May 5, 2017

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Serious discussions on a State budget and school funding
formula changes were prevalent this week in the Capitol - some in public and some in private. With the Senate in session, most of the activity was in that chamber. The House of Representatives was not in session this week.
Leadership and budget negotiators were reportedly meeting privately this week to try to find some agreement on a statewide budget. Budget cuts and new revenues must be agreed upon. But these talks were among members of the Senate so, at some point, the Governor and the Speaker of the House will weigh in. The issues of pension reform and property tax freezes are likely to re-emerge before any final agreement is reached.
The Senate Education Committee met Thursday night to discuss possible changes to the school funding formula. No votes were taken, but the panel discussed SB 1 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill), SB 1124 (Barickman, R-Bloomington), and SB 1125 (Barickman). SB 1, originally part of the "grand bargain" budget bill package, contains changes designed to direct more State school funding to those districts in most need and is rooted in the concept of evidence-based funding model (EBM) supported by Vision 20/20. The sponsor has offered an amendment that would decouple the bill from the budget package so it can be approved on its own merits and not be tied to the other bills in the proposed compromise.
SB 1124 is also based on the evidence-based model. SB 1 and SB 1124 are not identical bills, and both differ in some respects to the original EBM legislation. They both assign tiers of funding determined by how close school districts are to their adequacy targets, but they differ in how they calculate and implement poverty concentrations. How Chicago Public Schools are treated by the formulas will continue to be a sticking point in the push for a new school funding formula.
SB 1125 contains an attempt to provide relief to school districts for unfunded and underfunded mandates, including drivers' education, physical education, and third party contracting. Though there are concerns about the drafting of the provisions by the Alliance, the concept of mandate relief is important in these discussions.
Among those who offered testimony before the committee were a number of school superintendents, the heads of several education reform groups, and the directors of several education advocacy organizations - including Dr. Michael Jacoby of Illinois ASBO.
The clock is ticking on reaching agreement on a budget or funding reform measure as the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn at the end of the month. And as one committee witness noted last night, if there is no agreement on a balanced budget with new revenues, the school aid distribution method will not really matter.
The following bills were approved by the Senate and will be sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration:
SB 446 (Lightford, D-Westchester) creates a program for dropouts that would give double the Foundation Level of support for each dropout that has been reenrolled. New programs would be required utilizing the additional funding and requires that new programs have a minimum of 50 reenrolled high school dropouts.
SB 447 (Cunningham, D-Chicago) for Chicago schools, provides that a maximum of 80 students may be enrolled in the agricultural science school' modified curriculum for diverse learners (special education cluster program).
SB 473 (Munoz, D-Chicago), as amended, for Cook County only, increases thesenior citizens homestead exemption from $5,000 to $8,000; increases the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze income qualification from $55,000 to $65,000 for all counties, and provides a guaranteed amount for seniors in Cook County of the amount of the calculated exemption freeze or $2,000 whichever is greater; and, for Cook County, increases the General Homestead Exemption from $6,000 to $10,000.
SB 747 (Barickman) requires that fingerprinting equipment and software meet specifications required by the Department of State Police.
SB 771 (Martinez, D-Chicago), as amended, changes qualifications for speech-language or audiology licensure. Out of US trained applicants must meet certain requirements. Temporary licenses will be issued for 18 months (instead of 12) and only allows 1x renewal and allows speech-language pathologists and audiologists to perform basic health screenings.
SB 822 (Harris, N., D-Harvey), as amended, provides that the Secretary of State shall immediately revoke the license, permit, or driving privileges of any driver who is involved in an accident that results in death to another and the violation is a proximate cause of the death, while overtaking or passing of a school bus.
SB 1072 (McConchie, R-Lake Zurich), where local governments have provided property tax abatements, requires that the property tax bill include itemization of the total dollar amount that would have been due based on taxes extended if local government abatements had not been granted and the dollar amount of any reduction allocable to the abatements.
SB 1122 (McConnaughay, R-West Dundee), as amended, prohibits student booking stations from being established or maintained on the grounds of any school.
SB 1223 (Lightford) as amended, requires each school district to have a policy that allows for accelerated placement including reporting of certain data to the ISBE. The required policy must include process for informing families, a process that allows for multiple referrers, a prescripted assessment process, a reasonable evaluation timeline, placement decision-making that involves multiple persons, a written plan for parents, an appeals process for decisions and other directives.
SB 1289 (McConchie) creates a uniform statement of economic interest form that must be completed by all who are required to file. Changes required disclosures that must be made. Authorizes the Secretary of State to institute an electronic statement of economic interest filing system and repeals the provision calling for filing with the county clerk.
SB 1290 (Rezin, R-Peru) extends the bond debt limit for Waltham Community Consolidated School District.
SB 1428 (Rezin), beginning January 1, 2018, requires the community college board to establish alternative methods of credentialing for issuance of high school equivalency certification, based on high school credit, post-secondary credit, foreign diplomas, and completion of a competency-based program.
SB 1483 (Althoff, R-McHenry) provides that a parent's or student's request to inspect and copy records under the Act must be granted no later than 5 business days (rather than 15 school days).
SB 1486 (Weaver, R-Peoria) makes various changes to clean up and modernize school code.
SB 1692 (Raoul, D-Chicago) as amended, expands who can be on the concussion oversight team and evaluate a student who has been removed from practice or competition. Adds, physical therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, physician assistants and other non-licensed healthcare professionals to the list of persons required to take concussion-related continuing education course.
SB 1796 (Hastings, D-Frankfort) creates the Students Online Personal Protection Act. Contains various provisions to safe guard student data.
SB 1856 (Bivins, R-Dixon), regarding the prevailing wage, allows public bodies to satisfy the notice requirement by posting on its website the hyperlink to the DOL website, but maintains the mailing requirement.
The following bills were approved by a Senate committee and were sent to the Senate chamber floor for further consideration:
SB 1073 (Connelly, R-Naperville), as amended, allows a property tax valuation exemption for improvements that are designed to provide living quarters for a person with a disability or special needs.
SB 1719 (Biss, D-Skokie) as amended, provides that a privilege tax of 20% of fees earned from the investment strategy of the investment manager (not the investment itself) be imposed on partnerships and S corporations providing investment management services.
SB 2032 (Oberweis, R-North Aurora) provides that a school district or a unit of local government may publish any notice, agenda, or other information or material required to be published by law on its website. Also, provides that before January 1, 2021, a school district or a unit of local government that publishes any notice, agenda, or other information or material on its website shall also post a notice in a newspaper or newspapers providing the website address where the full notice, agenda, or other information or material may be found.
HB 106 (Batnick, R- Plainfield) provides that the holder of a master's degree in public administration who completes an additional six semester hours of internship in school business management from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and passes applicable State tests is eligible for a chief school business official endorsement.
HB 213 (Ford, D-Chicago) as amended, provides that any moneys transferred from the State Lottery Fund to the Common School Fund shall be supplemental to any other money due to be transferred.
HB 370 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) requires schools to post the telephone number for the DCFS child abuse hotline and 911. 
HB 425 (Welch, D-Westchester) makes changes to the salary structure of Regional Superintendents of Schools and their assistants, especially in regard to the Educational Service Centers in Cook County.
HB 465 (Stewart, R-Freeport) extends the TIF for the Village of Pearl City to 35 years.
HB 655 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) requires ISBE to use e-mail delivery of lapse of an educator's license but no sooner than 6 months prior to the license lapsing.
HB 760 (Lang, D-Chicago) allows the East Prairie School District 73 to exceed its debt limit with voter approval and requires any school district seeking legislative approval to exceed debt limit to hold a public hearing with proper notification, and hold a referendum for voter approval of the additional debt.
HB 1772 (Parkhurst, R-Kankakee) requires that fingerprinting equipment and software meet specifications required by the Department of State Police.
HB 2426 (Currie, D-Chicago) requires that 25% of the overall Early Childhood Education Block Grant be allocated to programs for children 0-3 years of age.
HB 2442 (Bennett, R-Pontiac) requires student assessments for application or admissions to colleges administered by ISBE to be given on a school day during regular attendance hours.
HB 2470 (Walsh, D-Elwood) allows applicants for a CTE endorsement to count coursework from a technical institution and allows a test of work proficiency to satisfy endorsement application.
HB 2585 (DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights) provides that if notice is required to be published in a newspaper that is published in a particular unit of local government or school district, and there is no newspaper published in that unit of local government or school district, then the notice may be published in a secular newspaper having general circulation within the unit of local government or school district.
HB 2618 (Gabel, D-Evanston), for parties who agree not to use mediation during a challenge in a special education hearing process, gives the parent 10 days after a party declines to use mediation to file a request for a due process hearing to allow the student to remain in their current placement.
HB 2663 (Stratton, D-Chicago) prohibits early childhood programs receiving ISBE grants to expel children.
HB 2813 (Hammond, R-Macomb) clarifies that property taxation of wooded acreage as unimproved real property is defined as "woodlands" by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management.
HB 2966 (Andrade, D-Chicago), under  the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), changes references to "salary" to "reported earnings" regarding additional contributions from the local government and makes the change retroactive to January 1, 2012.
HB 3012 (Mayfield) allows Waukegan CUSD 60 to make a one-time transfer of funds from its bond fund to the Operations and Maintenance Fund with proper resolution following a public hearing.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 2:30 p.m., Room 212 State Capitol
HB 826 (Lilly, D-Chicago) codifies in statute licensure requirements for school social workers and prohibits school social workers from providing services outside their employment to any student in the district. It makes a recommendation for a student to social worker ratio of 250 to 1.
HB 1254 (Costello, D-Red Bud), beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, allows utilization, up to 2 days per year of the school district's facilities by local or county authorities for the purpose of holding a memorial or funeral services in remembrance of a community member.
HB 2369 (Harper, D-Chicago) requires public schools to provide reasonable accommodations to a lactating pupil to express breast milk.
HB 2378 (Drury, D-Highwood) removes language requiring a student's transcript to show the scores attained by the student on a state assessment that includes a college and career ready determination.
HB 2527 (Sosnowski, R-Rockford) authorizes eligible applicants to design a high school diploma program for adult learners.
HB 2612 (Pritchard, R-Hinkley) provides greater flexibility and efficiency in the detachment and dissolution of school districts, including creation of a local hearing panel and a process for petitioning for boundary changes.
HB 2794 (Ford) requires school districts to inform all 11th and 12th grade students of dual enrollment and dual credit opportunities at public community colleges for qualified students.
HB 2993 (Slaughter, D-Chicago) allows schools to serve produce grown by students in school or community gardens if the produce meets the Department of Public Health (DPH) requirements.
HB 3059 (Pritchard) requires school district report cards to include average daily attendance by grade level.
HB 3215 (Wallace, D-Rockford), opposed by the Alliance, requires schools to provide feminine hygiene products to students at no cost. It is estimated that this effort would cost $13.5 million statewide.
HB 3507 (Greenwood, D-E. St. Louis) allows a student to be granted up to 5 days of excused absence if his/her parent is active duty military and has been called to duty for, on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment.
HB 3601 (Greenwood) East St. Louis School District 189 is encouraged to allow 11 & 12th grade students to take classes at Southwestern Illinois College for dual credit at no cost to the student.
HB 3869 (Wallace) requires in-service training for school personnel on cultural competency including understanding and reducing implicit racial bias.
SB 650 (Connelly) provides that certain notices concerning requests for mandate waivers may be made electronically.
HJR 11 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) encourages school districts to consider the benefits of the attendance awareness campaign "Every Student Counts, Every Day Matters" urged by the Illinois Attendance Commission.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 2:30 p.m., Room 400, State Capitol
HB 3684 (Burke, K. D-Oak Lawn) changes the certification requirements for food handling certified food service sanitation managers and food service sanitation manager instructors beginning January 1, 2018.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 3:45 p.m., Room 409 State Capitol
HB 3394 (Walsh) allows DCFS to recommend removal of a school employee that is subject of an investigation, pending the outcome, but allows all employment decisions to be the sole responsibility of the school district or employer. It prohibits DCFS from requiring a district to remove the employee or limit their duties pending the outcome of an investigation.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 3:45 p.m., Room 212 State Capitol
HB 2740 (Welch), beginning January 1, 2018, requires the community college board to establish alternative methods of credentialing for issuance of high school equivalency certification, based on high school credit, post-secondary credit, foreign diplomats, and completion of a competency-based program.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 9:00 a.m., Room 115 State Capitol
SB 863 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield), a Vision 20/20 initiative, that provides that for ISBE appointments made after the effective date, three of the members of the State Board must represent the educator community.
HR 89 (Flowers, D-Chicago) urges Chicago to begin repurposing the closed public schools within its system to new-purpose facilities.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 9:00 a.m., Room C-1 Stratton Office Building
SB 189 (Bennett, D-Champaign) provides that prosecution for sexual assault or abuse is perpetrated on a child under 18 years may be commenced at any time regardless of whether corroborating physical evidence is available or been reported under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 9:00 a.m., Room 409, State Capitol
HB 547 (Zalewski, D-Riverside) provides that prosecution for sexual assault or abuse is perpetrated on a child under 18 years may be commenced at any time regardless of whether corroborating physical evidence is available or been reported under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.
HB 619 (Walsh) exempts from Freedom of Information Act inspection and copying, records requested by a person incarcerated that would result in the risk of harm to any person and records containing personal information pertaining to the incarcerated person's victim or victim's family including contact information such as their school address.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 11:00 a.m., Room 212 State Capitol
HB 2462 (Moeller, D-Elgin) prohibits employers from screening job applicants based on wage and salary history and prohibits an employer from seeking the salary and benefits of a job applicant from any current or former employer.
SB 1721 (Biss) entitles employees up to 12 weeks of family leave within any 24-month period for the purpose child birth, adoption or serious health condition of a family member.
Wednesday, May 10, 2:30 p.m., Room 400, State Capitol
HB 350 (McSweeney, R-Cary) provides that for members of a pension system who are convicted of a felony related to their service results in forfeiture of benefit for their surviving spouse. These changes shall not impair any contract or vested right acquired by a survivor before the effective date of this Act.
HB 3070 (Martwick, D-Chicago), under IMRF, requires participants to notify and provide payment for purchase of certain types of service credit prior to termination of employment.
SB 1310 (Haine, D-Alton), under IMRF, allows Tier 2 employees who become an employee after 57 years may make an irrevocable election to terminate their participation in the fund and will receive a refund of their employee contributions plus interest. Election not to participate must be made prior to any employee and employer contributions being made.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 2:30 p.m., Room 409 State Capitol
HB 3744 (Conyears-Ervin, D-Chicago) provides that for any construction project under the State procurement code must have at least 10% of the man-hours performing construction services be by individuals residing in areas of poverty.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 4:00 p.m., Room 400 State Capitol
HB 2721 (Conroy, D-Villa Park) requires school district policies to provide coverage for treatment of pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiactric syndrome including intravenous immunoglobulin therapy.
Thursday, May 11, 2017, 9:00 a.m., Room 118 State Capitol
SB 872 (Rezin) provides that the homestead exemption for veterans with disabilities shall be prorated if the property is first used as a qualified residence by a veteran with a disability after January 1 of a taxable year. 
SB 1385 (Weaver) provides that abatement for urban decay properties applies to newly remodeled as well as newly constructed dwellings.
SB 1437 (Murphy, D-Elk Grove Village) for the disabled veterans homestead exemption, allows veterans with disabilities to not have to reapply annually when the Department of Veterans' Affairs verifies that they are permanently and totally disabled.
HR 139 (Ives, R-Wheaton)  creates the Fair and Equitable Assessment of Property Task Force.
Thursday, May 11, 2017, 10:00 a.m., Room 122B State Capitol
HR 27 (McSweeney) states opposition to shifting pension costs of teachers from the State to local school districts.
HR 38 (Skillicorn, R-Crystal Lake) recognizes that the normal cost of pensions for State educators is the responsibility of the State and should not use the current budget crisis as a reason to shift the financial responsibility to local taxpayers.

This legislative report was written and edited by the lobbyists of the Illinois Association of School Boards to provide information to the members of the organizations that comprise the Statewide School Management Alliance.