CHICAGO – Dec. 12, 2013. Nearly 65 percent of participating school district superintendents believe state funding for education is poor or in need of improvement, according to an online survey that will be released Thursday by Lt. Governor Sheila Simon’s office and Illinois State University.
The survey, required by statute, asked district superintendents to evaluate the services of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Regional Offices of Education (ROEs) and posed several policy questions developed by ISU researchers. The survey will be released at the P-20 Council’s Joint Education Leadership Committee meeting in Chicago on Thursday afternoon.
“This survey collects helpful insights on what is important to local school districts and administrators,” said Simon, who serves as the state’s point person on education reform. “This information shows that people on the front line of education are concerned about school funding. This is an issue that is not going away and deserves our attention.”
The Office of the Lieutenant Governor is required by state law to annually conduct a Service Evaluation Survey that allows school districts to provide anonymous feedback on the quality and importance of services provided by ISBE and ROEs. Distributed with the help of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the 2013 survey was conducted in partnership with Illinois State University’s Center for the Study of Education Policy and their annual Superintendent Survey. This year, a total of 355 districts participated, with 277 completing the Service Evaluation portions and 100 completing the ISU portion of the voluntary survey.
Among the numerous findings of the survey were that 65 percent of respondents would support an increase in the income tax with or without a corresponding decrease in property tax, 75 percent of participants would support a local sales tax for the Education Fund voted upon by a district referendum and over 90 percent of contributors supporting a two year state budget cycle to improve fiscal planning. Respondents rated most services as being important to critically important, and gave ISBE and ROEs high marks in several areas, including leadership, communication, and responsiveness to requests for assistance. Participants indicated that they will need more support in the future for Common Core implementation, professional development, testing technology, and educator evaluations.
Simon serves as the chair of the Joint Education Leadership Committee for the P-20 Council, the state’s top educational advisory body. Unlike other states, Illinois does not have a single official or cabinet position that oversees preschool through higher education efforts. The Joint Education Leadership Committee, whose membership includes top education and workforce agency officials, encourages cross-agency collaboration and cooperation.
A copy of the report and its findings can be found here