year backlog of teacher certificates
awaiting renewal down to a matter of a few months. One
month later, that accomplishment was history when the
Governor line-item vetoed more than $21 million from the
ISBE budget. One of the areas hardest hit was the Teacher
Certification Department, where staff was cut so drastically
no one was available to answer the phones.
Teacher Certification is no different than many areas
of state government that are funded through the assessment
of fees. Teachers pay a renewal fee for their certificates
and that money is deposited into the Teacher Certification
Revolving Fund, from which ISBE staff are paid to support
this process. Last Julys line-item veto of $1.125
million prohibited ISBE from utilizing these fees that
are paid by teachers to support certificate renewal.
An additional consequence was the closing of the Regional
Office of Education for the city of Chicago. The State
Superintendent also serves at the Regional Superintendent
for Chicago, where teacher certification renewal should
be handled just like the other ROEs. When the Governor
vetoed the $2million allotted for State Board of Education
Regional Services, he also eliminated funding for the
Chicago ROE where last year alone 10,000 certificates
were issued. After an unsuccessful attempt to get the
money reinstated during the veto session last fall, the
State Board of Education closed the Chicago ROE in December.
During the course of several hearings this legislative
session members of the General Assembly recognized the
critical services provided by staff in supporting teachers
through the certificate renewal process.
Schiller said ISBE has immediate plans to reopen the
Regional Office of Education in Chicago. ISBE is set to
re-hire staff in the department of Teacher Certification,
including transcript evaluators that ensure that a teachers
education preparation meets the requirements of the teaching
certificate being sought, and support staff, which can
again begin to answer phones from teachers and help navigate
them through the certificate renewal process.