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News

For Immediate Release
August 13, 2003

State Superintendent of Education Starts Process of Revoking Two North Greene Educators' Licenses

ASKS LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD IF IT HAS TAKEN DISCIPLINARY ACTION OF ITS OWN

The Illinois State Superintendent of Education has taken the first steps in a process that could lead to the revocation of the certificates of two persons involved in allegedly compromising state test procedures last April at North Greene County High School in White Hall.

In a letter sent to the Pauline Scott, North Greene Unit District 3 board president, Robert E. Schiller, the state superintendent, cited the conduct of two employees prior to and during the administration of the Prairie State Achievement Examination at North Greene High School as representing a breach of ethics and professional conduct. An ISBE investigation following the report of the incident indicated the two people were involved in opening, copying and distributing parts of the test before it was given – a clear violation of the rules.

Schiller’s letter tells President Scott that the Illinois State Board of Education had anticipated that the district would take appropriate disciplinary action against the employees, but has yet to receive notification of any such action. He asks that he be advised by August 18 of any action taken.

“The PSAE was compromised by the actions of your employees. There is a cost to the Illinois State Board of Education to have conducted the investigation and to replace the test items,” Schiller told the board president. “I am discussing with the State Board that the North Greene Unit District #3 be assessed a sum of money as a consequence of the actions of their employees.”

The two individuals were identified as Mark L. Keller, principal of North Greene High School, who holds an administrator’s certificate, and Cary J. Knox, who holds a teacher’s certificate. In letters sent to them, Schiller cited Section 21-23 of the School Code regarding unprofessional conduct in asking for voluntary surrender of their certificates. A surrendered certificate is treated as a revoked certificate.

Certificate holders have ten days in which to surrender their certificate voluntarily or they will be issued a notice for a hearing of suspension or revocation. Certificate holders may choose to surrender their certificate to avoid the hearing process, which is conducted by the State Teacher Certification Board.

If the individuals choose not to surrender their certificates, they can continue to work under those certificates while awaiting the completion of the hearing process.

“As educators we set the example for our students as to what constitutes acceptable behavior,” said Schiller. “Violation of testing rules cannot be overlooked. It is a serious breach of ethics and we must protect the integrity of the state’s assessment and accountability program.”

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777