SIGNIFICANT BILL ACTION THIS WEEK
The Illinois General Assembly took action on several major pieces of legislation this week. Bills regarding teacher salaries, compulsory school attendance age, superintendent sharing, charter schools, and pensions all advanced.
Both chambers finished up their work today and have now hit the half-way point of the session. When the Senate and House of Representatives resume again on April 30, the Senate will be taking up House bills and the House will be considering Senate bills.
The Senate Executive Committee Wednesday approved Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1 that proposes to amend the Illinois Constitution to allow for a graduated income tax rate. The measure is now pending action on the Senate floor.
One of Governor JB Pritzker’s top priorities is to implement a “fair tax system” that would allow the state to impose higher income tax rates on individuals with higher incomes. The Constitution currently prohibits anything but a flat rate for all taxpayers. The governor announced his plan for the graduated tax levels in March.
In order to amend the Constitution, both chambers of the General Assembly must approve the resolution by a 3/5 vote this spring and then place it on the General Election ballot in November of 2020. A 3/5 vote of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election would be necessary to enact the measure.
Bills proposing new physical education mandates and forced school district consolidation did not advance this week.
SB 10 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) and HB 2078 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) would increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year. The House of Representatives approved HB 2078 Tuesday and the Senate passed SB 10 Thursday. Even with the proposed phase-in of the new minimum salaries; this onerous unfunded mandate will consume a large percentage of any new funded provided under the new evidence-based formula, usurps the local control for local school districts, and undermines the collective bargaining process. The Alliance opposes these bills.
COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AGE
SB 2075 (Lightford, D-Westchester) lowers the compulsory school attendance age from age six to age 5 (by May 31 st). It also requires public schools to offer kindergarten. The Senate approved the bill on Thursday. The Alliance opposes the bill.
SB 1287 (Rezin, R-Morris) allows voters to put forth a referendum that would require school districts to share a superintendent, assistant superintendent, or school business official. The Senate approved the bill Wednesday. The Alliance opposes the bill.
SB 1226 (Holmes, D-Aurora) abolishes the State Charter School Commission and transfers all responsibilities to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The Senate approved the bill on Thursday. The Alliance supports the bill.
HB 2100 (Welch, D-Westchester) abolishes the State Charter School Commission and transfers all responsibilities to ISBE.
SB 1952 (Manar) repeals provisions that a school district would be liable for the actuarial pension costs for any salary increases over 3% for members of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) who use that increase to calculate his/her pension amount. It, therefore, reverts the end-of-career salary increase limit back to 6%. The bill also eliminates the test of basic skills for teachers and allows school districts to pay student teachers. SB 1952 was approved by the Senate Wednesday. The Alliance supports the bill.
STUDENT DATA PRIVACY
HB 3606 (Martwick, D-Chicago), regarding student data privacy, con tains a myriad of unfunded and/or unworkable mandates on school districts that would place enormous and expensive burdens on districts, including requiring each district to try and re-negotiate potentially hundreds of agreements, adding new posting requirements on websites, and allowing parents to opt out of classes they do not wish their children to participate in. The bill was approved by the House on Thursday. The Alliance opposes the bill.
OTHER BILL ACTION THIS WEEK
The following bills were approved by the chamber of origin and will be sent to the opposite chamber for further consideration:
HB 18 (Flowers, D-Chicago), under the curricular mandate for Character education, also requires teaching respect toward a person’s race, ethnicity, or gender.
HB 190 (Ford, D-Chicago) requires schools to share appropriate or available community-based or in-school support services for at-risk students in need of academic support. School districts are not responsible for any costs or transportation associated with a student’s participation in a community-based service.
HB 254 (Guzzardi, D-Chicago) requires school districts to report certain information about actively employed teachers, pupil-teacher ratios, class instructors by grade level and subject, and class sizes to ISBE.
HB 256 (Guzzardi) removes the requirement that student teachers videotape themselves or students in a classroom setting in order to be licensed.
HB 423 (Scherer, D-Decatur) repeals sections in the school code requiring a system of examinations for the issuance of educator licenses. It also provides that a candidate in a teacher preparation program must receive a letter grade of at least a "C", or its equivalent, in his or her student teaching program to obtain the license.
HB 1475 (Bryant, R-Mt. Vernon) establishes school district protocols for caring for students that have epilepsy or seizure-related occurrences. The student's parent or guardian is responsible for creating a “seizure action plan” with the student's school.
HB 1561 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) requires all school boards to develop threat assessment protocols and create threat assessment teams. It also requires that the threat assessment protocol be a public document and be posted on the school district's website. Additionally, it allows counties to impose a tax to be used exclusively for school facility purposes, school resources officers, or mental health professionals.
HB 2165 (Murphy, R-Springfield) , for the high school graduation requirement of three years of math, requires one year to be Algebra I and one year to include geometry content. The bill contains guidelines on what may constitute the geometry content.
HB 2263 (Lilly, D-Chicago) provides that beginning in 6 th grade, students should be introduced to the importance of developing and applying a work ethic under the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness program.
HB 2605 (Crespo) adds licensure and training requirements for teachers who hold school support personnel endorsement for non-teaching speech-language pathology.
HB 2627 (Kifowit, D-Aurora) disallows a student under the age of 18 to be questioned or detained at a school site in connection with criminal charges or allegations without the presence of the student’s parent or guardian. A student 18 years of age or older may request the presence of a parent or guardian and must be notified of that right .
HB 2822 (West, D-Rockford) provides that ISBE school report cards must include the most current data on the percentage of students who participated in job shadowing, the percentage of students who have completed an internship, and whether a school offered its students vocational training opportunities.
HB 3086 (Lilly) requires school boards to either connect at-risk students with anger management classes offered in the community or conduct their own anger management classes for at-risk students.
HB 3096 (Hernandez, E., D-Cicero) provides that taxing districts subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) would be allowed to seek an aggregate extension increase in addition to current provisions allowing an increase in the limiting rate when a change is sought through referendum.
HB 3147 (Halbrook, R-Shelbyville) p rovides that at least a 10 day notice of a change made in regular meeting dates, times, or locations may also be provided on the website of a public body in addition to providing notice in a newspaper, or in lieu of providing notice in a newspaper if there is no such newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the public body functions.
HB 3687 (Harper, D-Chicago) p rovides that upon commencement of a prosecution for a sex offense against a person known to be an employee of a school, the State's Attorney shall immediately provide the superintendent of schools or school administrator that employs the employee with a copy of the complaint, information, or indictment.
SB 209 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) provides that under no circumstances may a petition for withdrawal from a joint special education agreement be presented to other member districts less than 12 months from the date of the proposed withdrawal.
SB 455 (Castro, D-Elgin) provides that a school district, public school, charter school, or nonpublic school must allow a school nurse or school administrator to administer a medical cannabis infused product to a student.
SB 449 (Lightford) creates the Children and Youth Who Are Parents, Expectant Parents, or Victims of Gender-Based Violence Article. Requires the State Board of Education to create the Ensuring Success in School working group to advise the State Board on the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the Article by schools and school districts, including the development of policies, procedures, and protocols to be implemented by schools and school districts.
SB 685 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) provides that taxing districts subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), in addition to current provisions allowing an increase in limiting rate when a change is sought through referendum, would be allowed to seek an aggregate extension increase and a multi-year phase in of an approved aggregate extension increase.
SB 1035 (Weaver, R-Peoria) establishes notification timelines for the termination of a redevelopment project under tax increment financing (TIF) to guarantee that taxing districts are able to include the territory as new property and the recovered tax increment value.
SB 1043 (DeWitte, R-West Dundee) provides that a taxing district's aggregate extension base shall be adjusted whenever an assessment increase or decrease due to the issuance of a certificate of error, a decision of the board of review, or a decision of the Property Tax Appeal Board results in the overextension or underextension of taxes for the last preceding levy year.
SB 1213 (Lightford) requires each school district to implement an appeals process for "unsatisfactory" ratings that includes an assessment of the original rating by a panel of qualified evaluators agreed to by a joint committee that has the power to reevaluate and re-rate a teacher who appeals.
SB 1249 (Murphy, D-Des Plaines) requires a school district to report to ISBE the knowledge of any incident of sexual assault by a student against another student.
SB 1371 (Rose, R-Mahomet) allows a school district to install a security locking device on a door of a school building to prevent unwanted entry through the door if certain requirements are met.
SB 1552 ( Tracy, R-Quincy) provides that, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, each school district having Personal Property Tax Replacement Fund (CPPRT) receipts totaling 13% or more of its total revenues in FY 2018 shall receive an additional distribution in FY 2020 in an amount equal to 19%. The total distribution amount is limited to $4,769,101.
SB 1569 (Rezin) requires each school district to include in each course in its curriculum instruction on speech communication.
SB 1601 (Sims, D-Chicago), with regard to the instruction on history of the United States, requires that the course must also include instruction on the history of Illinois.
SB 1642 (Peters, D-Chicago) requires the curriculum of a driver education course to include instruction on bicycle and pedestrian safety, which must include, but is not limited to, instruction on how to safely pass a cyclist on the road.
SB 1658 (Muñoz, D- Chicago ) provides that, subject to appropriation or private donations, ISBE shall award grants to school districts to support school safety and security, including: professional development, safety-related upgrades to school buildings, equipment, metal detectors and x-ray machines, and facilities, including school-based health centers.
SB 1694 (Bush, D-Grayslake) allows a school district that maintains any of grades 9-12 to include in its high school curriculum a unit of instruction on workplace preparation that covers legal protections in the workplace, including protection against sexual harassment and racial and other forms of discrimination and other protections for employees.
SB 1746 (Belt, D-Chicago) updates the statute regarding working cash bonding by adding 85% of school district’s evidence based funding to the list of school district revenues required to secure issuance of bonds.
SB 1798 (Rose) requires each school district to create, maintain, and implement an age-appropriate policy on sexual harassment that must be posted on the school district's website.
SB 1941 (Lightford) changes the requirements for school discipline plan submissions. It establishes a Safe Schools and Healthy Learning Environments grant program and requires ISBE and participating schools to issue yearly reports on results of the program.
SB 1970 (Sims) allows a student entitled to vote in a primary, general, or special election two hours to vote on Election Day. The school may specify the hours in which the student may be absent.
SB 2124 (Rose) provides that a student must be expelled for a period of not less than one year if he or she brings to school a pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun, irrespective of the type or size of projectile that can be fired or the gun's muzzle velocity.