For Immediate Release
June 21, 2012

State Board Approves Removal of North Chicago 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 North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 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.

“This step is in the best interest of North Chicago students. We must provide them with the ability to succeed in college and careers and for too long, that has not been happening,” said Superintendent Koch. “We need to work together as leaders and do what’s best for the nearly 4,000 students in North Chicago and the community at large as we get this district back on the right track.”

State law requires that the Board authorizes the State Superintendent to direct the Regional Superintendent, in this case Lake County Regional Superintendent Roycealee Wood, to remove each of the local school board 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 and improve school performance and student achievement.

“Difficult decisions must be made in order to do the right thing for students in North Chicago,” 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 North Chicago District 187 were informed that they were subject to possible removal when they entered an Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement with ISBE November 30, 2010 and again in the Notice of Termination of Intergovernmental Cooperative Agreement dated May 1, 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 52 percent of students in North Chicago District 187 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.

Earlier this week, the State Board named a five-member Financial Oversight Panel for at least three years. The creation of the FOP will help the district achieve financial stability. On Thursday, the State Board of Education also took similar action in East St. Louis District 189, authorizing the removal of the local school board to be replaced with an Independent Authority.