Public education in Illinois
Energy • Environment • Fracking • Public education • Higher education • School choice • Charter schools • Public pensions • State budget and finances • Taxes • Voting • Ballot access • Redistricting • Nonprofit regulation
- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Studies and reports
- 10 Issues
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Illinois
Public education in Illinois
School board elections portal
The Illinois State Board of Education consists of nine members. The members are appointed by the governor and approved by the Illinois State Senate. They serve four-year terms and may serve a total of two consecutive terms.
The mission statement of the Illinois State Board of Education reads:
|“||The Illinois State Board of Education will provide leadership, assistance, resources and advocacy so that every student is prepared to succeed in careers and postsecondary education, and share accountability for doing so with districts and schools.||”|
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Illinois State Board of Education adopted these standards on June 24, 2010, and fully implemented them during the 2013-2014 school year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Illinois compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Illinois as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Illinois's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||2,009||0.10%||0.42%|
|Two or More||58,951||2.83%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A plurality of students in Illinois attend suburban schools, unlike students in Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. Students in those states are more likely to attend rural schools than suburban schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin), Illinois had a smaller percentage of students score at or above proficient in fourth grade math and reading.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|Note: Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Illinois was lower than the national average at 2.9 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 2.4 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Illinois
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Illinois state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 15.8 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is down six percentage points, or 27.5 percent as a portion of the budget, from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 21.8 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Over half of the state's education revenue comes from local funding. State funding accounts for less than 33 percent, and federal funding accounts for approximately 10 percent.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Illinois totaled approximately $28.7 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Illinois and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Illinois totaled approximately $27.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Illinois and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Illinois, the average salary decreased by 6.9 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Illinois ranked eighth overall, or strongest, which was in the first tier of five.
- In reaction to state budget conversations, the Illinois Education Association said on July 17, 2009 that they were not content with Illinois House of Representatives members' preference to make cuts and borrow necessary funds. Illinois Education Association union president Ken Swanson said that the organization favored raising taxes to not only reduce the state's debt but to also continue to provide services.
- On July 13, 2009 a variety of organizations, including the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, released a statement in support of HB 174, a measure in support of "increasing the state income tax while reducing local property taxes." HB 174 passed the Illinois State Senate on June 30, 2009.
- See also: Illinois government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Illinois School Boards Association.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Illinois received a score of 80.2, or a B- average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. The state's highest score was in "standards, assessments and accountability" at 91.0, or an A- average. The lowest score was in "the teaching profession" at 67.9, or a D+ average. The chart below displays the scores of Illinois and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Illinois||80.2 (B-)||69.6 (C-)||91.0 (A-)||67.9 (D+)||76.8 (C+)||75.0 (C)|
|Indiana||77.3 (C+)||72.8 (C)||97.8 (A)||63.1 (D)||71.6 (C-)||89.3 (B+)|
|Iowa||84.2 (B)||67.3 (D+)||74.5 (C)||78.7 (C+)||73.8 (C)||82.1 (B-)|
|Wisconsin||82.4 (B-)||72.1 (C-)||75.2 (C)||79.1 (C+)||85.6 (B)||85.7 (B)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
ABCs of School Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice publishes a comprehensive guide to private school choice programs across the U.S. In its 2014 edition, the Foundation reviewed Illinois's tax credits for educational expenses. The program allows up to $500 in tax credits to be claimed for dependent students' educational expenses, whether they are attending private or public school or are being home schooled. In its review, the Foundation said the tax credit program had potential but needed some updates, such as raising the tax credit allowance. The full Friedman Foundation report can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
Chicago Public Schools
A significant amount of education resources in Illinois have gone to improving the Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the U.S. The district has been plagued with issues in recent times, including lagging academic performance, underfunding, school closures, teachers strikes and federal grand jury investigations. In 2006, a study released by the Chicago Tribune and conducted by the Consortium on Chicago School Research stated that only six out of every 100 freshmen entering a Chicago public high school would earn a bachelor's degree by the time they reach their mid-20s. The calculations were even lower for black and Latino men, at only three percent. From 2001 through 2008 and under the leadership of Arne Duncan, dozens of elementary and high schools were closed. In May 2013, it was announced that the board had voted to close 49 more elementary schools and one high school.
2012 teachers strike
In May 2012, the teachers of CPS went on a nine-day strike that culminated in a march on City Hall. The strike was the first time CPS teachers left their posts in 25 years. Teachers in the district expressed numerous concerns, ranging from insufficient pay and benefits to the manner in which they were being evaluated. In October 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union voted in favor of a new three-year contract, ending the dispute.
Federal investigation of CEO
Barbara Byrd-Bennett took over as CEO of Chicago Public Schools a few weeks after the teachers strike was resolved. Less than three years later, in April 2015, it was revealed that she was the focus of a federal grand jury investigation.
The grand jury began its investigation in 2014, but the CPS inspector general's office has been investigating Byrd-Bennett since 2013. At issue is her relationship with a former employer, a leadership program for K-12 administrators called SUPES Academy, and a contract the district made with the academy in June 2013. The contract involved $20.5 million for "leadership development services" to train the district's chiefs, deputy chiefs, principals and assistant principals from June 2013 to June 2016.
The 2013 contract was not the district's first contract with SUPES Academy. The district has paid the academy approximately $15 million since 2012. The parties had entered into a one-year agreement in 2012 but agreed to dissolve the former contract when the 2013 one was approved and SUPES Academy was officially hired on a "non-competitive basis." The contract under investigation was reviewed and approved by an internal committee, the district's chief procurement officer and the board of education before it was signed on June 26, 2013. Some argue, however, that the contract should have been opened up to give the district a chance to consider competitive bids as other organizations in the area had similar training programs.
The investigation into the contract came at a time when the district was in dire financial straights, including a $1.1 billion-budget gap for the 2015-2016 school year and a Baa3 ranking from Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.
Both SUPES Academy and CPS said they would fully cooperate with the investigators. Byrd-Bennett, who had not been accused of any wrongdoing, took a paid leave of absence on April 20, 2015, while the investigation continued. Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz was appointed to fill in as her replacement in the interim.
Two days after taking the reins, Ruiz suspended the contract with SUPES Academy. He said he thought it was "prudent that we take a pause." All training seminars with the academy were canceled for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year. In a statement, SUPES Academy said it was disappointed by the suspension but looked forward to working with CPS again in the future.
In a board meeting on April 22, 2015, both Ruiz and board President David Vitale defended the board's decision to approve the contract in 2013, saying they had followed the precautions put in place for no-bid contracts.
“Given the information we had at that point in time, and given the information that we were provided as board members, I stand by that vote,” Ruiz said.
After the contract was approved, however, additional information was revealed, and the board and the CPS inspector general agreed to have it looked into further. That was when investigations into the contract began.
"I don't even know who they are looking at. It's a CPS matter," said Emanuel.
"This investigation is very sad, I hope there's been no wrong-doing, but Chicago Public Schools has been a source of patronage, cronyism, dealings, massive bureaucracy. It hasn't really served the families and the parents of the children in a very long time," said Rauner. He also suggested bankruptcy might be the best option for the school district.
- See also: School board elections portal
Illinois has eight different types of school districts: Chicago Public Schools, common school districts, community college districts, community high school districts, community unit school districts, non-high school districts, special charter districts and township high school districts. All of these school boards are elected, with the exception of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Community College District.
- See also: List of school districts in Illinois
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment:
School board composition
Illinois school boards generally consist of seven members elected to serve terms of four years. One exception is Chicago Public Schools, which has six members who are appointed by the mayor. Elections are held on the first Tuesday in April of each odd-numbered year. The terms of board members are staggered so there are three or four seats contested at each biennial election. If there is a vacancy, a member is appointed by the board until the next election.
Illinois does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 was School District U-46 with 40,340 K-12 students.
- The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 was Consolidated School District 158 with 9,305 K-12 students.
- Champaign Community Unit School District 4, McLean County Unit District No 5 and School District U-46 tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with five seats up for election in each district.
- Peoria Public Schools District 150 had the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with two seats up for election.
The district listed below served 409,548 K-12 students during the 2012-2013 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district name for more information on the district and its school board elections.
Path to the ballot
Illinois school board candidates must be at least 18 years old, have lived in the school district for at least one year and be a registered voter. To become a school board candidate one must also do the following:
- File a Statement of Economic Interests with the county clerk and obtain a receipt.
- File the following with the secretary of the board of education or the designated representative: a nominating petition signed by at least 50 registered voters or 10 percent of the voters, whichever is less; a Statement of Candidacy; a county clerk's receipt for the Statement of Economic Interests. They must be filed with the secretary no earlier than 78 days before the election and no later than 71 days before the election during normal office hours.
- If a candidate receives or expends $3,000 or more in an election campaign, reports must be filed with the county clerk.
Education ballot measures
As of May 2014, there were no education ballot measures in Illinois.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Illinois + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Illinois state budget and finances
- Illinois Department of Education
- List of school districts in Illinois
- School choice in Illinois
- Charter schools in Illinois
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Illinois State Board of Education
- Illinois Education Budget
- Illinois Student Assessment
- Illinois Schools Report Card
- Illinois Charter Schools
- Illinois Network of Charter Schools
- Illinois Public School Ratings by PSK12
- Illinois Public School Ratings by Great Schools
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Illinois State Board of Education, "State Board of Education," accessed May 21, 2014
- Illinois State Board of Education, "Mission," accessed May 21, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Common Core: State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed July 12, 2014
- Illinois State Board of Education, "Illinois Common Core Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, "How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Chicago Tribune, "Illinois budget not adequate," July 17, 2009 (dead link)
- Illinois Education Association, "House Urged to End Crisis by Passing HB 174," July 13, 2009
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, "The ABCs of School Choice," 2014 Edition
- Chicago Tribune, "Of 100 Chicago Public School Freshmen, Six Will Get A College Degree," April 21, 2006
- WBEZ, "CPS wants to close first Renaissance schools," May 8, 2013
- NBC Chicago, "School Board Votes to Close 49 Elementary Schools, 1 High School," May 23, 2013
- CNN, "Official: No deal yet between Chicago teachers and school system," May 10, 2012
- Chicago Public Schools, "Chicago Teachers Union ratifies deal that ended strike," October 4, 2012
- Chicago Tribune, "Feds investigating CPS chief, $20.5 million contract to her former employer," April 16, 2015
- Ed Surge, "Chicago Public Schools Suspends No-Bid Contract Amid Federal Investigation," April 23, 2015
- Chicago Tribune, "New CPS boss suspends $20.5 million contract that is part of federal probe," April 22, 2015
- ABC 7, "Chicago Public Schools under federal investigation," April 16, 2015
- ABC 7, "Gov. Rauner says he has little faith in chicago public schools," April 20, 2015
- United States Census Bureau, "Illinois," accessed July 10, 2014
- Illinois Association of School Boards, "School Board Elections," accessed July 10, 2014
- Illinois General Assembly, "Illinois Compiled Statutes," accessed July 10, 2014
- Illinois Association of School Boards, "School Board Member Qualifications," accessed July 10, 2014
State of Illinois
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | Comptroller | Auditor General | Superintendent of Education | Director of Insurance | Director of Agriculture | Director of Natural Resources | Director of Labor | Chairman of Commerce Commission |