Illinois (ECWd) -
The Illinois State Board of Education went through a compliance audit by the Auditor General's office and the results were released 6/9/2021.
I don't think there is much we can say on this one. People should know, these board members are appointed by the Governor and are supposed to be approved by the Senate. While we do not know the current status of these appointments and approvals but will update once we obtain that information.
- Lack of Census Data Reconciliations
- Noncompliance with the School Code on Bullying Prevention
- Insufficient Controls over School Construction Projects
- Noncompliance with Annual State Report on Special Education Performance Reporting Requirements
- Noncompliance with Department of Transitional Bilingual Education Reporting Requirements
- Noncompliance with the School Code on Heroin and Opioid Drug Prevention Pilot Program
- Failure to Provide Timely Notification of Felony Convictions
- Insufficient Controls over Illinois Teaching Excellence Program
- Noncompliance with Advisory Council on At-Risk Students Appointment and Reporting Requirements
- Noncompliance with the School Safety Drill Act
- Insufficient Controls over Annual Statements of Affairs
- Noncompliance with Accelerated Placement Requirements
- Noncompliance with Reporting Requirements for Teacher Preparation and Certification
- Failure to Timely and Fully Implement Substitute Teacher Recruiting Program Rules
- Insufficient Controls over Professional Educator Licensure
- Noncompliance with the School Code on Persistently Dangerous Schools
- Noncompliance with Strategic Plan Requirements
- Noncompliance with the School Code on Attacks on School Personnel
- Insufficient Controls over Surveys of Learning Conditions
- Noncompliance with Requirements of the Emotional Intelligence and Social and Emotional Learning Task Force
- Inadequate Controls over Termination of Access
- Insufficient Controls over Annual Report Data
- Noncompliance with the Gender Equity Advisory Committee Appointment Requirements
- Noncompliance with the Educational Mandates Annual Reporting Requirements
- Noncompliance with the State Charter School Commission Appointment Requirements
- Lack of Adequate Controls over the Review of Internal Controls over Service Providers
While we could probably write a book with all the things identified in the compliance audit, one jumps out at us because it points to failures in the very system designed to protect the taxpayers of this state.
Timely Notification of Felony Convictions
After ISBE was informed of their failure to properly report felony convictions to the Teachers Retirement System and the Retirement fund of the City of Chicago, the auditors documented the following response from ISBE on this matter.
"The Agency agrees with the finding. The Agency is proposing legislation to advance to the General Assembly for Spring 2021 session to amend the statute and requires that districts – not the Agency – notify the pension systems of any person who is a teacher who has been convicted, either after a bench trial, trial by jury, or plea of guilty, of any offense for which a sentence to death or a term of imprisonment in a penitentiary for one year or more is provided. The districts already had obligations to report this information per statute and the proposed legislation simply streamlines the reporting by removing the Agency from the process."
Streamline the reporting? Sounds more like it would eliminate ISBE from having to do their job, which they were exposed for in this audit. If the ISBE's solution is to simply remove their obligation from the law, this points to a failure. The purpose of multiple reporting agencies is to ensure those convicted and not eligible for taxpayer-funded pensions will not receive them. Why would we take out such a check and balance from the system?
May we suggest rather than removing ISBE from this obligation, add them as a recipient of the mandated reporting by State's Attorneys'. Our suggestion is in red.
"55 ILCS 5/3-9005 (13) To notify, by first-class mail, the ISBE, State Superintendent of Education, the applicable regional superintendent of schools, and the superintendent of the employing school district or the chief school administrator of the employing nonpublic school, if any, upon the conviction of any individual known to possess a certificate or license issued pursuant to Article 21 or 21B, respectively, of the School Code of any offense set forth in Section 21B-80 of the School Code or any other felony conviction, providing the name of the certificate holder, the fact of the conviction, and the name and location of the court where the conviction occurred. The certificate holder must also be contemporaneously sent a copy of the notice."
If County State's Attorney's are complying with their duties as well as all the other reporting agencies, there would be no excuse for ISBE not fulfilling their duties.
The Compliance Audit can be downloaded at this link or viewed below. The above findings can be found on pages numbers 20-72..
A copy of the financial audit report can be downloaded at this link.