Discussion of the FY04 budget remains the most important issue on everyone’s mind this week. Budget discussions dominated the State Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 30. The following issues are included in this message:
· Changes suggested by the State Board of Education regarding the FY04 budget; my testimony this week and next before House and Senate Committees.
Information about the
· A summary of Special Education legislation (H.R. 1350) recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Correction: Last week’s message erroneously stated that “Administrators and Master Certified teachers will be interested in the Illinois Teaching Excellence Program that provides a one-time stipend of $3,000 to teachers who achieve a Master Certificate…” The program, in fact, provides an annual stipend of $3,000.
State Board Takes Action on FY04 Budget; Schiller Testifies in Both Houses
The Illinois State Board of Education at its meeting on
On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, I appeared before
the House Education Appropriations Committee to testify on the education budget,
and on Thursday I appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee. At the
Thursday hearings, I shared the
witness table with State Budget Director John Filan, with whom I have met
regularly in recent weeks to consult regarding education spending in general and
the Governor’s proposed budget in particular. I believe our voice and our
concerns are being heard by the Governor’s office and I will continue to
advocate strongly for an education spending plan that serves
The next significant discussion of education spending
G. Eric Watson, executive director of the IRBB, has sent applications to district superintendents for the IRBB’s Pooled Warrant Program (PWP) for Illinois School Districts. This new program pools the needs of multiple school districts into one bond issue, which results in reduced fees and lower financing rates. Bonds issued by the IRBB are exempt from state and federal taxes.
The PWP is specifically for school districts that need short-term borrowing. In the future, the program will be offered twice each year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
To accommodate the immediate needs of school districts, the PWP’s first cycle has the following short timeframe:
May 12: Part I Application due
May 15: Part II Application due (cash flow)
May 15–June 10: School districts adopt authorizing resolutions
June 17: IRBB sale of tax anticipation warrants
June 30: Issue closes
July 1: Funds distributed to school districts
427 E. Monroe,
217/524-2663 or 800/897-6306
Schools develop partnerships with businesses, civic
organizations, and other community groups to promote participation in children’s
education and maximize the resources available to support learning. Research
confirms that community involvement is an essential component of student
If you have any questions about the program, contact
Phone: 800/252-4822 or 217/786-3010 (ext. 243)
Summary of Federal Special Education Legislation
The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE, www.nasdse.org) has sent a summary of the status of H.R. 1350, the Improving Education Results For Children With Disabilities Act of 2003. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 251–171. Included in the bill were the following amendments:
1. Castle/Boehner: technical amendments.
2. Vitter: amendment requiring Comptroller General to include recommendations to reduce or eliminate excessive paperwork for teachers, related services providers, parents, and school administrators.
3. Bradley: amendment increases small state set-aside for administration from $500,000 to $750,000.
7. Shadegg: findings and sense of Congress that to qualify for special education a child should be diagnosed by a physician or other health professional (intention is to avoid children being misidentified as having disabilities).
9. Kirk: sense of Congress regarding safe and drug-free schools as being a laudable goal for children with disabilities.
10. McKeon/Woolsey: caps state set-asides at 2003 funding levels.
11. Nethercutt: added language to 635(a)(16)(B) “or in a setting that is most appropriate, as determined by the parent and the IFSP team.”
12. Sanchez: added language regarding training of personnel to recognize autism.
13. Wu: targets SIG grants to focus on personnel preparation for early and appropriate identification of children with disabilities.
14. Garrett: requires Secretary of Education to conduct a study and submit a report on the cost of state compliance with IDEA within 2 years of this Act.
If you would like further information, refer to the amendments at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/T?&report=hr079&dbname=cp108&.