SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today accepted the final report from the Commission on Revising the Illinois School Code. The Commission was formed in April 2001 to conduct a comprehensive study and analysis of the existing School Code and prepare a proposed revision of the Code to update its language and correct obsolete, overlapping and conflicting provisions.
“This is a task we took very seriously, one that required a lot of planning and effort,” said Governor Ryan. “This project is critical to the effectiveness and efficiency of our schools, and our educational community deserves to see it completed.”
The Commission first met in the Spring of 2001, dividing into five committees based on the following subject matter: governance, academic programs, finance, operations and personnel. Each committee met several times, reviewing the School Code line-by-line. The committees then presented suggested modifications to the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee, comprised of Dr. Hazel Loucks, Deputy Governor for Education, the committee chairs and the counsel to the Commission, spent several days reviewing the recommendations and held public hearings throughout the state in the Summer of 2002. From the hearings, along with emails received through the Illinois State Board of Education’s website, the Executive Committee compiled the suggestions
from the various forums and met to discuss possible changes.
Among the recommendations compiled by the Commission, a few areas were particularly emphasized.
Correcting obsolete language was critical, due to the outdated nature of the provisions. For example, the new teacher certification law was passed, yet the old language stating the previous certification requirements still remained in the Code.
The Commission also focused on eliminating redundancies in the document’s language. When new legislation was passed and added to the Code, often the new law duplicated parts of the existing language.
Addressing the changing nature of education was also emphasized. Numerous changes have occurred in the management of schools in the 40 years since the Code was last revised, including significant changes in federal legislation regarding the way schools conduct business. The revised code attempts to bring the State up to date and in compliance with new federal legislation.
The Commission has forwarded its recommendations to the Illinois Legislative Research Bureau, and is working with the Bureau to incorporate those recommended changes that require legislative action into bills for the General Assembly. A small group of members from the commission, and also the State Board of Education, have volunteered to provide additional staff support and resources to assist the Bureau in the revision process.