In a busy legislative week in the State Capitol, lawmakers rushed to move the remainder of their legislation as the scheduled session adjournment date nears. The legislature is set to conclude its business by the end of the month. Both chambers of the General Assembly cancelled scheduled session for this weekend and will return to Springfield late afternoon on Monday, May 28th. While there has been positive news surrounding the development of a budget, the General Assembly will only have four session days to complete its business and pass a budget plan and appropriations before the end of May.
This week, the Alliance and its partners in the Evidence-Based Funding reforms testified before the House Elementary and Secondary Appropriation Committee. Alliance executives were also joined by local superintendents to testify about what improvements to education they can make with greater support from the State of Illinois. The minimum needed to fund the evidence based funding model for Fiscal Year 2019 is $400 million with $350 million going to the funding model and $50 for a property tax rebate system that is part of the negotiated law. During the hearing, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) also testified to the need for an additional $7 billion to bring all Illinois school districts to adequacy.
With the clock ticking persistently towards the end of session on May 31st, a number of bills were approved by the General Assembly to be sent on to the Governor for his approval.
Two significant bills containing potential new mandates for local schools were approved this week. SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora), strongly opposed by the Alliance, would establish a 150 minute per week standard for Physical Education. After decades of inflexibility regarding P.E. instruction, late last year SB 1947 was enacted to allow school districts to offer P.E. three days per week. Without even a full year of implementation, lawmakers are attempting to roll back this provision and move to a set minutes per week standard - a standard not required for any other mandated course.
SB 2428 (Stadelman, D-Rockford)
would allow students, regardless of ability to pay, to accumulate a minimum school lunch debt of $500 dollars. Once the $500 dollar threshold has been passed, schools would have to go through a state reimbursement and withholding process to attempt to recoup the money owed.
While both of these bills passed, they were approved with slim majorities. The Alliance will be requesting the Governor to veto both bills.
Vision 20-20 Initiatives on the Move
An initiative of the Alliance and its Vision 20-20 partners will be sent to the Governor for his signature. HB 4284 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) requires at least three members of the ISBE to be from the educator community, defined as a teacher, principal, superintendent or school business
Another Vision 20-20 component is being addressed in legislation that the Alliance has been involved in with a number of other education advocacy groups. Finding a solution to the teacher shortage has been a long-running discussion this spring. This week, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill that addresses the issue leaving just one more vote on the Senate floor to send the bill to the Governor.
HB 5627 (Bennett, R-Pontiac)
- For a two-year period, allow a retired teacher to teach in a school district for up to 120 days (currently 100 days)
- Allow for the establishment of a short-term substitute teaching license for applicants who hold an associate's degree or have completed at least 60 hours of credit from a regionally accredited institution of higher education
- Allow school boards, in collaboration with the teachers' union, to jointly develop a short-term substitute teacher training program that provides individuals with short-term substitute teaching license information on curriculum, classroom management techniques, school safety, and district building operations
- Allow for licensure reciprocity for individuals holding a comparable and valid educator license or certificate from another state
Mandatory Teacher Salary Increase
As has been the subject highlighted in many Alliance Legislative Reports and Calls to Action, bills have been moving through the legislature that would statutorily increase teacher salaries to a minimum of $40,000 per year. This burdensome, unfunded mandate would usurp a school district's local authority and the collective bargaining system. The overwhelming response to legislators by school board members and administrators in opposition to the bills seemed to have stalled the measures - at least temporarily.
HB 5175 (Hoffman, D-Belleville)
originally increased the statutory minimum teacher salary from $10,000 to $40,000 and was approved by the House. But a Senate amendment this week deleted all of the provisions regarding teacher salary and added language regarding Charter School applications and appeals. The bill now repeals the authority of the Charter School Commission to act on appeals to overturn a local school board's decision regarding Charter Schools. Now, initial decisions of a local school board are subject to judicial review under the Administrative Review Act.
The companion bill,
SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill)
, passed the Senate earlier this spring but is still being held in the House Rules Committee.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK
The following bills were approved by both chambers and will be sent to the Governor for further consideration:
HB 4226 (Kifowit, D-Aurora)
requires schools to disseminate a brochure to any family whose child may have sustained
HB 4657 (Manley, D-Joliet)
creates the Emotional Intelligence and Social Emotional Learning Task Force to develop curriculum and assessment guidelines and best practices in these areas for K-12 schools. The IASB and the IPA each have a seat on the Task Force.
HB 4658 (Manley)
rovides that, at least once every two years, a school board shall require in-service training of licensed school personnel and administrators who work with children in kindergarten through grade 12 to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior in youth.
HB 4742 (Ford, D-Chicago)
provides that, by January 1, 2019, the ISBE shall implement a program and adopt rules to allow school districts to supplement their substitute teacher recruitment for elementary and secondary schools with the use of recruiting firms.
HB 4743 (Ford)
disallows any employer from discriminating between employees by paying wages to an African-American employee at a rate less than another employee who is not African-American for the same or substantially similar work on a job that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility.
HB 4822 (Halbrook, R-Shelbyville)
allows a unit of local government to establish a process to allow people to select electronic notifications through an electronic notification delivery system for governmental mailings that are being sent by United States mail.
HB 5137 (Martwick, D-Chicago)
requires the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) to offer an optional defined contribution retirement plan for members to join.
HB 5148 (Kifowit)
requires that course material and instruction in sex education shall include emphasis on what constitutes sexual consent, harassment and assault in the workplace and on a college campus.
HB 5195 (Greenwood, D-E. St. Louis)
allows school boards to provide free transportation for any pupil residing within 1 1/2 miles from the school attended where conditions are such that walking, either to or from the school to which a pupil is assigned for attendance or to or from a pick-up point or bus stop, constitutes a serious hazard to the safety of the pupil due to a course or pattern of criminal activity.
HB 5481 (Guzzardi, D-Chicago)
requires school districts to report certain K-12 information about actively employed teachers, pupil-teacher ratios, class instructors and class sections to ISBE.
HB 5750 (Phelps Finnie, D-Harrisburg)
appropriates $16 million for school district broadband expansion for school districts that have been approved for broadband expansion under the federal Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries.
HB 5771 (Chapa LaVia)
facilitating the work of the Balanced Accountability Model, establishes a definition of chronic absenteeism and requires state funded early childhood programs to collect and review the data and determine needed resources to engage chronically absent students and their families.
HB 5795 (Chapa LaVia)
establishes a definition for truant students as a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance who is absent without valid cause for more than 1% but less than 5% of the past 180 days.
SB 544 (Mulroe, D-Chicago)
provides that in Cook County, school districts shall not be required to pay circuit court clerk fees until 30 days after an itemized bill is provided by the clerk.
SB 2345 (Lightford, D-Westchester)
requires ISBE to provide information for the school report card as to whether or not a school has participated in the Illinois Youth Survey.
SB 2527 (Weaver, R-Peoria)
provides that a school board shall not adopt a policy limiting the number of dual credit courses a student may enroll in or the number of academic credits a student may receive from dual credit courses.
SB 2541 (Lightford)
requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to develop rules and appropriate revisions to the Child Health Examination form to address School Code requirements regarding social and emotional screening of students.
SB 2654 (Hunter, D-Chicago)
requires school boards to include information about influenza and influenza vaccinations when they provide information on school health issues to the parents or guardians.
SB 2658 (Schimpf, R-Murphysboro)
provides that a Professional Educator License with Stipulations with a provisional educator endorsement obtained by a service member or a spouse of a service member is valid until June 30 immediately following three (rather than two) years of the license being issued.
SB 2693 (Weaver)
provides that a college or university may not require a teacher applicant to complete the test of basic skills prior to the semester before student teaching or starting the final semester of an internship.
SB 2866 (Holmes) requires DPH to provide all students entering sixth grade and their parents with written information about the availability of an HPV vaccine.
SB 2889 (Rose, R-Champaign)
provides that epinephrine may also be administered with a pre-filled syringe.
SB 2900 (Righter, R-Mattoon) provides that if a school board fills a vacancy due to a lack of candidates for election in a congressional township in the most recent election, then the school board shall submit a question to the voters at the next election as to whether they approve at-large election of that board position instead of mandatory board representation by a specific area.
SB 2925 (Lightford) codifies the role of school resource officers (SRO) in schools, establishes a training process for SRO's, and requires any law enforcement agency providing SROs to schools must certify they have been trained beginning January 2021.
SB 2951 (Bush, D-Grayslake)
requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) to develop a Medicaid pilot program under which a qualifying adolescent or young adult may receive community-based mental health treatment. The program should allow for collaboration with schools and requires providers of the program to track rates of high school engagement and graduation for service recipients.
SB 3015 (Koehler, D-Peoria) changes the definition of "asthma medication" to mean quick-relief asthma medication that is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of respiratory distress. The bill also allows districts to maintain a supply of undesignated asthma medicine.
The following bills were amended and will be sent back to the house of origin for concurrence in amendments:
HB 1595 (Stuart, D-Collinsville)
requires employers to provide reasonable paid break time for nursing mothers to express milk.
HB 4237 (Carroll, D-Buffalo Grove)
establishes the Illinois Excellence Fund in the State treasury to accept contribution funds for exclusively public educational purposes including, early childhood, elementary and secondary, higher education, adult education and teachers' employment benefits. It allows for a credit against an individual's income tax.
HB 4242 (McSweeney, R-Cary)
requires schools to report certain information regarding employee and contractor severance agreements on the school website and to local news media no more than 72 hours from approval of an agreement when an employee or contractor has been found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual discrimination. The Senate amendment was a non-substantive technical change.
HB 4340 (Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake)
requires school administrators to post notice of the human trafficking hotline in the administrative office or another location in view of school employees.
HB 4768 (Wheeler)
adds comprehensive language changes to what must be included in the newly elected school board members' oath of office.
HB 4799 (Harper, D-Chicago)
requires schools maintaining grades K-8 to adopt a policy to make available education regarding the effective methods for the prevention and avoidance of traffic injuries related to walking and bicycling.
HB 5770 (Conroy, D-Villa Park)
requires schools to notify student and families that a student may be eligible to receive mental health services from the school district under a federal Section 504 plan.
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.
SB 2905 (McGuire, D-Crest Hill)
provides that any graduate from a recognized high school or student otherwise qualified to attend a public community college and residing outside a community college district may attend any recognized public community college in Illinois at the tuition rate of a student residing in the district.
SB 2941 (McGuire)
provides that a school district may participate in the ISBE competency-based, high school graduation requirements pilot program for some or all of its schools.
SB 3046 (Manar) allows TRS (and other systems) annuitants to opt out of TRIP and provides timelines for doing so.