Alliance Legislative Report 97-25
Distributed via Email: August 25, 2011
GOVERNOR FINISHING UP BILL SIGNINGS
Governor Pat Quinn signed a number of bills into law this week as he is completing his work on bills sent to him by the legislature. There are about a dozen bills left on the Alliance’s bill list which he still has not taken action on. Those bills he has signed become law; those he vetoed will be sent back to the legislature during the Veto Session in October. Legislators, then, will either vote to accept his vetoes or vote to override them.
NEW COMMISSION ON SCHOOL REORGANIZATION
The Governor signed HB 1216 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) which will establish a new panel to look into school district reorganization and consolidation. The legislation was a more reasonable approach to the issue of possibly combining schools, school districts, or school services for the sake of efficiency. Earlier in the spring legislative session, the governor and some legislators had proposed measures that would have mandated specific school districts to consolidate – either by geography or arbitrary enrollment limits – without input or approval by local citizens. The Alliance was successful in squelching those proposals.
HB 1216 establishes the School District Realignment and Consolidation Commission to make recommendations to the governor and General Assembly on the number of school districts in this state, the optimal amount of enrollment for a school district, and where consolidation and realignment would be beneficial. The Commission must vote on its recommendations and file a report by July 1, 2012.
The panel is headed by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon who has indicated to the Alliance that she does not support forced school district consolidation and, instead, is looking for ways to bring efficiency to the delivery of education services. In fact, she prefers to call the panel the “Classrooms First Commission” – with no mention of school district consolidation. She highlights the commission on her website here.
The Alliance worked to amend the original proposal to add representatives from the Alliance organizations as part of the commission. The IASB, IASA, IPA, and IASBO will each have one appointment to the commission. The Lt. Governor plans to convene the first commission meeting early next month.
HB 1216 is now Public Act 97-0503, effective August 23, 2011.
BOARD MEMBERS TO RECEIVE “OMA” TRAINING
The Governor signed HB 1670 (Burke, K., D-Evergreen Park) into law which will require school board members and other elected officials for local governments to receive training on the Open Meetings Act (OMA). Those persons who are s chool board members as of January 1, 2012, will have one year from that date to successfully complete the training program provided by the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor regarding the Open Meetings Act. This is an electronic training program that can be completed on-line through the internet. After January 1, 2012, anyone who is elected or appointed to a position on a local board must complete the Open Meetings Act training within 90 days of taking the oath of office or otherwise assuming the duties of the office.
The law also provides that the OMA training may be conducted by the Illinois Association of School Boards. The IASB will be offering Open Meetings Act training at the “Basics of Law Board Meetings and Practices” in September and at the annual conference in Chicago on November 18-20.
Both the Public Access Counselor and the IASB will be providing a certificate to the elected official upon completion of the OMA training. The elected official, then, must file a copy of the certificate with the public body.
The required training in HB 1670 (Open Meetings Act) is separate from the new mandatory school board member training provisions contained in the education reform act (SB 7). The training in SB 7 must cover education and labor law, financial oversight and accountability, and fiduciary responsibilities of a school board member. The required training under SB 7 must be completed within one year after being appointed to a school board – if the appointment was on or after June 13, 2011 – or within one year after being elected to a school board beginning with the next school board election (April 9, 2013). The IASB is also a designated provider of the training under SB 7 and will begin offering this training early next year for board members appointed since June 13, 2011.
HB 1670 is now Public Act 97-0504, effective January 1, 2012.
BILLS SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR
HB 147 (Dugan, D-Bradley) requires an applicant for a school bus driver permit to consent to the release of the results of reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol tests and provides that an employer of a school bus driver permit holder shall, within 48 hours, notify the Secretary of State of the result of a test that indicates any alcohol or drug use, or if a driver refuses to submit to a drug/alcohol test. It provides that the Secretary of State shall suspend for a period of three years the school bus driver permit of a driver who refuses testing or tests positive for the presence of alcohol drugs or intoxicating compounds. The bill is now Public Act 97-0466, effective January 1, 2012.
HB 2086 (Davis, M., D-Chicago) provides that a student cannot be denied participation in an alternative learning opportunities program based solely on the fact that he or she has been suspended or expelled from school, except in cases where there is a safety issue. The bill is now Public Act 97-0495, effective January 1, 2012.
HB 2870 (Chapa La Via) provides that school districts shall provide the opportunity for students to voluntarily state on the enrollment form whether the student has a parent or guardian who serves in a branch of the armed forces. It requires each school district to report this enrollment information as aggregate data to the Illinois State Board of Education under the Student Information System. The bill is now Public Act 97-0505, effective August 23, 2011.
SB 620 (Martinez, D-Chicago) , for Chicago Public Schools only, includes provisions concerning school action and facility master planning. It sets forth provisions concerning educational facility standards; the Educational Facility Master Plan; capital improvement plans; financial transparency; school transition plans; school action public meetings and hearings; and emergencies. The bill is now Public Act 97-0473, effective January 1, 2012.
SB 1578 (Holmes, D-Aurora) provides that of the four yearly teacher institute days, two days may be used as a teacher's and educational support personnel (ESP) workshop. It provides that educational support personnel may be exempt from a workshop if it is not relevant to the work they do. The bill is now Public Act 97-0525, effective January 1, 2012.
SB 1794 (Lightford, D-Maywood) contains a proposal by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) making legislative changes to align the statute with current practice in the aftermath of the “Cory H” court decision. It eliminates the certification of special education teachers by categorical designation and replaces it with the structure for certifying special education teachers currently in effect and outlined in the ISBE policies commonly referred to as the transition rules. The bill is now Public Act 97-0461, effective August 19, 2011.
SB 2170 (Clayborne, D-E. St. Louis) makes changes to the School Facility Occupation Tax Law which allows counties to impose a sales tax with receipts earmarked for school construction. It r equires the imposition of the sales tax if the voters approve the referendum (instead of allowing the county board to choose to impose the sales tax) and requires the tax rate to be set forth in the question (instead of allowing the county board to choose to impose the tax at a different rate). It also provides that a referendum shall not be required if the purchase, construction, or building of a school building is paid from funds received from the sales tax bond proceeds. The bill is now Public Act 97-0542, effective August 23, 2011.
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
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