Illinois legislation to remove school boards

iasb

LATE BREAKING NEWS!
ISBE FILE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER REMOVAL LEGISLATION!

The ALR 98-11 outlined some of the provisions being sought by the ISBE to facilitate school district takeovers and removal of school board members. It seems that talks have stalled and they will not be making the changes proposed by the Alliance. You will be able to obtain a copy of the proposal as soon as the amendment is filed. SB 2340 (Steans, D-Chicago) is purported to be the legislation that will contain the egregious provisions. It will be heard in the Senate Education Committee at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16 th in Room 400 of the State Capitol.

Please contact your Senator, the members of the Senate Education Committee and Senator Heather Steans and express your opposition to this legislation!   As the legislation also will preclude the public from electing a school board it would be helpful to also ask community members to contact these senators as well.

Senate Education Committee Members:

Senator Willie Delgado (D), Chairman 217-782-5652 773-292-0202
Senator Kimberly Lightford (D), V-Chairperson 217-782-8505
Senator David Luechtefeld, (R), Minority Spokesperson 217-782-8137 618-243-9014
Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D) 217-782-0052 815-254-4211
Senator Daniel Biss (D) 217-782-2119 847-568-1250
Senator Bill Cunningham (D) 217-782-5245 773-445-8128
Senator Iris Martinez (D) 217-782-8191 773-463-0720
Senator Julie Morrison (D) 217-782-3650 847-945-5200
Senator Michael Noland (D) 217-782-7746 847-214-8864
Senator Steve Stadelman (D) 217-782-8022 815-987-7557
Senator Jason Barickman (R) 217-782-6597 309-661-2788
Senator Karen McConnaughay (R) 217-782-1977 847-214-8245
Senator Sue Rezin (R) 217-782-3840 815-220-8720
Senator Chapin Rose (R) 217-558-1006 217-607-1853

A recap of some of the provisions include:

  • The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will have the authority to remove entire school boards and appoint an “Independent Authority” (IA) to take over operations of the school district if certain (non-specified) governance issues are present.
  • The “trigger” for removal of school boards would begin with the lowest 5% of school districts in student achievement (as determined by the ISBE). All such districts would be eligible for school board removal. Each of the school districts on the “5% list” would have to apply for full accreditation from an out-of-state, national organization (chosen by the ISBE). If the school district did not achieve full accreditation, the ISBE could remove the entire school board and appoint the IA.
  • It is not clear what the criteria or standards are that would be used by the accrediting organization – but they would not be linked to any current Illinois State law or expectation for Illinois school board members.
  • Upon removal of the school board and installation of the Independent Authority, the ISBE would “suspend” school board elections – taking away the right of the citizens of the community to elect a school board.
  • The Alliance opposes the notion of using a national accreditation organization to “grade” local school boards. The proposal predisposes that all school districts that are on the list of the “5% of lowest achievers” have school boards that are guilty of dysfunctional, unethical, or illegal governance practices and therefore must have to “prove their innocence” through an accreditation process or face removal from office.
  • The Alliance also opposes stripping the voting rights away from the residents of a school district.

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