Message From State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch
This week the Illinois State Board of Education will be meeting in Springfield and will be framing its fiscal year 2016 budget request for K-12 education, which will be sent to the Governor and General Assembly for approval in January. The Board gathered feedback through a series of five public hearings held across the state this fall, with nearly 200 people providing testimony. Staff will present information gleaned from these hearings at Wednesday's meeting and the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will present its forecast for state revenues for FY 16. Board members will finalize their FY 16 budget recommendation at the January meeting.
Also this week we will honor three longtime members for their dedication and expertise during the past decade. The terms for Board members Andrea Brown, Dave Fields and Vinni Hall expire in January; all three members have already served two four-year-terms, plus an additional two years, and by law cannot serve another term.
All three worked on policies that helped improve the quality of teacher candidates and provide for more meaningful evaluations of both principals and teachers. They adopted more rigorous learning standards to prepare students for college and careers as well as a new assessment system that aims to better measure how well students are learning under the new standards. They led the charge to improve education data to better inform classroom decisions and supported the development of the new award-winning and more consumer-friendly Illinois Report Card. In 2013, they successfully advocated to stop state reductions to K-12 education funding and realize the first increase in the education budget since 2009.
The students of Illinois have been lucky to have these three educators serve them in the classroom and in the Board room. They have each had their own particular areas of interest, but shared one common goal and that is that every decision must come back to doing what's best for kids.
Andrea, Dave and Vinni, thank you for your commitment to public education and our 2 million students. They could not have better advocates.