From:                     STATE SUPERINTENDENT

Sent:                      Friday, October 18, 2002 9:56 AM

To:                         'District Superintendents, ROEs, Directors of Special Education'

Subject:                 Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller  10/18/02

Good afternoon.  School funding issues took center stage at this week’s State Board meeting in Collinsville.  As many of you have heard me say over the past two months, Illinois education is at a crossroads – a declining economy, reduced state funding for schools, eroding property tax bases and rising operating costs are rapidly draining district resources.  In the face of those challenges is a “seasonal” unwillingness to tackle tough issues – contentious gubernatorial and legislative elections that could mean a major shift in political power.  

 

About 61 percent of school districts are in deficit and, as we are hearing from many of you now, the problem is expanding into all corners of the state.  I really appreciate the concrete examples you have submitted.  If you have not provided us with information on how budget problems are affecting your programs and services, please take a moment to send me an  e-mail.

 

Reminder – Applications for the management vacancies at ISBE are due November 6.  Information and an application are available at http://www.isbe.net/isbesites/isbevacancy/VL02-03.pdf.

 

 

In today’s message:

Ÿ Hazel Crest School District 152.5 petitions for Financial Oversight Panel

Ÿ Financial Profile provides more accurate picture of school district finances

Ÿ State Board calls for stronger requirements for middle-grade teachers

Ÿ ISBE waiver website gets makeover

Ÿ Nominate your board president for Burroughs Award

 

 

Hazel Crest School District 152.5 petitions for Financial Oversight Panel

These issues came to a head for ISBE this week when Hazel Crest School District 152.5 formally requested – and the Board granted – a Financial Oversight Panel.

 

The Hazel Crest District faces severe financial difficulties that would likely leave it without funds to complete the 2002-2003 school year.  The Hazel Crest board voted October 7 to petition the State Board to appoint a Financial Oversight Panel to make the district eligible for emergency state financial assistance.

 

The State Board approved the petition, and within the next 10 days I will be appointing three members to serve on the Panel to review district finances, develop a financial plan and exercise control over future financial decisions.  The Board also directed me to meet with the Hazel Crest Board of Education and other interested parties to explore possible solutions to the financial problems.

 

An ISBE news release about the Hazel Crest crisis is available at http://www.isbe.net/news/2002/oct17-02.htm and  background information is in the State Board meeting packet at http://www.isbe.net/board/meetings/oct02meeting/hazelcrestcover.pdf.

 

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Financial Profile provides more accurate picture of school district finances

Even as the Board is addressing the fiscal emergency in Hazel Crest, ISBE staff unveiled a new, more comprehensive and accurate process for analyzing the financial condition of school districts.

 

As you know, the present monitoring system, Financial Assurance and Accountability System (FAAS), uses a single ratio to evaluate school district finances.  Districts are placed on the Financial Watch List if the ratio of end-of-year fund balances to revenues is negative.  Using that criterion, only eleven of the state’s 893 districts are on the Financial Watch List, yet other indicators suggest that substantially more districts are facing severe financial difficulties, e.g., 61 percent of districts were operating with deficit budgets during the last reporting period and over 160 districts had budget deficits for three consecutive years. 

 

ISBE staff presented a new Financial Profile that uses multiple criteria to present a clearer picture of school district finances.  The Financial Profile could be used as an analysis tool for districts, a financial designation system for the state and as a tool to set technical assistance priorities for ISBE staff.

 

A news release about the Financial Profile is located at http://www.isbe.net/news/2002/oct16-02.htm and background information is in the Board packet at http://www.isbe.net/board/meetings/oct02meeting/profilesyscover.pdf.

 

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State Board calls for stronger requirements for middle-grade teachers

Responding to local educator concerns about creating a separate middle-grade teaching certificate, the State Board today voted instead to redesign the current middle-grade endorsement to ensure that middle-grades teachers have the content knowledge and the range of skills needed to meet the unique needs of their students.

 

Go to http://www.isbe.net/news/2002/oct16-02b.htm for the news release and http://www.isbe.net/board/meetings/oct02meeting/midlvlcover.pdf for Board packet background materials.

 

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ISBE waiver website gets makeover

Acting on inquiries and suggestions from local superintendents, we revised our waiver web page to improve appearance and readability of the material.  More importantly, we have modified both the waiver form and the physical education addendum so that applicants can complete and submit the forms on line rather than print and type on a hard copy. 

 

The waiver site is still located at http://www.isbe.net/isbewaivers.  Direct any questions to

217/782-3950 or email shelton@isbe.net or wtuthill@isbe.net. 

 

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Nominate your board president for Burroughs Award

State Board Chairman Ron Gidwitz and the State Board of Education members asked me to forward you the nomination materials for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award given annually by ISBE to the state’s outstanding local school board president. 

 

This electronic information is in lieu of the paper copy you have been mailed in the past. Please pass this information along to your board members for their consideration. 

 

 

Illinois State Board of Education

 

 

                                                                                    October 17, 2002

 

 

M E M O R A N D U M

 

TO:                 Local School District Superintendents

                        Local School Board Secretaries

 

FROM:           Ronald J. Gidwitz, Chairman

 

SUBJECT:     THOMAS LAY BURROUGHS AWARD FOR THE STATE’S

                        OUTSTANDING SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT

 

On behalf of the State Board of Education, I would like to invite you once again to nominate your local board president for the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award for the State’s Outstanding School Board President.

 

This award was created in 1991 in memory of our late chairman and is presented each November at the IASB/IASA/IASBO conference in Chicago.  This year, the conference will be held on November 22-24 and the award will be presented on Sunday morning, November 24.

 

The Burroughs Award is intended to recognize extraordinary leadership on behalf of education at the local level, especially through characteristics similar to those shown by Tom Burroughs.  The criteria for this award recognize the following three areas of accomplishment:

 

Leadership on behalf of improved student learning and educational excellence,

 

Leadership on behalf of equal educational opportunities, and

 

Leadership in resolving a crisis or major difficulty.

 

For the purpose of this award, leadership is defined as including group skills, such as consensus-building and teamwork, as well as individual traits such as vision, courage, integrity, etc.

 

If you are fortunate enough to have a board president who has provided outstanding leadership in one or all of these areas, we hope you will nominate him or her for the 2002 Burroughs Award.  Anyone who has served as president of a local school board in 2002 is eligible for consideration, including those who might have been nominated last year.

 

The Award Criteria listed on the next page should serve as your guide in preparing the nomination materials, which should not exceed six (6) double-spaced typewritten pages.  List each of the three areas of leadership (improved student learning, equal educational opportunities, crisis/problem resolution) and give specific examples that pertain to your nominee.

 

Keep in mind that you do not need to address each of the criteria.  For example, your district may not have had a crisis or major difficulty or your board president may be especially strong in one area.  However, for each of the criteria that you do address, your nomination must clearly and separately identify the relevant leadership actions of the board president. 

 

To assist the reviewers of these nominations, we would like to ask you to provide selected personal information about the nominee as well as demographic information about the district.  Please use the Nomination Format as a guide when preparing your nomination.

 

Nominations should be submitted to the address listed on the next page by the close of business on Friday, November 8, 2002.  You may fax your nomination to 217/782-3097 to meet that deadline, and then follow with a hard copy for receipt after November 8.  If you have questions, call Patrick Mogge or Kay Evans at 217/782-9560.

 

Many individuals on local school boards deserve special recognition for their service to students and the community, and it is a privilege for us to do so through the Burroughs Award.  We hope you will join us in this effort by nominating your own board president.

 

 

Thomas Lay Burroughs Award

for the

State’s Outstanding School Board President

 

 

Award Criteria

 

How well the nominee has demonstrated extraordinary leadership:

 

*          on behalf of improved student learning and educational excellence,

 

*          on behalf of equal educational opportunities, and

 

*          in resolving a crisis or major difficulty.

 

Leadership in the context of a seven-member school board that represents the citizens of a community must include group skills such as consensus building and teamwork, as well as individual traits such as vision, courage, integrity, etc.

 

Nomination materials should be limited to six (6) double-spaced typewritten pages.  Please remember to base any essays or materials on the three criteria listed above and how the nominee has demonstrated any or all of the three.

 

Please send them to:                 Patrick Mogge

                                                Office of Board Services

State Board of Education

                                                100 North First Street  S-404

                                                Springfield, IL 62777

 

The deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, November 8, 2002.

 

 


THOMAS LAY BURROUGHS AWARD

NOMINATION FORMAT

 

 

Background Information

 

Name of Nominee

Number of Years on School Board

Number of Years as President

School District Name

School District Type (elementary, high school, unit)

School District Enrollment

School District’s per Capita Expenditure

 

Areas of Accomplishment by the Nominee

 

Personal leadership on behalf of improved student learning and educational excellence

Personal leadership on behalf of equal educational opportunities

Personal leadership in resolving a crisis or major difficulty

 

 

 

Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

 of Education

statesup@isbe.net