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Macomb Board of Education reviews new tax levy and state's school report cards


In an effort to receive more funding, the Macomb Board of Education in Illinois is requesting a $12.6 million tax levy, a significant decrease from 2012's $13.3 million.

"That's a ballooned levy, we know we're not going to get all those dollars," Macomb Superintendent Patrick Twomey told the McDonough Voice. "We did ask the county clerk to protect the education fund at $8.6 million. So we know what kind of balance we'll have in the ed fund. We know there's a soft decline in that fund."

The request to the clerk's office comes after the Board's approval of the 2013 School Report Cards issued by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Student success

Despite not meeting the standards of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Board stated that the overall achievement of students on state exams is a continued success. The schools and students are "doing quite well" in terms of standardized tests, according to the McDonough Voice.

"When you hear reports of not making adequate yearly progress (AYP), that is just a natural consequence of the No Child Left Behind Act .... No district in the nation will be making AYP," said Twomey.

A benchmark of 100 percent of students meeting or exceeding learning standards in math and reading on standardized tests was expected by 2014. 

Issues with scoring guidelines

Twomey acknowledged that certain aspects of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test have challenged his district's schools, teachers and students. An increase in the base, or cut, scores of the annual exams may have resulted in students not meeting or exceeding the state standards. Twomey stated that under last year's cut scores, his district would have performed as well or better than other districts. 

Penalties that were accrued due to this year's performance have financially affected his district. 

"This year we didn't make AYP in one of our elementary schools for the third year, which then kicked in some of the penalties of NCLB and that penalty was offering supplemental services," Twomey told the McDonough Voice. "It will cost the school district about $60,000 dollars because of the NCLB penalties."

Under the provisions set by NCLB, if a school district does not meet or exceed the yearly progress standards in two years, students are allowed to transfer to other schools. Within three years, schools are required to give students "supplemental services" - mainly tutoring options. After four years of being designated as a school "in need of improvement," institutions have to take corrective action, such as recruiting new teachers, changing the curricula or adding more hours to the school day.