Illinois State Board of Education

When Illinois overhauled its school funding formula almost two years ago, it took so much time and effort that lawmakers built in a provision designed to make changes easier in the future. It shows up near the end of the 550-page law, with the creation of the Professional Review Panel — a group of stakeholders and experts empowered to recommend recalibrations of the law.

 

But a measure moving through the legislature now, would recalibrate the Review Panel itself, by giving Gov. J.B. Pritzker power to appoint a chair and vice-chair.

Northern Illinois University will administer the state’s Migrant Education Program from January 2019 to September 2021. 

MEP is a federally funded program of the Illinois State Board of Education. It focuses on providing schooling to the children of migrant workers. NIU Director of Illinois Migrant Education Services Susana Das Neves says most of the programs are geared for migrants during the summer.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker replaced most of the state board of education this week and appointed a new superintendent.

The board includes seven women and two men. The new superintendent, Carmen Ayala, is the first woman and the first person of color appointed to hold that position full-time.

"It's amazing. It's such an honor, I mean, it still hasn't hit me today,” she said. “Somebody texted and said, ‘You know, Carmen, today you made history in Illinois,’ and I was like wow! That's just amazing. It's an honor."

The Illinois State Board of Education is warning schools they may not get reimbursed for free- and reduced-price lunch programs if the federal government goes into another shutdown.

Federal funds for school lunches flow through the State Board of Education, which then reimburses school districts and other programs. At the moment, ISBE has enough cash to get through April, but Jeff Aranowski, director of health and safety at the agency, says there’s no guarantee they’ll get their third quarter payment.

If that money doesn’t come through, the agency will be able to meet only about 40 percent of the need.

More than two dozen school districts learned last week that they're eligible for property tax relief grants from the Illinois State Board of Education. Most of those districts have inadequate funding. But a few already exceed what's needed to provide a good education.

April Alonso / The Chicago Reporter

A series of state laws meant to reduce the number of kids getting kicked out of school appears to have worked. That’s the good news. But the bad news is: Those same laws also seem to have magnified racial disparities in school discipline.

Kalyn Belsha covers education for the Chicago Reporter, and she analyzed three years worth of discipline data from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Veto Override Removes One School Funding Hurdle

Feb 1, 2018
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Less than an hour before Gov. Bruce Rauner was scheduled to deliver his State of the State address, lawmakers in the House and Senate voted to override his veto of a small, technical school funding bill necessary to implement the massive school funding reform that Rauner has listed as his main accomplishment.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

The agency overseeing what’s been dubbed the nation’s worst-funded public-school system plans to hire “storytellers” to relay tales of successes in Illinois classrooms.

The post on the Illinois State Board of Education’s website seeks applicants for storytellers at a minimum salary of $47,400. Spokeswoman Jaclyn Matthews said Tuesday that three will be hired.

At the state Capitol, lawmakers are stymied by technical glitches in a landmark school-funding overhaul they approved last spring to help bring fairness to the country’s most inequitable financial system.

CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS

The Illinois State Board of Education voted unanimously to ask the General Assembly to practically double state funding for public schools.

Last summer, the legislature voted to change the way Illinois funds schools by adopting what's called an “evidence-based model.” That model weighs what each district needs against its local resources. As it turns out, some districts can't achieve even 50 percent of adequate funding, while others have almost three times what they need.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

If you’ve seen Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign commercials, you might think the school funding issue was settled last summer. But as often happens with complex legislation, it was followed by a “trailer” bill cleaning up some technical language.

Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

The Illinois legislature passed a new school funding formula this summer. The state’s public schools chief says there’s a lot left to be done to make it work.  

State Superintendent Tony Smith said the new law is a tremendous opportunity.

“[It’s] a model that really moves resources to the kids that need it the most,” he said. “So there’s a fundamental shift toward equity.”     

"Exams Start... Now" by Flickr User Ryan McGilchrist / (CC BY 2.0)

Three years after Illinois changed how science would be taught and tested, performance data still isn't available because schools haven't seen science exam scores.

Illinois officials tell the Chicago Tribune that science testing and scoring hasn't gone smoothly, largely due to state budget woes.

Illinois adopted the updated Next Generation Science Standards in 2014. A new exam wasn't created by 2015 testing time, resulting in no test or scores that year.

State Report Card Shows Students Fall Short Of Academic Benchmarks

Oct 31, 2016
State of Illinois

The Illinois State Board of Education releases its 2016 report cards today. They analyze how well the state’s public schools are educating Illinois students. 

More than 60 percent of students failed to meet state benchmarks in math and English. That’s according to results from the second year using the standardized test known as PARCC.

Board of Education analyst John Barker says PARCC gives Illinois a clearer picture of the state’s challenges.

One of the few areas that's been exempt from the state's budget impasse -- now in its ninth month -- is public schools, the institutions that prepare children for college.

 

Of course, to get into college, you need to take an entrance exam, like the ACT or the SAT, and that's traditionally funded by the Illinois State Board of Education.

 

But not this year.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois State Board of Education is analyzing a proposal to transform the state’s school funding formula.

At the board’s meeting yesterday, Superintendent Tony Smith called the current formula “fundamentally flawed,” but acknowledged that changing it would be difficult.

"I mean, there’s some significant issues in the state about what you can touch and what you can’t, and so I think it will be interesting to see how that bill does get considered, because it’s also very political, as we know,” Smith said.

The state’s formula now relies heavily on property taxes.

State of Illinois

Most school districts in Illinois would get an increase in state aid if a budget request approved Wednesday by the State Board of Education is adopted.

Only the wealthiest districts would see a decrease, and it would be less than 1 percent. 

State funding for public schools has remained stagnant or decreased for the past five years. Districts with low property values have no way to supplement that aid, leaving Illinois with one of the most inequitable funding scenarios in the nation.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

About half of Illinois high school graduates who went on to enroll in community colleges had to take remedial courses, according to a report released by the Illinois State Board of Education.

The board used data from the Class of 2013, matched with data from the Illinois Community College Board.

The Community College Board’s director -- Karen Hunter Anderson -- says Illinois participates in a program designed to boost graduation rates, and ranks fairly high.

State of Illinois

Top officials of the Illinois board of education declined to appear before a house committee yesterday to answer questions about costly perks being paid to the board’s superintendent. Tony Smith was appointed by Governor Bruce Rauner and receives a stipend on top of his $225,000 salary. 

Representative Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat who chairs the committee, says their absence shows disrespect and a lack of transparency.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

More than 30 Illinois school officials traveled to Springfield yesterday to tell how budget cuts are affecting their districts. 

These days, it seems like every agency in Illinois is complaining about cutbacks. Public school officials, however, are seasoned veterans, having seen the state slash their funding repeatedly over the past few years.

Now, they argue how the pain is distributed. 

ISBE

The Illinois Board of Education is asking for a $730 million increase in its budget next year.

The state superintendent of schools is well aware of the state's financial strain. 

Christopher Koch has been in charge as the state has failed to come through with all the money it's supposed to give to meet local district's  basic needs. But, Koch says, "education is the smartest investment we can make in the economic future of our state."

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

New statistics released by the Illinois State Board of Education show that more than half of Illinois' public school students are low-income.

State of Illinois

State education leaders urge Illinoisans to weigh in on their priorities for education as the state develops the 2016 K-12 budget.

The State Board of Education will hold public hearings to gather opinions and ideas about resources and funding. This year the hearings will also offer attendees an opportunity to give feedback on Senate Bill 16, which would distribute state dollars more equitably among public school districts.