February 9, 2018

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Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver his annual Budget Address Wednesday  before a joint session of the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives. In the State of the State Address two weeks ago, the Governor outlined broad proposals with few details. Usually, these initiatives are fleshed out in the Budget Address. Rauner has pledged to present a balanced budget to the legislature, while at the same time vowing to roll back the increase in income tax rates that took effect this year.
Most expect to hear similar themes from the Governor's past legislative agendas and campaign platforms. These may include proposals for a freeze on property tax extensions, business law reforms, and pension reform. Generally, pension reform proposals have included incentives for active members of the State's various pension systems to opt out of the pension system and shifting the pension liability in the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) from the State and to local school districts. There has also been chatter about a possible "capital bill" to fund public works and infrastructure needs across the State, including school buildings.
An issue that has been talked about for the last couple of years by school principals, superintendents, board members, and regional superintendents, has been getting new attention in the Capitol. The shortage of regular classroom teachers and substitute teachers is now the focus of all four legislative caucuses, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS), the Illinois Council of Professors of Education Administration (ICPEA), and others.
A House education committee has convened a subcommittee devoted to the issue and will be holding informational hearings in the coming weeks. This week, two bills were discussed in the subcommittee, though no votes were taken. HB 4167 (Parkhurst, R-Kankakee) allows a student who is enrolled in an educator preparation program at a regionally accredited institution of higher education and has earned at least 90 credit hours at that institution to apply for a Substitute Teaching License. HB 4280 (Pritchard, R-Sycamore) requires the ISBE to establish and maintain the Growing Future Educators Program to t rain high school graduates who at one time have been identified as English learners and who are enrolled in an approved educator preparation program, among other qualifications, to become secondary language educators .
The Alliance has been working closely on the teacher shortage issue with guidance from the Illinois Vision 20-20 platform. Vision 20-20 teacher shortage legislation has been part of the Alliance legislative agenda for the past few years.

The IARSS recently conducted a survey and reported that over ninety percent of school districts say they have either a serious or minor problem with finding substitute teachers. Every part of the State indicated that there is also a shortage of classroom teachers available for new teaching openings in districts. In the survey, superintendents stated that bilingual teachers, Spanish teachers, special education teachers, nurses, and school psychologists were the most difficult positions to fill.
The entire survey results can be found here.
As was mentioned in Alliance Legislative Report (100-52) , the ISBE says it needs another technical change to be made in legislation before final calculations can be made for the distribution of funds through the new evidence-based funding formula for schools. April is still the targeted timeline for vouchering and distributing Tier Funding. According to the latest Weekly Message from State Superintendent Tony Smith, the ISBE is gathering final enrollment data verification from school districts. Superintendents likely have already received information from Dr. Smith about the timelines for submitting the information necessary. Here is the entire Weekly Message .
Though no bill number is yet available regarding the funding formula fix, it is the understanding of the Alliance that language is currently being drafted.

SB 650 (Connelly, R-Naperville) provides that certain notices concerning requests for mandate waivers may be made electronically. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB 4235 (Pritchard) provides that a waiver or modification of a mandate may not be requested from the section in the School Code governing tuition for non-resident pupils unless the area surrounding the school district requesting the waiver qualifies as a designated teacher shortage area. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education: Licensing, Administration and Oversight Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.
Tuesday, February 13, 1:30 p.m., Room 212, State Capitol
SB 2468 (Koehler, D-Peoria) provides that if a child's individualized education program (IEP) team determines that the child does not require assistive technology services or devices, the team shall include a statement in the child's program that informs the child's parent or guardian of the decision and the basis for the decision.
SB 2527 (Weaver, R-Peoria) prohibits a school board from limiting the number of dual credit courses a student may enroll in or the number of credits a student may receive from dual credit courses. 
HB 1252 (Lilly, D-Chicago) would require a semester of instruction on civics in junior high.
Tuesday, February 13, 3:15 p.m., Room 409, State Capitol
SB 2516 (Morrison, D-Deerfield) requires an employer, or the employer's representative, to inform an employee of available mandated reporter training prior to the employee signing a statement that the employee has knowledge and understanding of certain reporting requirements under the Act. 
Tuesday, February 13, 4:00 p.m., Room 122B, State Capitol
HB 2617(Gabel, D-Evanston) requires employee insurance policies to provide coverage for medically necessary expenses for standard fertility preservation services.
HB 4340 (Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake) adds public elementary and secondary schools to the list of entities required to post a Human Trafficking Resource Center notice. 
Wednesday, February 14, 8:30 a.m., Room D-1, Stratton Building
HB 4208 (Welch, D-Westchester) makes changes to school discipline improvement plan requirements and establishes the Safe Schools and Healthy Learning Environments Program. 

HB 4209 (Welch) requires that every school board establish a kindergarten program with full-day attendance. 

HB 4291 (Welch)  requires students to successfully complete one semester of computer science as a prerequisite to receiving a high school diploma.

HB 4292 (Welch)  requires school boards to enroll its elementary schools in the Scripps National Spelling Bee program and implement an annual district-wide spelling bee competition for students in the 7th grade.

HB 4308 (Reick, R-Woodstock) requires that if a teacher is removed or dismissed as a result of a decision of a school board to decrease the number of teachers employed by the school board, a decision of a school board to discontinue some particular type of teaching service, or a reduction in the number of programs or positions in a special education joint agreement, then written notice must be mailed and given to the teacher no more than 10 business days following the passage of a State budget that includes school funding.

House REVENUE & FINANCE Committee
Wednesday, February 14, 8:30 a.m., Room 118, State Capitol
HB 4304 (Reick) provides an income tax credit for taxpayers 65 years or older who have an income less than $50,000 for property taxes even if the property tax exceeds the taxpayer's
income tax liability.
April 18 is the scheduled date for a school safety conference set in Mount Prospect. This no cost all-day event is designed for school administrators, transportation directors, board members, police and fire departments, and emergency managers to hear from experts in the field of safety such as the Illinois State Police, the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Illinois School Resource Officers Association. Also on the program are representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, and presenters from school safety design experts, Columbine High School, Social Media Data experts regarding school safety, and School Resource Officer experts.
The event will be held from 7:30 - 4:00 at the Bristol Palace, 828 E. Rand Road, in Mount Prospect. More information can be found here .

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.