ALLIANCE-BACKED FUNDING REFORM PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE
House Bill 2808 (Davis, D-Hazel Crest) was approved nearly unanimously by the House Appropriations: Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on Thursday. HB 2808 has 27 different factors that establish a funding formula that is based on evidence, data, and best educational practices.
The evidence-based model was discussed prominently in the governor’s Illinois School Funding Reform Commission and provisions were included in the panel’s final report as it embraced setting a unique funding adequacy target for each school district. Also, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) included a modified evidence-based model in his amendment to SB 1 on school funding reform. The amendment was assigned to the Senate Education Committee but it was not considered this week.
Future discussions, and perhaps some scrutiny, are likely awaiting these funding bills. Last month, the House Democrat Caucus sent a letter to the chairman of the governor’s funding commission, Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis, stating, “Commission members did not explicitly endorse the Evidence-Based Model or these 27 elements. At this time, there remains a lack of general understanding regarding the elements and how removing, adding, or changing elements would impact school districts.” The letter was signed by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, and Representatives Will Davis, Rita Mayfield, and Emily McAsey.
The Alliance remains committed to working with the legislature on future discussions and negotiations regarding this important funding proposal and for the passage of an improved school funding formula for the state. For more on these bills and all Vision 20/20 initiatives please visit the Vision 20/20 website.
ACTION: Contact your legislator today to support HB 2808
STUDENT ARREST LEGISLATION
Senate Bill 704 prohibits student arrests for offenses that occur during school hours on school grounds, in school vehicles, or at school sanctioned events or activities, with four exceptions. We feel that this bill creates a double-standard for criminal behavior and violates the rights of crime victims. More information about SB 704 can be found here and addressed in a recent IPA Talk video.
ACTION: Contact your Senator today to vote no on SB 704
BILLS, BILLS, AND MORE BILLS
The House's deadline for bills to move on from committee was last Friday. Several bills advanced in both the House and the Senate in the last few weeks and a latest update can be found here.
Bills of interest include:
- HB 332 (Drury), opposed by the Alliance, makes changes regarding student data privacy laws. The bill failed to receive the requisite number of votes in the House Judicial-Civil Committee and was held there.
- HB 443 (Ives), opposed by the Alliance, creates the Illinois School Choice Program allowing any state-recognized, non-public school to receive a voucher for students wishing to enroll. The bill failed to receive the requisite number of votes and is held in committee.
Bills that were approved by a committee and sent to the floor for further consideration (see more here):
- HB 244 (Flowers), opposed by the Alliance, provides that the increased penalties for possession of cannabis on school property do not apply to students.
- HB 768 (Welch) removes provisions allowing the State Charter School Commission to reverse a school board's decision to deny, revoke, or not renew a charter.
- HB 1252 (Lilly) requires a unit of instruction on civics in grades 6-8 in all public schools.
- HB 2545 (Davidsmeyer), as amended, requires school personnel who work with students in grades 5-12 (previously 7-12) to be trained annually to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior.
- HB 2949 (Conyears-Ervin), as amended, requires school districts to provide recess in grades K-5. Specifically, it requires a 20-minute "active break" for these students. The Alliance opposed the bill.
- HB 3792 (Lilly), opposed by the Alliance, requires schools to provide 6th graders instruction regarding work ethics including reliability, professionalism, and respect for authority.