Public Act 97-0503 created a commission charged with recommending ways Illinois school districts can improve student learning opportunities and reduce duplicative administration costs. The commission was dubbed the Classrooms First Commission by Lt. Governor Sheila Simon.
The commission’s final report includes 23 recommendations to spur school district consolidation and streamline school district operations, with the goal of redirecting $1 billion to classrooms from administration spending. Included in the report are legislative recommendations that will reduce barriers to consolidation, boost use of shared services agreements and increase learning opportunities across the state.
Read the report here
Read the law here
The commission was chaired by Lt. Governor Simon with the guidance of Dr. Lynne Haeffele, a research associate from Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. Comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers from rural, suburban and urban areas, the commission collected local opinions online and at public hearings.
The commission held two rounds of public hearings that were attended by nearly 500 people and included testimony from 85 individuals. Additional feedback was collected from 470 submissions to an online survey in the fall. You can contact the commission here
Meet the members here
Commission Work Structure
The Classrooms First Commission completed its charge over the course of an 11-month three-stage process that allowed the commission to review relevant research
and Illinois data, create working groups
to draft recommendations and collect public input
. You can read more about that process here
Lt. Governor Simon will begin meeting with stakeholders to move the Classrooms First Commission’s legislative recommendations in the coming year. Check back here for more information.
* House Bill 1216 was signed into law on August 23, 2011 as Public Act 97-0503, creating a commission to research issues affecting school districts. The commission is now known as the Classrooms First Commission.