Thursday, July 16, 2015

ISBE News

Proration vs. per-pupil cuts
The discussion among Illinois State Board of Education members on whether funding should be distributed on a proration basis or as per-pupil cuts will continue as the board has decided to forgo issuing a formal opinion at this time. Some members argue that without offering a position soon, proration will remain the default approach for distribution of state education dollars. Others, including Chairman Meeks, feel that withholding an official position at this time will allow ISBE to remain in the discussion regarding how budget funds will be sent to individual districts. The Illinois State Board of Education does not meet in July, so we may not see a resolution of this issue until August.

State-administered ESEA waiver requests
ISBE is requesting a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for the period of availability of Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 funds under state-administered Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Mathematics and Science Partnership programs. If granted, ISBE would have extended authority to distribute the funds to proper sub-recipients with the goal of improving the quality of instruction and academic achievement, and continuing to assist the current populations served by such programs. Sub-recipients impacted by this waiver can submit comments to Tara Bell at tbell@isbe.net by July 24.

Deadline for waiver applications
August 14 is the postmark deadline for applications from school districts seeking waivers from state mandates to be considered by the General Assembly this fall. Waiver applications and instructions, as wells as an overview of the waiver process and posting requirements can be found here.

Student Assessment Inventory Pilot
Bensenville SD 2, Urbana SD 116, and Aurora West USD 129 have all been participating in a pilot of the Student Assessment Inventory for School Districts. The intent of the project is to streamline assessment systems to ensure the measuring tools are providing valuable information.

Bensenville staff has gathered and analyzed data and presented recommendations to the school board. Urbana has also completed data collections and is currently reviewing the information for redundancies and possible gaps within the systems. Urbana is also looking at how its systems impact specific student populations within the district. A committee of teachers at Aurora West recently reviewed its data, as well as a survey of teachers and administrators regarding the district’s assessment system.

As the districts work to implement their recommendations, each has also identified important professional development needs in relation to how the assessments are administered and used. More information about the Student Assessment Inventory can be found on this link at ISBE’s website.