From: STATESUP
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 3:17 PM
To: STATESUP
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn 7-5-05
Good afternoon,

 

For those who aren’t big fans of my weekly missive, you’re in luck. I’m easing my way slowly back into the work week in terms of the opener. Back to normal next week. However, I do have a couple of quick notes . . .

 

I know that most, if not all, of you saw last week’s press announcement and the accompanying stories regarding the approval of our NCLB Accountability Workbook changes by the United States Department of Education. We’ve had contacts from a number of you on some of the particulars of this since we announced the approval and subsequently started posting elementary level assessment results. The 2 percent flexibility for students with disabilities has caused the most consternation for local school districts. We’ll be providing some additional clarification in response to the types of questions we’ve received to date.

 

Also, I know many of you are awaiting more specific information regarding the program initiatives coming out of the spring session of the 94th General Assembly. As bills are signed by the Governor, we will work to get guidance to schools and districts in a forthright manner. Mobilizing around the 65-plus education bills passed has been the raison d’etre of the Agency over these past few weeks. Like many of you, especially given this spring session, we also have to do “more with less.” We appreciate your patience.

 

Hope your weekend was nice . . . and have a great week.

 

Randy Dunn

  

Also included in today’s message:

 

Legislative Update

Although a review of each bill appears as it is passed or vetoed on the End of Session report, here is a quick rundown of some highlighted legislation that has been signed into law over the few weeks:

 

SB 64 (Public Act 94-0014) Effective January 1, 2005, this legislation requires steroid abuse prevention to be taught to students who participate in interscholastic athletic programs.

 

SB 226 (Public Act 94-0028): This legislation amends the Open Meetings Act. If a public body has a website maintained by the body's full-time staff, this legislation requires that the public body post on the website (i) notice of any agenda of a regular meeting of the public body's governing body, (ii) notice of all meetings of the governing body, and (iii) beginning July 1, 2006, minutes of regular meetings of the governing body open to the public. It also specifies how long the postings must remain on the website and states that a failure to post on the website does not invalidate meetings or actions of the governing body. Other additional changes are also made to the Open Meetings Act in this legislation. Certain provisions are effective immediately, with others effective July 1, 2006.

 

SB 1815 (Public Act 94-0069): Education BIMP Bill. Among other things, this legislation requires the State Board of Education to test (1) all pupils enrolled in the 5th and 8th grades in writing during the 2006-2007 school year; (2) all pupils enrolled in the 5th, 6th, and 8th grades in writing during the 2007-2008 school year; and (3) all pupils enrolled in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 8th grades in writing during the 2008-2009 school year and each school year thereafter. The Prairie State Achievement Examination shall measure student performance in writing beginning with the 2006-2007 school year.

 

SB 1676 (Public Act 94-0105): Effective immediately, this legislation provides that individuals who have successfully achieved National Board certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will be issued a Master School Service Personnel Certificate, valid for 10 years. In provisions concerning the Illinois Teaching Excellence Program, this legislation provides for an annual payment of $3,000 to be paid to each school counselor who receives a Master Certificate and is employed as a school counselor by a school district.

 

For the complete list of legislation that has been acted upon, please see the End of Session report.

 

Dental exams required

Public Act 093-0946 (Health Examinations and Immunizations)

As of July 1, 2005 this act takes effect. This act was amended to include dental health exams. This includes all children in Kindergarten, 2nd grade and 6th grade of any public, private or parochial school. Each of the children shall present proof on the appropriate form of having been examined by a dentist before May 15 of the school year. If a child in grade 2 and 6 fails to present proof by May 15 then the school may hold the child’s report card until one of the following occurs:

1.                 the child presents proof of a completed dental examination;

2.                 the child presents proof that a dental examination will take place within 60 days after May 15; or

3.                 the parents obtain a waiver from the Department of Public Health or provide objection to the dental examination on religious grounds.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health shall establish a waiver for children who show an undue burden or a lack of access to a dentist.

 

Each public, private, and parochial school must give notice of this dental examination requirement to the parents and guardians of students at least 60 days before May 15 of each school year.

 

Every school shall report to the State Board of Education by June 30, in the manner that the State Board requires, the number of children who have received the required dental examination, indicating, of those who have not received the required dental examination, the number of children who are exempt from the dental examination on religious grounds and the number of children who have received a waiver.

 

Title I carryover waiver modification

Due to a recent United States Department of Education compliance audit that included Title I Low Income, the Illinois State Board of Education is required to revise the current requirements for local education agencies to waive carryover of more than 15 percent of their current year Title I allocation. Specifically, all Title I carryover waiver requests must include a description of why the 15 percent was exceeded as well as the specific activities to be carried out and the amount of funds to be expended for each proposed activity to bring the excess carryover below the 15 percent maximum. This revision is effective immediately. A copy of the new waiver policy can be viewed at http://www.isbe.net/funding/pdf/carryover_waiver.pdf

 

Questions regarding Title I waivers can be directed to Jacquie Hayes jhayes@isbe.net or Kim Lewis klewis@isbe.net in the Division of Funding and Disbursement Services at 217-782-5256.

 

Invitation to comment on rules

Two sets of proposed rules that were reviewed by the State Board of Education at its June meeting are now available for public comment. These items have been posted on the agency’s web site at www.isbe.net/rules; choose “Proposed Rules and Amendments”. Please submit any comments or suggestions you may have to rules@isbe.net. The deadline for public comment is August 30, 2005.

 

Part 260 (Reading Improvement Program)

This set of amendments results from the comprehensive review of ISBE’s rules. Section 2-3.51 of the School Code establishes the purposes for which funds under the Reading Improvement Block Grant Program may be used and also the formula by which the funds are to be allocated to eligible applicants. However, the law also requires that applicants annually demonstrate their eligibility for continued funding based on “performance progress”, and it permits them to propose the method(s) by which they will do so.

 

The rules for this program are complex because of the need to state the criteria by which proposed methods will be approved, as well as the need to define “performance progress”. Procedural aspects of the rules also affect staff’s ability to meet the first payment date for these funds that is set in the law. In particular, it is necessary to know the universe of eligible entities so that accurate allocations can be made. This, in turn, leads to a need for earlier reporting of assessment results than has been the case in the past, as well as finality in the identification of the assessment methods that will be used.

 

Despite the statutorily established first payment date of October 30, the current rules provide for a November 1 deadline for the submission of performance reports for the preceding school year. Agency staff involved when these rules were most recently amended had hoped to avoid causing districts to implement extra assessments and thus allowed for the use of measurement early in the subsequent year. However, this has not proven feasible because large numbers of reports have been submitted in the fall, making the October 30 deadline difficult to meet.

 

It is only fair that the agency make timely determinations of districts’ continued eligibility so that their first payment can flow when required. Consequently we are proposing a change in the reporting deadline from November 1 of the subsequent year to June 15 for districts not using ISAT results and 30 days after districts’ receipt of ISAT scores if those are used.

 

We recognize that some districts will be compelled by this change to propose different methods of measuring students’ growth in reading in order to demonstrate performance progress. We believe it is imperative to make this change starting with the upcoming school year, and this means districts must know now that the applications they complete over the summer of 2005 will need to identify methods to be implemented next spring (rather than in the fall of 2006). Consequently the change in the reporting deadline has been placed into effect as of June 20, 2005, via emergency rulemaking. The text of the emergency amendment has been posted under “Rules Currently in Effect” for your ease of reference.

 

The proposed amendments are intended to streamline the operation of the program in the respects discussed above and to eliminate some language that is not needed. For example, Section 260.50(b) contains a sentence that is outdated and can be deleted. Similarly, Section 260.55(b), (c), and (d) are unnecessary, because the statute explicitly requires measurement of “the reading growth of students who receive direct instruction as a result of the funding and the impact of staff development activities on student growth in reading”. Also, new language in Section 260.55(i) will provide for a preliminary, less formal avenue of review when districts may be facing ineligibility. Finally, we are generally replacing the word “form” with “format” to denote the upcoming electronic operation of this grant process.

 

Part 675 (Providers of Supplemental Educational Services)

Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), students from low-income families attending schools that do not make adequate yearly progress for three consecutive years are eligible to receive Supplemental Educational Services (SES). School districts are responsible for funding these services, which must be provided outside the normal school day, through their Title I, Part A funds. State education agencies must develop and apply objective criteria to create approved lists of SES providers.

 

The programmatic requirements, approval criteria, procedures, and reporting requirements for the providers of Supplemental Education Services fall within the definition of “rule” provided by the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act and therefore need to be promulgated as rules.

 

Please note that identical emergency rules were placed into effect on June 17, 2005, for a maximum of 150 days.

 

Weekly news clips

You may view last week’s news clips at http://www.isbe.net/news/2005/newsclips/050701.htm.