(The Center Square) – Overstating its budget, failure to properly audit license requirements and other reporting issues are all listed in an Illinois Auditor General report of the Illinois State Board of Education.
The recently released audit looks at ISBE over the last two years up to June 30, 2022, and in total, had 15 findings and three repeat findings that ISBE did not have proper controls in place to monitor the requirements regarding professional educator license renewal.
According to the audit, ISBE also improperly included a $305 million future appropriation for the Education Assistance Fund as a liability in a different fund. As a result, the fund’s liability and expenses were overstated by $305 million.
State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, who serves on the House education committee, told The Center Square that these sorts of problems should not be occurring at such a large agency.
“It shows a lack of control at the state level, and it’s concerning to a lot of us,” Halbrook said. “I think that an agency this size that is getting nearly $10 billion needs to have some accountability.”
According to the audit, ISBE should have performed random audits of licensees to verify their fulfillment of the professional development hours required to maintain their licenses. Halbrook said these sorts of issues are already impacting students.
“We’ve seen the reports. In Chicago, there were 50 schools that did not have a single kid that could do math at grade level and 30 schools did not have a single kid who could read at grade level,” Halbrook said. “That emanates throughout the entire state.”
The audit states that ISBE has agreed with the Auditor General’s findings and said that they are working on addressing these issues.
Halbrook said the state should only give taxpayer funds to the agency once these issues are cleaned up.
“We see the demand for more and more money, but we have got to have some accountability. We have got to have more transparency and we have got to have better outcomes,” Halbrook said.