Alliance Legislative Report (101-03) - Eventful Week in Legislative Session

By Alison Maley posted 02-08-2019 16:35

  
ALLIANCE LEGISLATIVE REPORT (101-03) - EVENTFUL WEEK IN LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Significant legislation was moved on the fast track this week in the State Capitol. The Illinois Senate approved legislation to increase the minimum wage and sent the bill over to the House of Representatives. A Senate committee approved a mandatory statewide increase in the minimum teacher salary and sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration. The bill pending in the Senate to reinstate the five clock-hour provision for school funding remained unchanged this week, though discussions were ongoing about possible revisions.

The Alliance opposes each of these three initiatives. For many school districts, the combination of statutory increases in the minimum wage for all workers and the minimum teacher salary will create a new fiscal constraint that will consume large percentages of any financial gain the district would have realized from the new Evidence-Based Funding Formula – and move them even farther away from their adequacy targets. Instead of being allowed to use this new funding on its intended purpose – lower class sizes, summer school, reading specialists, and other proven resources that increases student achievement – school districts will be required to increase current teacher salaries instead. The actual result could be cuts in services and programs to schools and larger class sizes.

MINIMUM WAGE
SB 1 (Lightford, D-Maywood) would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The increase would be incremental: $9.25 per hour beginning January 1, 2020-June 30, 2020; $10 per hour from July 1, 2020-December 31, 2020; then an additional $1 per hour beginning each January 1st until it reaches $15 per hour.

SB 1, opposed by the Alliance, was approved on a vote of 39-18 by the full Senate on Thursday. The bill is now pending before the House Labor & Commerce Committee.

The increase in the minimum wage would apply to all school districts and will cause a new financial burden on many districts. Of course, for all school staff who are already being paid above the minimum wage, there will be a push to get the same wage increase as those who are boosted by this legislation.

MINIMUM TEACHER SALARY
SB 10 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) would increase the statutory minimum teacher salary to at least $40,000 per year. The increase would set the following increments:
• not less than $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year
• not less than $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year
• not less than $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year
• not less than $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year

This move not only brings public schools closer to a standard, statutory salary schedule, but usurps the local authority of local school boards and teachers to negotiate salary and benefits based on the resources, wants, and needs of teachers, the community, and the district.
The Senate Education Committee approved SB 10, opposed by the Alliance, on a vote of 14-3 on Wednesday. The full Senate will take up the bill in the coming weeks.

5 CLOCK HOURS
Last week, the Senate Education Committee approved SB 28 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) which would reinstate the five clock-hour provision. The Alliance has advocated for the current law that gives school districts the flexibility to address the needs of students, and allows learning to be the main factor in determining a school day rather than the clock.

SB 28 is now on Third Reading and can be called at any time on the Senate floor.

Though discussions continue on possible amendments to the bill, the Alliance opposes losing all of the flexibility that has been provided with the repeal of the five clock-hour provision. School administrators and board members are encouraged to provide their legislators and the Alliance legislative staff, examples of programs, innovations, and courses that this flexibility has afforded districts.


OTHER BILL ACTION FROM THIS WEEK

SB 117 (Barickman, R-Bloomington), for destruction of student records, transfers parental rights to students after graduation and provides that notice of destruction of records must be given to the student before they can be destroyed. The bill also expands the notice options. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 27 (Thapedi, D-Chicago) creates two residential vocational academies for 9th grade, for post-secondary education age students in Cook County, and another downstate county. It establishes the academies as state agencies, funded by state appropriations, private appropriations, and endowments. The bill was approved by the House Executive Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 246 (Moeller, D-Elgin) requires schools to teach about the diversity of our society, including the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 247 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) re-establishes the five clock hours of school work per day, as a day of attendance for kindergarten through 12th grade. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.


BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK

HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE
Wednesday, February 13, 2:00 p.m., Room 114, State Capitol
  • HB 309 (McSweeney, R-Cary) provides that, once an agreement is reached between an educational employer and its employees regarding all of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, the final language must be approved by the board and posted the website of the educational employer within 48 hours.
  • SB 1 (Guzzardi, D-Chicago) provides for incremental increases in minimum wage culminating in $15 per hour beginning on January 1, 2025.

HOUSE ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION: SCHOOL CURRICULUM & POLICIES COMMITTEE
Thursday, February 14, 8:30 a.m., Room 114, State Capitol
  • HB 312 (McSweeney) allows a school board to immediately suspend or terminate the employment of any person employed or contracted to work for a school district who has been convicted of a sex offense.
  • HB 341 (Bailey, R-Louisville) allows a school board to display the motto “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous location inside or outside a school building.
  • HB 817 (Welch, D-Westchester) requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to establish an Office of Computer Science Education to ensure that every student K-12th grade is afforded computer science education and requires school districts to report on the school report card, computer science course data disaggregated by every student subgroup including race, gender and free-or reduced price lunch program eligibility.
  • HB 822 (Halpin, D-Rock Island) allows school districts to maintain a supply of undesignated glucagon medication for treatment of diabetic symptoms and requires reporting to parents and health care provider within 24 hours when administered.
  • HB 921 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) provides that if an educational support personnel (ESP) employee is dismissed as a result of a Reduction In Force (RIF) and the employee accepts re-employment with the same district, the employee maintains any rights accrued during the previous service with the school district.
  • HB 922 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) requires school districts to provide feminine hygiene products in all restrooms of the district free of charge.
  • HB 931 (Conyears-Ervin, D-Chicago) requires school districts to provide at least 20 minutes of “active break” unstructured play during a recess for all students k-5th grade.

HOUSE PERSONNEL & PENSIONS COMMITTEE
Thursday, February 14, 8:30 a.m., Room 115, State Capitol
  • HB 350 (Willis, D-Northlake) increases the 3% cap (enacted in Public Act 100-0587) on end of service salary increases, without additional contribution of employers, to 6%.

HOUSE ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION: ADMINISTRATION, LICENSING & CHARTER SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Thursday, February 14, 9:30 a.m., Room 115, State Capitol
  • HB 310 (McSweeney) prohibits school boards from granting post-retirement bonuses and requires school districts to annually report to district residents the status of all contracts requiring the payment of a post-retirement bonus and any paid during the previous school year.
  • HB 330 (Jones, D-South Holland) creates the High School Interscholastic Association Commission to provide leadership for the development, supervision, and promotion of interscholastic competition and activities. It disallows any public, nonpublic, or charter school serving grades 9-12 from paying dues or fees to an association having similar purpose beginning in 2020-2021 school year.
  • HB 355 (Batinick, R-Plainfield) requires 15 of the 120 required hours for educator license renewal be devoted to training on inclusive practices in the classroom examining instructional and behavioral strategies improving academic and social-emotional outcomes for all students in a general education setting.
  • HB 809 (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 811 (Martwick, D-Chicago) disallows charters schools created after the bill becomes law, from entering into an agreement with a management organization.
  • HB 920 (Greenwood, D-E. St. Louis) allows refund of the teacher licensure application fee if the teacher has not been entitled to teach in Illinois but has been teaching in a school district for at least 12 months.

HOUSE REVENUE & FINANCE COMMITTEE
Thursday, February 14, 9:30 a.m., Room 122B, State Capitol
  • HB 317 (McSweeney) imposes a permanent property tax freeze of 0% beginning with the 2019 levy year.
  • HB 320 (McSweeney) expands the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), beginning in the 2019 levy year, to all taxing district in Illinois. It reduces the limiting rate to the 2016 aggregate extension by 5%, and the 2020 levy year limiting by 10%. Thereafter, it sets the extension limitation at 0%.
  • HB 821 (McDermed, R-Frankfort) is an Alliance initiative addressing the problem of school districts being penalized for the under levy of property taxes under the PTELL.
  • HB 924 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) creates the School District Extension Freeze Law. If a school district has reserves of 50% or more of its education fund for a levy year, then, for the next levy year, the extension limitation cannot increase. If the school district has reserves of 60% or more at the end of the immediately preceding levy year, then the district’s education fund extension shall be reduced by an amount equal to the difference between the district’s educational reserve amount the previous year and a reserve amount of 60% for that levy year.
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