This week, as last week, budget analysis and discussions remain the leading concern. The first item in this message summarizes the results of budget changes made by the House Education Appropriations Committee.
The State Board met on Monday evening and Tuesday. Much of the discussion centered on issues of compliance with the provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Board members took following actions:
· Deferred acceptance on the proposed “Illinois Criteria for Meeting NCLB Requirements for Highly Qualified Teachers” – your comments on the criteria should reach me by May 30.
· Approved a proposal to make comprehensive changes in the System of Support.
· Updated the list of providers of Supplemental Educational Services.
This message also contains information on the following items:
· A survey to update teacher credentials – information needed by June 30.
· An update on processing certification and endorsement applicatons.
· Demographic data for NCLB – submission deadline, May 30.
· Reimbursement for services for children with disabilities for the 2003 summer term – submission deadline, June 20.
· Update on review and approval of federal and state entitlement grants
· USDOE Education News to broadcast program on students with disabilities – program airs May 20.
· Illinois Arts Council to celebrate 25th anniversary of Illinois Arts Week – deadline for submitting events, August 11.
House Education Appropriations Committee Makes Changes to Education Budget
The House Education Appropriations Committee met Wednesday and approved amendments that would, among other things, fund the mandated categoricals at 100 percent and restore partial funding for Regional Offices of Education and the Truant Alternative program. The full House will now consider the amendments, which add almost $300 million for K–12 education above the Governor’s proposed level.
In summary, the amendments make the following changes:
· Maintain the Governor’s recommended increase of $250 per pupil in the foundation level;
· Assume use of the DHS rather than the U.S. Census to calculate poverty grants (adding about $54 million);
· By changing the poverty grant, lower hold harmless by about $12 million;
· Fund mandated categoricals at 100 percent;
· Fund Truant Alternative at $12 million instead of $18.6 million;
· Fund ROEs at $17 million instead of $22.7 million (School Services & Salaries)
· Fund charter schools at $4.2 million instead of $7.4 million; and
· Fund new wireless technology grants at $10 million;
· Eliminate Teachers’ Academy for math and science, mentoring and induction, and parental involvement lines;
· Provide $5.2 million in transition funding to hold districts harmless.
Action Deferred on
At the May meeting of the State Board of Education,
members deferred action on the proposed “Illinois Criteria for Meeting NCLB
Requirements for Highly Qualified Teachers” until the June meeting. The
additional time will give Board members and the public additional time to
consider the proposal and the Board’s Education Policy and Planning Committee
time to discuss the issues formally and prepare a recommendation to the Board.
Send your comments to me (email@example.com) no later than
The proposal was revised to indicate that both new and current special education teachers who meet the existing special education certification requirements will be considered highly qualified. More information and a link to the proposed criteria are posted at http://www.isbe.net/news/2003/may13-03b.htm.
State Board of Education Approves Proposal to Begin Comprehensive Changes in System of Support
A proposal to make comprehensive changes in the state’s System of Support was accepted by the Board at its May meeting. NCLB accountability requirements are expected to dramatically increase the numbers of schools and districts for which the state will be required to provide academic assistance.
To handle the increased burden on the System of Support, ISBE staff, in partnership with the Regional Offices of Education and others, have developed a plan to shift the delivery of services from the current centralized model, in which ISBE delivers services from the top down, to a regionalized model. The new approach would rely on Regional Offices of Education as the primary providers of services except for the approval and program administration of most of the grants associated with NCLB. More information is available at http://www.isbe.net/news/2003/may13a-03.htm. You can access the full proposal at http://www.isbe.net/board/meetings/may03meeting/sosreport.pdf.
State Board Accepts Proposed Additions to the List of Approved Providers of Supplemental Educational Services
The State Board of Education accepted additions to the list of approved providers of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) at its May meeting. Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools that receive federal Title I funding are required to provide supplemental educational services for students if the school fails to make adequate yearly progress on the state’s assessment tests for three consecutive years. In such schools, parents are allowed to pick providers from the list of approved SES providers, and districts then contract with the approved providers for services to eligible students.
Survey to Update Teacher Credentials
Within the next week to ten days, the State Board will
be sending you a survey to update the credentials of
Using the Teacher Service Record and the Teacher
Certification Information System, we have already been able to verify that, for
the current school year, more than 70 percent of teachers of core academic
subjects (as defined by NCLB) meet the proposed
We realize this is a very bad time of year to request this information, but we believe the results will be beneficial for everyone – for you in making employment decisions and teaching assignments, for your teachers in knowing whether they are considered highly qualified, and for all of us in meeting the NCLB reporting requirements. The survey will not address every option in the proposed criteria because not all of the implementation details have been worked out (for example, CPDUs for veteran teachers). In addition, we know that we will need to do some follow-up, including but not limited to additional information regarding Type 29 Certificate holders. Nonetheless, we believe that this survey is a necessary starting point and that it is sufficient to establish a strong database for determining whether teachers are highly qualified.
Please keep in mind that teachers whose names are on the list sent with this survey will not be considered highly qualified for the designated assignments unless additional qualifying information is provided through this process.
Processing of Certification and Endorsement Applications
Spring and summer are always peak times for processing certification and endorsement applications. However, the challenges inherent in meeting that increased work load have been substantially increased this year by staff transfers to other parts of the agency. In addition, the many changes in the certification system are prompting teachers to ask for additional credentials, information about acceptable coursework, and other related issues. Unfortunately, the more phone calls and e-mails we receive from anxious individuals who want to know the status of their request, the less time our staff has to actually review transcripts and issue certificates. As a result, we are falling further behind in our processing time, which is now at about 12 weeks.
We are working on a number of strategies to address these problems and will provide additional information to you in the future. In the meantime, we want to let you know, and ask that you tell your teachers, the following:
· Any application submitted before the first week of March is probably still pending. That means that the information we have received has been put into the system but that it has not yet been evaluated for certification or endorsement.
· Teachers should call their local Regional Office of Education for information before calling the State Board. ROEs have access to the data system and can tell whether a request is marked as “pending.” If that is the indication on the computer, there really isn’t anything to know other than that the request is in line for consideration and will be reviewed as soon as possible.
· If a request is truly job critical – that is, an individual has a potential job offer and must know whether he or she is qualified for it – the ROE can request that it be made a rush priority. We are asking everyone to use the “priority request” system responsibly, since it is not fair to all applicants if a few people abuse the system by claiming a priority that can’t be justified. Unfortunately, we have had a number of those pseudo-emergencies.
· Teachers and others who call the State Board Certification Services Division should be prepared to clearly and succinctly explain the nature of their request – for example, are they asking whether a transcript has been received, whether their request has been processed, etc. – so that we can triage the calls. The most complicated requests will go to the transcript evaluators; the rest will be assigned to other staff as appropriate.
· We will be reviewing the current requests to determine whether we have received all information needed for a decision. The lack of a key document often results in a delay in processing a request that has finally reached the head of the line and is ready for formal review. We will therefore be asking individuals whose files have a gap to submit that as quickly as possible.
If you have suggestions for improving the system, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 30 Deadline for Demographic Data Required by NCLB Draws Near
More than 250 districts either did not return the Demographic Sheets they received from NCS Pearson in April 2003 or returned them too late to be processed.
Districts that did not return their demographic sheets
before the deadline will have zeros on their school and district Verification
Reports. These districts must enter the correct enrollment information on their
Verification Reports and return them to NCS
Districts that submitted their information on time should verify the enrollment information and return the reports to NCS Pearson. Accuracy matters. The enrollment data will help determine whether districts and schools made adequate yearly progress for NCLB.
2003 Summer School Approval and Reimbursement Processes for Services Provided to Eligible Children with Disabilities
Reimbursement for services for children
with disabilities for the 2003 summer term must be approved by
Update on Review and Approval of Federal and State Entitlement Grants
The State Board of Education is reviewing and approving
grant applications for Title I, II, IV, and V on site at Regional Office of
Education offices. Reading Improvement block grants should be sent to the
May 20 USDOE Education News TV Broadcast on Students with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education’s May television
broadcast will feature students with disabilities. The targeted audience for the
series is parents, but this one may be of interest to special educators as well.
The hour-long broadcast airs on
25th Anniversary of
The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is celebrating the
25th Anniversary of Illinois Arts Week
You can access the Illinois Arts Week 2003 promotional
package at the IAC Web site (http://www.state.il.us/agency/iac/).
It includes the Illinois Arts Week proclamation from Governor Rod R.
Blagojevich, ways to celebrate, a list of IAC granting programs to support Arts
Week projects and programs, and an Arts Week calendar-of-events form. The
deadline for submitting events for inclusion in the Arts Week Calendar of Events
Join the festivities with hundreds of other schools, parks, libraries, theaters, museums, galleries, and other community-based organizations by bringing the arts into focus in your community. For further information, e-mail the IAC at email@example.com or call 312/814-6750.