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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-12

Distributed via Email: April 14, 2011

SCHOOL REFORM AMENDMENT FILED

An amendment was filed late Wednesday afternoon that contains significant new education reform provisions. It is expected to be considered in the Senate Education Committee this morning (Thursday). SB 7 (Lightford, D-Maywood) is the culmination of four months of discussions and negotiations among the various education stakeholders, including the Alliance, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Chicago Teachers’ Union, “Stand for Children”, “Advance Illinois”, and others.

The proposal is a follow up to last year’s SB 315 – the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) – which was approved in January 2010 in an attempt to bolster Illinois’ chances of being awarded a federal “Race to the Top” grant. Illinois, of course, did not receive the ‘Race’ grant, but the legislation remains in place to strengthen the teacher and administrator evaluation processes. Those stronger performance evaluations are the basis of many of the provisions of SB 7.

Stand for Children, a national organization based out of Oregon, brought forth the new education reform proposal at the end of last year. Hearings were held in December and January on the proposal in an attempt to have legislation passed in January’s lame duck session. No bill was approved at that time, and discussions on the plan have been ongoing in the Senate ever since.

There are provisions in SB 7 that will significantly diminish the role teacher “seniority” has in school district hiring practices and requires teachers to “earn” tenure status, and a new hurdle added to contract negotiations before a teacher’s union may strike. However, there are provisions to require school board member training, a provision for “tenure portability”, and somewhat complicated procedures for proceeding with reductions in force and tenured teacher dismissals.

Another version of education reform could develop in the House of Representatives. Ultimately, one bill must be approved by both the House and the Senate to move legislation to the governor. As always, school board members are encouraged to review the legislation and talk to their legislators about how provisions will affect their school district.

An analysis of SB 7 is available here on the IASB website. The entire bill text can be found on the Illinois General Assembly website here.

HOT BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

The following bills were approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Senate for further consideration:

HB 1600 (Ford, D-Chicago) , as amended, creates the Artificial Trans Fat Restriction Act. It provides that beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, no food containing artificial trans fat may be served by a food facility or used in the preparation of food within a food facility, however, the definition of “food facility” no longer includes entities operated by a school district. It does prohibit food containing artificial trans fat to be made available in a vending machine operated by a public school district. The Alliance was the only opponent of the bill when it originally was presented in committee.

HB 2842 (Verschoore, D-Rock Island) requires all new school buses put into service on or after Jan. 1, 2014 to be equipped with fire retardant seating which has passed federal standards. It also requires all plastic components in the engine compartment of a school bus to pass national standards.

HB 3040 (McGuire, D-Joliet) , as amended to address Alliance objections, changes the School Safety Drill Act regarding the school district’s annual review of safety procedures. It adds to the annual report any renovation, addition, or change in floor plan of a school building and the acknowledgement that there has been submission of a change in floor plans to the local fire department or local law enforcement agency. Upon completion of any such school building changes that modifies a previously approved emergency crisis response plan, the school board must contact the local fire department and local law enforcement agency within 60 days to set up a meeting to review the changes.

HB 3375 (McCarthy, D-Orland Park) disallows multiple annuitants, without impairing their retirement status, from accepting employment with a school district as a group (for example, the hiring of two interim superintendents), without first receiving an exemption from the Teachers’ Retirement System because of a claim of a shortage of administrators available for the position.

The following bills were discussed in committee this week.

HB 542 (Hernandez, D-Cicero) had an amendment offered in the House Insurance Committee that stated that no joint insurance pool or cooperative shall require a member to provide notice to withdraw more than 30 days before withdrawal, required the pool to allow a member without penalty to rejoin the pool if their withdrawal was for the sole purpose of seeking competitive pricing and is within 60 days of the withdrawal, required that the head of any pool be a licensed insurance producer, and disallowed any joint insurance pool or cooperative from entering into any contract for insurance coverage that exceeds one year. The amendment was defeated in the committee.

SB 624 (Raoul, D-Chicago) was amended to provide, among many provisions, that organizations such as the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) may not use multipliers in establishing rules of competition for high school activities. The bill is pending on the Senate floor.

SB 626 (Lauzen, R-Aurora) has an amendment filed that would require that each high school district contain only one elementary school district with identical boundaries. Each of the school districts would have to limit its property tax rate to: 3.5% in 2012, 3.2% in 2013, 2.9% in 2014, 2.6% in 2015, 2.3% in 2016, and 2.0% in 2017 and thereafter. The bill was sent to a sub-committee for further study.

SB 628 (Collins, D-Chicago) was amended to extend the school year from 183 days to 192 days, and to extend the school day from 5 clock hours to 6 clock hours. No appropriation accompanies the bill. The bill is pending on the Senate floor.

OTHER BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

The following bills were approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Senate for further consideration:

HB 1415 (Jones, D-Calumet City) , as amended, requires certain schools in Representative Jones’ legislative district to “opt in” to a pilot project for operation of a full-year school plan approved by the ISBE if a school remains on the academic watch list after two years. The school board must devise a plan so that a student's required attendance in school shall be for a minimum term of 215 days of actual attendance. The bill is contingent on the availability of federal funds available for this purpose.

HB 2397 (Cross, R-Oswego) , as amended, changes the Care of Students with Diabetes Act to clarify that for school employees and delegated care aides, training shall occur during regular in-service training.

HB 2984 (Sosnowski, R-Belvidere) creates the Tuition Voucher Program Task Force to study the feasibility of a statewide tuition voucher program. An amendment added two representatives from the Alliance on the task force.

HB 3096 (Tryon, R-Crystal Lake) , as amended, authorizes the board of education of a school district to place on the ballot an advisory question of public policy in accordance with the Election Code, though it may not be submitted at a consolidated primary election.

HB 3489 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) allows a school board to adopt a substitute authorization program for substitute teachers who do not hold a certificate valid for teaching in the common schools as shown on the face of the certificate.

The following bills were discussed in committee this week.

SB 621 (Holmes, D-Aurora) , as amended, provides that four or more contiguous school districts with all or portion of their territory located within the geographic boundaries of the same municipality may, when in their judgment the interest of the districts and of the students therein will be best served, jointly operate, through an institution of higher education located in the municipality, a science and mathematics partnership school for serving some or all of grades kindergarten through 8. The bill is pending on the Senate floor.

SB 1619 (Steans, D-Chicago) provides that if an elementary or secondary public school offers sex education or sexual health education, the education must be medically accurate and developmentally and age appropriate and requires ISBE to provide resource materials for the curriculum. Another amendment was added to clarify that if a school district does not currently provide sex education, this bill does not require it and that if such instruction is offered, the district may choose and adapt the curriculum that meets the specific needs of its community. The bill is pending on the Senate floor.

SB 2134 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) originally eliminated the position of an elected Regional

Superintendent of Schools and replaced that position with an appointed person serving within the

Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and contained provisions for forced school district consolidation. As amended to address Alliance concerns, the bill now encourages the ROE to offer school districts the opportunity to participate in shared operational programs and for school districts to explore new ways to consolidate services and programs with other school districts. The bill also requires school districts to complete a one-page checklist along with the annual financial report to disclose which types of shared service options they may be participating in. The bill is pending on the Senate floor.

SB 2135 (Garrett) would establish stringent new criteria for instructors at private drivers’ education businesses. The bill was defeated in the Senate Education Committee.

This legislative report is written and edited by the lobbyists of the Illinois Association of School Boards to provide information to the members of the organizations that comprise the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance.

Bill Text/Status: Illinois General Assembly www.ilga.gov


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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