One person paying attention to what the governor does with the still-unsigned budget is Chris Koch, the state superintendent of education.
“We fared better than a lot of agencies; education at least did see a slight increase,” says Koch. “Of course, we didn’t get our wish list, and, of course, the foundation level wasn’t met, and, of course, we have a lot of struggles here in again facing a year of proration,” the practice of providing only a proportion of the recommended per-pupil level of spending.
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Koch says as a California judge has struck down that state’s teacher tenure system, Illinois used its Senate Bill 7 of a few years ago to smooth out similar problems. So how can Illinois discourage complacency among veteran teachers? “We do that in part by recognizing exemplary teachers; the majority of our teachers are that,” says Koch. “We have checks and balances in the system … to make sure that folks for whom this is not their calling can find a way out of it.”