As the legislature worked steadily this week in the Capitol through the hundreds of superfluous bills and issues that lay before it, attention was being paid to some of the significant matters regarding public education. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate worked through the week, with both chambers returning next week to meet Monday through Friday. Next Friday, April 27, is the deadline to have substantive bills considered on the floor of their respective chambers.
An Alliance initiative addressing the problem of school districts being penalized for the under levy of property taxes under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), HB 4958 (McDermed, R-Frankfort), was discussed in a House Revenue subcommittee. Though no vote was taken, it was a step in educating legislators about the issue. Two board members from Naperville CUSD 203 testified on behalf of the Alliance.
To keep up with the latest on legislative issues, please refer to past Alliance Legislative Reports, the IPA Talk series, and IASB legislative videos.
As has been highlighted in past Alliance Legislative Reports, the matter of a statewide teacher shortage has been at the forefront of many discussions in the Capitol this spring. Though there have been meetings among all four caucuses of the legislature and several bills and amendments filed on the topic, it seems one specific bill has the most momentum at this point.
The House has adopted an amendment to HB 5627 (Bennett, R-Pontiac) that includes several provisions to address the teacher shortage. The amended bill is pending on the House floor. The bill would:
- 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
- Strive for reciprocity between Illinois teacher licensing standards and the licensing standards of other states
ACTION ALERT: Click here to contact your legislators to support HB 5627.
The Alliance has been at the forefront of school safety issues this spring in Springfield. The IASB has devoted a tab on its website to serve as a clearing house for the latest information on school safety, a Blog article on the latest best practices recommendations was posted last week, and new information on where to find specific safety training – at no cost to the school district – was posted today. Be sure to review everything regarding the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program.
In the Capitol, legislation is pending to make revisions to the law enforcement drill required in the School Safety Drill Act. SB 2350 (Morrison, D-Deerfield) states that the law enforcement drill must address an active shooter and must be done when students are present. School personnel and students would participate in the drill with law enforcement observing.
The Alliance is working closely with several organizations to codify the role of school resource officers (SRO) in schools and have been successful in removing new training mandates for school staff (SB 2925, Lightford, D-Maywood). However, HB 4208 (Welch, D-Westchester) pushes to reallocate funding from SROs and law enforcement and use it for restorative justice, counselors, and psychologists. HB 4208 is pending on the House floor; SB 2925 and SB 2350 are pending on the Senate floor.
ACTION ALERT: Click here to contact legislators to vote no on HB 4208.
STUDENT DATA PRIVACY
The issue of student data privacy once again emerged as a hot topic in Springfield. HB 1295 (Martwick, D-Chicago) creates new reporting mandates on school districts related to the treatment of student data. The language also creates confusion with definitions that conflict with existing State laws. Legislation just enacted last August creating brand new protections for student data.
HB 1295 requires school districts to post on their websites what student records or student-generated content that it collects and maintains, to whom it discloses the information to – and for what purpose – and a list of the school district providers.
The bill is pending on the House floor.
The onslaught of legislation that contain new unfunded or underfunded State mandates on local school districts has continued this spring. Dozens of such measures have been introduced – the Alliance opposes all of them. Many times sponsors will accept amendments from the Alliance that will remove the mandate, lessen the impact of it, or make it more easily implemented at the local level. Some of the bills currently moving through the process include:
- a curricular mandate to require instruction on the historic contributions of LGBT Americans (HB 5596, SB 3249)
- raising the statutory minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year (HB 5175, SB 2892)
- requiring at least 50% of a school’s custodial staff to receive pest control training (HB 4755)
- requiring school districts to inform all students (not just those eligible for services) of the opportunity to receive mental health services (HB 5770)
- requiring schools to provide a meal to every student who asks for one regardless of eligibility, ability to pay, or current money owed for previous meals (SB 2428)
The Alliance has worked to stop several bills that would add new requirements. Bills to require new curriculum in computer science, the free enterprise system, and civics; spelling bees in 7th grade; and full day kindergarten all are currently halted. The Alliance has been successful in amending several other initiatives such as new instruction on parenting education, emotional intelligence, and media literacy.
BILL ACTION THIS WEEK
The following bills passed the full House and will be taken up in the Senate at a future date:
The following bills passed the full Senate and will be taken up in the House at a future date:
- 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.
- HB 4413 (Ammons, D-Champaign) requires all open meetings of any State retirement system to broadcast the meeting in real-time on the system’s website using a high-speed Internet connection.
- HB 4870 (Lang, D-Skokie) requires school districts to authorize a parent or guardian of a student who is a qualifying patient to administer a medical cannabis infused product to the student on school premises or a school bus if both the student and the parent or guardian have been issued registry identification cards.
- HB 4956 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) requires universities to offer students seeking teacher licensure a 3-year completion program and have the program curriculum approved by the Board of Higher Education.
- HB 5062 (Flowers, D-Chicago) requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop a program facilitating education in advanced manufacturing skills.
- HB 5795 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) 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 2863 (Raoul, D-Chicago) makes changes to the Workers Compensation Act by adding regulation and expanding employee litigation opportunities.
- 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 the board instead of mandatory board representation by area.
COMMITTEE ACTION FROM THIS WEEK
The following bills were approved by Senate Committees and await further action from the full Senate:
- 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.
- SB 3418 (Rezin, R-Peru) sets limitations for school districts entering into joint agreements to share the services of a superintendent and creates a referendum process to attempt to force school districts into joint agreements to share administrative services.
BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK
The following is a selection of bills of interest that are scheduled to be considered in committees next week. For a full listing of next week’s Senate committees, click here. For House committees, click here.
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, April 24, 4:00 p.m., Room 212, State Capitol
- SB 2344 (Mulroe, R-Chicago) allows a student to continue to receive special education services at a school outside of a district of residence even if the district of residence no longer has a joint agreement with district providing special education services.
- SB 2347 (Lightford) requires school districts to provide training on SB 100 and other corresponding school discipline protocols for school personnel. The bill also requires school boards to implement disciplinary protocols based on restorative justice and trauma-informed practices.
- SB 2352 (Lightford) requires school districts to provide additional student discipline data to ISBE on the number of law enforcement officers in schools, arrests on school grounds, and discipline by incident type (including “disrespect or defiance of authority” and “cutting class”). The bill also adds school-based arrest data to ISBE discipline data analysis.
- SB 2484 (Murphy, D-Elk Grove Village) requires a school district, upon knowledge of an incident of sexual assault by a student against another student, to report the incident to ISBE.
- SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) eliminates Physical Education (P.E.) waiver changes made under SB 1947 and sets a time standard for P.E. of 150 minutes a week for elementary school and 225 minutes for high school.
- SB 3466 (Lightford) requires a school district to make reasonable efforts to provide ongoing professional development on the appropriate and available supportive services for the promotion of student attendance and engagement.
- SB 3537 (Collins, D-Chicago) provides that the term "truant" means a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance and who is absent without valid cause from such attendance for more than 1%, but less than 5%, of the past 180 days.
HOUSE PERSONNEL & PENSIONS COMMITTEE
Tuesday, April 24, 4:00 p.m., Room C-1, Stratton Office Building
- HB 5137 (Martwick, D-Chicago) requires the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) to offer an optional defined contribution retirement plan for members to join.
HOUSE REVENUE & FINANCE COMMITTEE
Tuesday, April 24, 4:00 p.m., Room 122B, Capitol Building
- HB 1132 (Mitchell, C., D-Chicago) establishes an income tax credit for certain taxpayers who have costs associated with specific early childhood education programs.
- HB 1899 (McDermed), under the School Facility Retail Occupation Tax, requires that monies distributed to a regional superintendent of schools be used to pay existing debt service on bonds issued by school districts prior to being used to pay for direct costs associated with school facility purposes.
SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, April 24, 6:15 p.m. Room 212, State Capitol
- SB 3003 (Sandoval, D-Cicero) provides that an applicant for a school bus driving permit cannot have been convicted of committing or attempting to commit specific offenses under the Criminal Code of 2012, the Cannabis Control Act, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, or the Liquor Control Act of 1934.
HOUSE ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION: LICENSING, ADMINISTRATION & OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
Wednesday, April 25, 8:30 a.m., Room 115, State Capitol
- 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 4768 (Wheeler, R-Aurora) adds comprehensive language changes to what must be included in the newly elected school board members’ oath of office.
- HB 4882 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) redefines several components of the Grow Your Own Teacher Program.
- HB 5175 (Hoffman, D-Belleville) provides that, beginning July 1, 2019, the statutory minimum teacher salary is $40,000 (currently $10,000).
SENATE REVENUE COMMITTEE
Wednesday, April 25, 5:00 p.m., Room 212, State Capitol
- SB 2668 (McConchie, R-Lake Zurich), as amended, exempts from sales tax, selling food at retail to students, teachers or staff at a school.
- SB 3093 (Anderson, R-Moline), as amended, adds life care facilities to the general homestead exemption allowing the homestead exemption to be credited to the owner or resident of the life care facility or cooperative.