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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2001

Governor Ryan Names Commission to Rewrite Illinois School Code

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed an executive order establishing a commission to rewrite the existing 40-year-old School Code in Illinois.

The current School Code took effect on July 1, 1961. Published by the Illinois Association of School Boards, it has gone from 206 pages in 1961 to 592 pages for the 2000 edition. Between 1996 to 2000 alone, the Code grew by nearly 100 pages. Due to repeated amendments, the Code contains outdated and inconsistent language, obsolete, overlapping and conflicting provisions and a confusing organizational structure that makes it difficult for educators, parents, the legal community and the general public to understand and use the Code.

The school code is the statutes that govern public education for grades K-12. It applies to all levels of administrators, teachers and principals and covers a variety of subjects from nutrition for school children to pensions to school finances.

"We want to give educators the tools and resources they need in order to provide a quality education to their students," Governor Ryan said. "This Commission will conduct a comprehensive study and analysis of the existing code and propose ways to update it so that it can be more easily applied and understood."

"They will also address the changing nature of education so our educational system is the best it can be for all its citizens."

The Commission will consist of school administrators, teachers, school attorneys, school board members, university professors, and members of the public and education interest groups appointed by the Governor. Dr. Hazel Loucks, Deputy Governor of Education and Workforce, will chair the Commission. The Commission will convene for the first time on May 2, 2001, in Springfield. They will prepare a proposed revision to the Code and submit their final report to the Governor and General Assembly by January 1, 2003.

Governor Ryan made the announcement of the commission at the "Excellence In Education" Luncheon at the mansion. The luncheon honors the new National Board Certified Teachers and the winners of the "Why I Want to Be Governor" essay contest for 4th and 5th graders. This year's winners are: Bobby Spasov, Dirksen School in Chicago; Rose Kasboske, Central School in Des Plaines District 62; Erica Jellerson, Thomas A. Edison School in Skokie; Jordon Diehl, Atkinson School in Geneseo District 228 and Shuntez Moore, Penniman School in Cahokia.

The School Code Rewrite is a part of the Governor's efforts to streamline government operations to more efficiently and effectively serve the citizens of Illinois.

"I want to remove the bureaucratic red tape that obstructs the ability of parents and teachers to provide our children with a quality education," Governor Ryan said.

A list of members is attached.

Governor's Commission on Revising School Code

Government:

Dr. Hazel E. Loucks,
Deputy Governor for Education and Workforce, Chair

Dr. Joe Cipfl,
ICCB

Edward Duffy,
Chair, ICCB

Max McGee,
State Superintendent of Education

Ronald Gidwitz,
Chair, ISBE

Dr. Keith Sanders,
BHE

Philip Rock,
Chair, BHE

Bridget Lamont,
Director Governor's Policy Staff

Rich Larison,
Director Governor's Office of Performance Review

Public:

Dr. Henry Bienen,
President, Northwestern University

Terry L. Bruce,
CEO, Illinois Eastern Community Colleges

Russell Clover,
Superintendent, Benton High School Dist. 103

Ann Davis, President,
Illinois Education Association

Cheryl Jackson,
Assistant Counsel, State Farm Insurance

Hazel King,
Illinois Institute for Entrepreneurship Education

Naomi Law,
Director of Special Education, Oak Park Public Schools #97

R. Eden Martin,
President, The Commercial Club of Chicago

Dr. Gail F. McKinzie,
Superintendent, Indian Prairie CUSD 204

Clem Mejia,
Regional Superintendent, Kane County

Lourdes M. Monteagudo,
Executive Director, Teachers Academy for Mathematics & Science

Dr. Gretchen Naff,
President, College of Lake County

Carolyn Nordstrom,
President, Chicago United

Kay Pangle,
Regional Superintendent, Kankakee

Dr. Brad Colwell,
College of Education, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Rev. John Piderit, S.J.,
President, Loyola University Chicago

Luis Rossi,
Publisher, La Raza Newspaper

Dr. James Stukel,
President, University of Illinois

Cha Hee Standfield,
Branch Manager, Albany Park Branch/Chicago Public Library

Paul Vallas,
CEO, Chicago Public Schools

Dr. James Walker,
President, Southern Illinois University

Dr. Wayne Watson,
Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago

Miriam Zayed,
Earle School, 6121 South Hermitage

Wayne Tate,
School Board Member, Marion, Illinois

Dr. Brian Ali,
Superintendent, DeKalb Community Unit School District #428

Sister Judy Cualey, C.S.J.,
Interim Superintendent, Chicago Catholic Schools/Archdiocesan of Chicago

Melinda L. Selbee,
General Counsel, Illinois Association of School Boards


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