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District receives a ‘commendable’ report card

Illinois Report Card results show Tonica at 78 percent of the financial capacity needed to meet expectations

Charles Schneider
Principal-superintendent, Tonica Grade School
Charles Schneider Principal-superintendent, Tonica Grade School

TONICA — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has recently released the 2018 Illinois Report Card (IRC) results for Tonica Grade School (TGS).

TGS earned a summaritive designation of “Commendable” from the ISBE. Commendable schools have no underperforming student groups, a graduation rate higher than 67 percent, and performance that isn’t in the top 10 percent.

“Tonica’s summaritive designation of ‘Commendable’ is something we can all be proud about. What’s unique under the new IRC format is the use of several measurements in addition to the state assessments. This designation of ‘Commendable’ means TGS has no under-performing student sub-groups,” TGS Superintendent Charles Schneider said.

Financially, Tonica Grade was deemed a Tier 2 school with 78 percent of the minimum financial capacity needed to provide a high-quality education. The state’s new evidence-based funding formula enacted last year changed how school districts receive the bulk of their state funding.

Sixty-seven percent of the district’s $2.2 million funding is locally sourced, 27.3 percent comes from the state, and 5.7 percent is federal. These percentages are fairly close to the statewide averages, but local responsibility has been increasing steadily over the past several years.

Each district is placed in a “tier” that indicates access to additional funding apart from the basic minimum state allocation. This amount guarantees no districts lose funding under the new formula. Tier 1 and Tier 2 districts receive 99 percent of additional funds appropriated for this purpose from the state. This new formula provided Tonica with additional support to literacy and math programs.

TGS students and academics

Academically, 35 percent of TGS students met or exceeded the standards for English Language Arts during the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) testing, which is lower than the state average of 37 percent. This is an improvement from Tonica Grade’s 25 percent in 2016.

In addition, 29 percent of TGS students met or exceeded PARCC standards for mathematics. The statewide average was 32 percent. This is an increase from 2016 when the TGS results were 25 percent.

Moving on, 26.1 percent of TGS eighth-graders passed Algebra I compared to the state average of 30.6 percent. In 2017, 40 percent of TGS eighth-graders had passed Algebra I.

The average class size at TGS is 18 students, a decrease from 2014’s average of 24 students. Statewide, the current average is 20.

TGS students receive physical education five days a week compared to the state average of three days a week.

The data shows the school has an enrollment of 168, 36.3 percent of which are in families receiving public aid, living in substitute care, or eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches. This is an eight percent increase from 2014. Statewide, the 2017 average is 49 percent, a three percent decrease from 2014.

Sixteen percent of TGS students have individualized education programs, a four percent increase from 2014.

TGS educators and administration

TGS has 15 full-time educators, and 61.5 percent of them have bachelor’s degrees and 38.5 percent have earned master’s degrees or higher. The average ratio of pupils to teachers in Tonica is 12:1, lower than the state’s average of 19:1.

TGS retains 70.4 percent of its educators year-to-year, which is lower than the state’s average retention of 85.2 percent. According to the ISBE, the average TGS teacher salary is roughly $38,000 a year, significantly lower than the state’s average educator salary of approximately $65,000 a year, and a difference of $27,000.

From 2017 the average statewide teacher’s salary increased by about $1,200 while the TGS average salary for teachers dropped more than $2,500. According to the IRC data, TGS teachers now, on average, make less than they did in 2009.

The report states 87.2 percent of TGS teachers had fewer than 10 absences, an increase of 17 percent from 2016’s data. The state’s current average is only 70.2 percent, a 7 percent decrease from 2016.

The report also states 100 percent of TGS educators were evaluated as excellent or proficient, an increase of 7 percent from 2017, as compared to the current statewide average of 97 percent.

The IRC data shows the average TGS administrator salary is $102,000 a year, a more than $38,000 increase from 2017. The average statewide administrator salary for 2018 is roughly $107,000.

According to the ISBE, the annual salary for administrators varies depending on the size of the district, location, years of experience, level of education, and the financial resources of the district.

For information about the Illinois Report Card results, visit

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