For Immediate Release
June 21, 2012

State Board Approves Removal of East St. Louis School Board

State Superintendent to appoint independent authority

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) authorized State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch to proceed with plans to replace local school board members in East St. Louis School District 189 with a new Independent Authority. The Illinois School Code allows the State Board to take such measures after several years of poor performance in order to implement meaningful reform and improve academic achievement.

“We are putting the students of East St. Louis first and for too long that has not been the priority in this district,” said Superintendent Koch. “With the help of this new Independent Authority, we will work tirelessly to prepare the more than 7,000 students in this district for success in college and careers.”

State law requires that the Board authorize the State Superintendent to direct the Regional Superintendent, in this case St. Clair County Regional Superintendent Susan Sarfaty, to remove each of the school members. The Board also directed State Superintendent Koch to appoint an Independent Authority, and name a chairperson of that Authority. The Independent Authority, made up of five members, will exercise the powers and duties necessary to operate the district, improve school performance and student achievement

“I am confident that we’ve made the right decision as we move forward to provide a better education for the students of East St. Louis,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “We hope to move forward with meaningful reform that will eventually allow this district to stand alone again with a locally-elected school board at the helm.”

The Board of Education Members for East St. Louis District 189 were informed that they were subject to possible removal when they entered an Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement with ISBE May 24, 2011 and again in the Notice of Termination of Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement dated April 27, 2012.

As part of the next steps following this action, State Superintendent  Koch will establish and communicate performance criteria to determine measures of district progress and eventual restoration of local control.

In 2011, only 60 percent of students in East St. Louis District 189 met or exceeded standards as measured under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. The district’s failure to meet standards for nine years under NCLB triggered the state’s intervention.

Last month, the State Board named a five-member Financial Oversight Panel for at least three years to improve financial stability. On Thursday, the State Board of Education also took similar action in North Chicago Community Unit School District 187, authorizing the removal of the local school board there to be replaced with an Independent Authority.