Illinois State Board of Education

The Illinois State Board of Education has voted to approve the settlement of a years-long lawsuit that claimed discriminatory school funding.
The board's Wednesday vote resolves litigation with the Chicago Urban League, which claimed in its 2008 lawsuit that the state's funding model had a "demonstrable, disparate and adverse impact" on minority students.

The Illinois State Board of Education is drafting a plan to implement the federal law that’s replacing No Child Left Behind. Educators have hailed the flexibility in the Every Child Succeeds Act. But Illinois state superintendent Tony Smith says the federal Department of Education is undermining the law's intent by writing regulations that limit that flexibility.

Illinois education officials are beginning to draft legislation that would prohibit school districts from dropping students from enrollment lists because they don't meet minimum academic and attendance standards.  Illinois State Board of Education officials say that current state law increases the chance that at-risk students will drop out of school.

The head of Chicago Public Schools says Gov. Bruce Rauner's education funding plan is a continuation of a "reverse Robin Hood" education policy where rich districts get more and poor districts get less. 

Peoria Public Radio

Governor Bruce Rauner this week is continuing a tour of school districts around the state to talk about school funding. But a lawmaker proposing changes to the way Illinois funds schools questions the governor’s rhetoric.

Leaders in both parties have accused each other of trying to use state funds to bail out financially-troubled Chicago Public Schools.

Rauner, a Republican, has also been telling students that he plans to increase overall state aid to schools.

During his budget address yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner pledged to fully-fund state aid to public schools. Today, a state senator is questioning the governor's math.

Illinois' public schools receive state aid through a complicated formula. It’s meant to ensure that every school can spend at least 6 thousand dollars per student every year. But for the past few years, state government hasn’t met that obligation.

Rauner said for the first time in 7 years, he wants to fund 100 percent of the state aid formula.

Illinois State Board of Education

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois State Board of Education has approved 29 school districts for low-interest and zero-interest bonds to pay for the construction and remodeling of schools.

The districts will be able to borrow, in total, $495 million through the Qualified School Construction Bond program. The program was created in 2009 as part of federal stimulus package after the Great Recession. 

Illinois' school funding formula relies heavily on property taxes, resulting in deep disparities in districts’ levels of spending. When the state school board met this morning, members talked about a potential change to make the funding formula more equitable. 

sierraromeo [sarah-ji] / Flickr/Creative Commons

A McLean County School is receiving national recognition for closing in the achievement gap, despite seeing its low-income student population double in recent years.

Parkside Elementary in Normal has a poverty rate of more than 52 percent.

The Illinois State Board of Education announced Thurs. that Parkside received a distinction from the National Title I Association for lowering its achievement gap among minority and low income students to 24 percent in 2014. That figure is down 11 percent from 2011.  

District 150 surveying school community to track progress

Jan 13, 2016

Peoria Public School District 150 is surveying parents, students and teachers to get a bird’s-eye view of the district’s learning environment and culture.

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey is a statewide initiative with the Illinois State Board of Education, developed by the University of Chicago. District 150’s Chief Curriculum Officer Susan Grzanich says the survey allows members of school communities a chance to have their voices heard.

A budget request from the Illinois State Board of Education would increase state funding to most school districts.  Only the wealthiest districts would see a decrease, and it would be less than 1%. 

The Illinois State Board of Education released loads of data on Friday, when the latest statewide report card debuted. But it doesn't include other information school officials say they'd really like to get ahold of.

The school report card shows student demographic trends, class size, graduation rates, how well teachers at any given district are paid compared with the state average.

But a key indicator of academic progress?

That's not posted.

The makeup of Illinois schools is changing according to information released by the state.  If you moved every desk, from every Illinois school, into one giant classroom, more than half of the kids in those seats would be students of color.

State education data released Friday as part of the annual Illinois Report Card show Illinois high schools are sending many graduates to college unprepared.

Monday’s District 150 meeting was “math-a-licous” -- as one enthusiastic teacher was recognized for being named Best Teacher by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Kim Thomas teaches math at Woodruff Career and Technical Center. She choked back tears after thanking the district for their support.

“I feel so math-tastic and honored to have this award,” Thomas said. 

She went on to thank her principal Tom Blumer, who describes meeting her as “getting hit by a bulldozer made of math.”

Plan for school funding could appeal to both sides

Oct 26, 2015

There’s no end in sight to the political gridlock in Springfield. But one group says it has an education plan it’s convinced both Republicans and Democrats could support.  That plan is a new twist on an old idea: corporations paying money into a special fund.  They’d get tax breaks.  And parents would get cash to use for the school of their choice.  IPR’s Tony Arnold explains.

Teachers and administrators are working on new guidelines for art education in Illinois. Some schools have no art programs, while others have limited time to teach it. 

Top officials of the state board of education declined to appear before a house committee Tuesday to answer questions about costly perks being paid to the board’s superintendent, Tony Smith. Smith was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, and receives a stipend on top of his $225,000 salary.  Representative Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat who chairs the committee, said their absence shows disrespect and a lack of transparency.

CHICAGO (AP) - State records show that the former Illinois education superintendent left the position earlier this year with nearly $207,000 in severance and unused vacation payments. A public records request shows Christopher Koch (COOK') received $89,000 in severance and $118,000 for 138.5 unused vacation days. Records also show that several dozen other Illinois State Board of Education staffers who left the agency also received cash bonuses and unused vacation payments. Koch had the job for more than eight years under Democratic administrations.

Today Illinois became the first state to release results of the PARCC  assessment , the new standardized test linked to the Common Core.

  Illinois schools Superintendent Tony Smith is warning school districts to be prepared for dismal statewide test scores. In a letter to school administrators, Smith describes the first PARCC results as "simply a new baseline from which we can move forward. He added he didn't want anyone to use the results to "shame teachers or schools." The Illinois State Board of Education is scheduled to release what Smith called "initial, and still incomplete" test results Wednesday. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests math and English language arts literacy.

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois families who don't want their children to be vaccinated will have to get a doctor's note before claiming a religious exemption, but the new law won't affect students heading back to school in the coming weeks. 

Missing the science

Apr 30, 2015

The U.S.

The Illinois State Board of Education has selected a new schools chief.  The board unanimously voted to name Anthony "Tony" Smith to replace Superintendent Christopher Koch beginning May 1.

Illinois received 20 million dollars from the federal government for expanding access to early childhood education. Illinois currently enrolls just over a quarter of its 4 year olds in state-funded preschool for low-income families. 

Illinois State School Superintendent Chris Koch presented the board of education’s budget request to a panel of lawmakers Tuesday. 

An Illinois lawmaker wants to tighten the rules for parents seeking to exempt their children from vaccination requirements because of religious beliefs.


The Illinois State Board of Education is looking for school districts, local government entities and nonprofits to host the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program.  

When the Illinois State Board of Education met today in Springfield, there was a new chairman running the agenda.  One of the first appointments made by new Governor Bruce Rauner was James Meeks, a former state senator from Chicago and long-time pastor of the city’s Salem Baptist Church. 

Failing schools and state intervention

Oct 15, 2014

If you ask Illinois residents what’s most important to them and their families, education is often at the top of the list. So it’s no surprise that citizens expect high educational standards from government and solid financing. But most people prefer their state involvement at arm's length. As part of our HeyGov series about government’s role in the lives of voters, we look at a little-known muscle the state can flex, right in your school district.   

Bet you didn’t know that the state of Illinois has the power to take over your local schools. As in, fire school board members, even those you and your neighbors voted for. As in put a new superintendent in place.