For Immediate Release
February 18, 2005
State Board approves rule providing preschool access
for undocumented immigrants
Streamlines rules and passes budget
Springfield, Ill. The State Board of Education
has answered Gov. Rod Blagojevichs call to prohibit
state funded preschools from denying undocumented immigrants
access to their programs. At its February meeting on Thursday,
the Board approved a rule amendment that will prohibit
Illinois public schools from denying any services to children
because they lack documentation of immigration status
or legal presence in the country.
We took this action because no student should be
denied access to high- quality preschool based on his
or her immigrant status, said State Board Chairman
Jesse Ruiz. The Governor called for this action,
and the Board unanimously agreed that it is the right
thing to do.
The amendment to the rule impacts all public school programs
in Illinois. No program for children funded by a grant
from the State Board of Education will be permitted to
discriminate based on immigration status. This prohibition
will be incorporated into all ISBE grant agreements.
The rule change now goes to the Joint Committee on Administrative
Rules Reduction Process
Also on Thursday, the State Board approved moving forward
with the elimination of approximately 150 pages of administrative
rules and the amendments to other rules to ease the administrative
burden on schools. One example is the Boards action
to change the rule requiring parents to sign permission
forms in order for their children to receive free textbooks
provided through the State Boards loan program.
The State Board proposed a revision to eliminate this
needless paperwork and allow districts to develop their
own procedures for submitting textbook requests.
The State Board action on Thursday revised a number of
current rules and eliminated hundreds of inactive rules.
The Boards action follows significant input from
educators and constituent groups throughout the state,
who have worked with agency staff. A complete review and
overhaul of the Illinois State Board of Educations
2,800 pages of rules will continue and is expected to
be completed in the next six months. The rules reductions
approved by the board will not take effect until approved
by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
The Illinois State Board of Education has made specific
recommendations for allocating Governor Blagojevichs
proposed $140 million funding increase for elementary
and secondary education in Fiscal Year (FY) 2006. The
Governors proposal follows his administrations
$400 million and $389 million funding increases for education
in FY 2004 and FY 2005 respectively.
The Boards specific recommendations make increasing
the foundation funding level its number one priority.
The Board also placed a high priority on Early Childhood
Education, increasing funding for high-quality preschool
programs by $30 million. The Boards recommendations
- $80 million increase to General State Aid, resulting
in a $40 to $45 per pupil increase
- $30 million increase to Early Childhood Education
- $20 million increase to Mandated Categorical Funds
- $2 million increase to Bilingual Education
- $2 million increase to Career and Technical Education,
- $10 million increase to the Average Daily Attendance
(ADA) Block Grant
- $2 million increase to Regional Safe Schools
- $2 million increase to the Truant Alternative Optional
- $1 million increase to Learning Technologies
- $200 thousand increase to the Philip J. Rock School
- $800 thousand increase to Teacher Certification and
other agency priorities
- $10 million decrease to grants for Fast Growth Districts