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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-42

Distributed via Email: March 2, 2012

The Illinois General Assembly worked steadily this week as bills were considered in committees. With thousands of new bills introduced, legislators seem to be making an effort to limit the number of bills that will ultimately be considered by the full legislature as much of the legislation is being held in committees or assigned to sub-committees. Most lawmakers seem to agree that, given current fiscal conditions, this is not the time to establish new state programs or expand services. However, the Alliance is still battling bills that would add new requirements to, or place new burdens on, local school districts.

The legislature adjourned Thursday and will return next week to work Tuesday through Friday. Next Friday, March 9, is the deadline for bills to be considered by a committee.

HOUSE SETS BUDGET PARAMETERS

When Governor Pat Quinn presented his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal last week, he proposed significant cuts to most areas of the state budget, including shuttering dozens of state facilities across Illinois. The House of Representatives this week drafted its budget outline, and House members will be using a total budget amount that is about $220 million less than the Governor’s proposal. That would mean even more budget cuts for some state programs.

The House budget outline is contained in House Resolution 707. The resolution was approved by the House Revenue Committee Thursday and was sent directly to the House floor where it passed on a bi-partisan vote of 93-11-5. The measure only addresses the revenue side of the budget – setting the upper boundary of what lawmakers may spend in FY ’13. There are no spending proposals in the resolution, so it contains no budget line items or any clues on what the spending priorities may be for public education.

The speculation is that the Senate may be preparing to use the same budget parameters as the House. Last year, the House and Senate were about $1 billion apart on the revenue estimates used to prepare the budget. If the House and Senate are united on their budget plans, a showdown with the Governor will be inevitable.

As proposed by the Governor, K-12 education would generally be facing a flat budget in FY ’13 compared to FY ’12 – with a possible increase in funding for pre-school programs and some education reform budget line items. However, without a boost in funding for General State Aid (GSA), this key funding source will likely be prorated again next year.

RECENT LEGISLATIVE ACTION

SB 2896 (Frerichs, D-Champaign) requires a school board to rely on the background check certificate issued by a regional superintendent to a substitute teacher, concurrent part-time teacher, or concurrent educational support personnel employee if he/she presents such certificate. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

SB 3168 (Link, D-Vernon Hills) prohibits a school board from hiring multiple people who are retired and are receiving a retirement annuity under TRS in order to fill, as a group, a teaching   or administrative position that would ordinarily be occupied by a single, full-time person. There may be an exception if the school board determines that there is a subject area shortage or administrative position shortage, in which case the school board must apply for an exemption. The bill was approved by the Senate Pension and Investments Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

 SB 3241 (Sullivan, D-Rushville) i ncreases the amount of the corporate income tax credit for hiring a qualified veteran. It would be a maximum credit of 20% of the veterans’ wages up to $5,000 (currently 10% with a maximum of $1,200). The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 3244 (Frerichs) requires an additional year of math in high school for each pupil entering the 9th grade in the 2012-2013 school year or thereafter. Instead of requiring three years of math to qualify for a high school diploma, four years of math would be necessary. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the Senate Education Committee but will be held on the Senate floor pending further discussion.

SB 3259 (Lightford, D-Maywood) i ncreases the compulsory school attendance age from 17 to 18 years of age. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee but will not advance on the Senate floor as discussions will continue.

SB 3366 (Koehler, D-Peoria) , in Cook County, p rovides that taxpayers who have been granted a Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption must reapply every 2 years (instead of annually). For all other counties, it provides that the county board may not require the person to reapply more frequently than every 2 years. The bill was approved by the Senate Revenue Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 3410 (Silverstein, D-Chicago) provides that the school board policy on concussions and head injuries must require that a student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion be removed from play at that time and not be eligible to return to play until the student athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care provider and given written clearance to return to play. The bill simply codifies in statute what the IHSA protocol already requires. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB 3474 (May, D-Highwood) , as contained in the Senate amendment, provides for the Philip J. Rock Center and School to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) Fund as a participating instrumentality. In the unlikely scenario of the Center being unable to pay the required IMRF employer contributions because it ceases to exist, the amount due would be paid by all other participating IMRF school districts in the State in an allocation based on the number of students in the school district. The bill was approved by the Senate and will be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate amendment.

HB 3806 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) changes the definition of “chronic truant” in the Juvenile Court Act to be the same as the definition in the School Code. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 3819 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) makes changes to what is required to be included in the report of the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 4010 (May) prohibits the salary of the regional superintendent of schools from being enhanced for administering a grant program with the use of money from the grant or other funds. The bill was discussed in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee but no vote was taken.

HB 4687 (Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn) amends the Open Meetings Act to provide that any required agenda must be sufficiently descriptive to give the public reasonable notice of the items that will be considered or will be the subject of final action at the meeting. The bill was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 5002 (Hammond, R-Macomb) , as amended, exempts a teacher from resubmitting fingerprints for a new criminal background check if that teacher had already complied with the background check requirements as a condition of employment as a full-time teacher and then, upon retirement, was employed by the same district as a substitute teacher. The bill was approved, as amended, by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor.

HB 5013 (Gabel, R-Waukegan) , as amended to address Alliance concerns, requires school districts to make publicly available, by December 1 of each year, the student immunization data that the district is required to submit to the ISBE each year. The bill was approved, as amended, by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for consideration.

HB 5659 (Gordon, D-Peoria) allows a school board to sell property to a charter school in the manner provided in the Local Government Property Transfer Act. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for consideration.

HB 5290 (Cassidy, D-Chicago)requires school districts to adopt and implement a new, comprehensive, and stringent bullying policy developed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The bill was held in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee to allow for time for the sponsor to address concerns brought forth by the Alliance. The Alliance was the only education organization to oppose the legislation; the ISBE supported the bill.

HB 5575 (Eddy, R-Hutsonville) , supported by the Alliance, provides that students with individualized education programs (IEP) shall exclude students for whom instruction in the general education classroom does not require modification to the content of the general education curriculum, as it relates to the percentage of students with an IEP in a classroom. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for consideration.

BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 6, 4:00 p.m., Room 409, State Capitol

SB 3367(Garrett, D-Lake Forest) makes many changes regarding drivers’ education and the mandate waiver process. The bill:

  • requires school districts to post information about mandate waiver hearings on their websites, as well as posting the notice in the newspaper. If the mandate waiver requests an increase in the district’s drivers’ education fee, the amount of that increase must be included on the website and in the newspaper notice;
  • requires that school districts requesting a waiver to contract with a private company to provide drivers’ education services, must provide evidence that the commercial driver training school employs instructors who hold valid teaching certificates;
  • requires ISBE to adopt standards for drivers’ education;
  • requires ISBE to annually report the approximate per capita drivers’ education cost for each school district;
  • requires drivers’ education vehicles to be equipped with dual control breaks, specific side-view mirrors, and signs on the front and rear of the vehicle identifying it as a drivers’ education car; and
  • requires drivers’ education vehicles used by public high schools to undergo an annual safety inspection if the cars are over five years of age or have over 75,000 miles on the odometer.

SB 3374 (Holmes, D-Plainfield) establishes the Physical Development and Health Task Force to make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on certain goals of the Illinois Learning Standards for Physical Development and Health.

SB 3408 (Silverstein, D-Chicago) prohibits school districts from making available or serving food with any amount of industrially produced trans fat. This prohibition includes food made available to students on any school grounds during the school day or the extended school day (including all extra-curricular activities, i.e. the concession stand at a basketball game) and includes food available through fundraisers.

SB 3495 (Schoenberg, D-Evanston)requires that school districts implement the provisions of a law enacted last year regarding epinephrine auto-injectors (EPI pens); the current law authorized the provisions but did not require them. Specifically, a school district shall authorize the provision of an EPI pen to a student who has an Individual Health Care Action Plan, Illinois Food Allergy Emergency Action Plan and Treatment Authorization Form, or 504 plan. It also states that a school district shall authorize a school nurse to provide an EPI pen to students with one of the aforementioned health plans or to any student that the school nurse in good faith professionally believes is having an anaphylactic reaction.    

HOUSE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 7, 8:00 a.m., Room 114, State Capitol

HB 592 (Hernandez, D-Cicero) , with the amendment filed for consideration, would require that all expelled students and any students suspended for 20 days or more be transferred to an alternative school. It also requires that there be at least one alternative school program per every regional office of education boundary.

HB 1963 (Burke, D., D-Chicago) requires the ISBE to develop and disseminate policy guidelines regarding student athletes who suffer concussions and requires school districts to adopt a policy based on these guidelines.

HB 3826 (Chapa La Via) makes changes to the “service animal” section of the School Code and allows school districts to make “reasonable accommodations” for such animals in schools instead of stating that such animals “shall be permitted” in the schools to aid disabled children.

HB 4016 (Chapa La Via) adds the current Illinois Teacher of the Year named by the ISBE to the Illinois P-20 Council.

HB 4029 (Chapa La Via) extends the exemption from the competitive bidding process for those that provide services for transporting children with disabilities to all other student transport entities.

HB 4495 (Farnham, D-Elgin) provides that school guidance counselors, teachers, school social workers, and other school personnel who work with pupils in grades 7 through 12 shall be trained to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior (instead of just suicidal behavior).

HB 4621 (Chapa La Via) increases the compulsory school attendance age from 17 to 18 years of age.

HB 5076 (Gabel) requires that special education and related services shall be provided in accordance with the student's IEP no later than 10 days after notice is provided to the parents pursuant to specified provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations and implementing rules adopted by the ISBE.

HB 5114 (Burke, D.)r equires all students enrolled in grades 1-8 in the public schools to watch a training video on CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator.    

HB 5323 (Pihos) contains several changes to the drivers’ education provisions for local school districts. Please see the synopsis for SB 3367 above.

HB 5324 (Kay, R-Edwardsville) prohibits the ISBE, by rule, from defining a general education classroom as a classroom that is composed of a certain percentage of students with IEPs.

HB 5374 (Tryon, R-Crystal Lake) , regarding teacher certification,   authorizes the waiver of the student teaching requirement if the person seeking certification or licensure presents evidence of 100 hours or more of successful teaching experience on a valid substitute certificate or valid substitute teaching license.

HB 5375 (Tryon) removes from the statute the requirement that a candidate for the office of Regional Superintendent of Schools must have, in at least two years of the four previous years, served full-time as a teacher or administrator in the common public schools.

HB 5567 (Costello, D-Sparta) requires that if a school district has been designated as on financial warning or financial watch status, then the district must join the Department of Central Management Services' Joint Purchasing Program.

HB 5602 (Sente, D-Lincolnshire) provides that the inspection and copying of law enforcement records maintained by law enforcement agencies that relate to a minor who has been arrested or taken into custody before his or her 17th birthday may be released to appropriate schools under a reciprocal reporting system.

HB 5628 (Yarbrough, D-Broadview)requires school boards to establish new rights for students who are parents, expectant parents, or claim to be the victim of domestic or sexual violence. For such students, their status accounts for mitigating factors during suspension or expulsion procedures, allows for transfer to another school either within or outside of the school district of residence (tuition free), and protects them from any penalties for missing class if it is because of their parenting situation.

HB 5825 (Chapa La Via) provides that, except for those children qualifying under the Article of the Code concerning children with disabilities, school districts shall be eligible to receive reimbursement for all children requiring home or hospital instruction at not more than $1,000 annually per child or $9,000 (instead of $8,000) per teacher, whichever is less.

HB 5826 (Chapa La Via) , regarding the poverty grant in the General State Aid formula removes language requiring certain school to submit a plan to the ISBE regarding the improvement of instruction in which priority is given to meeting the education needs of disadvantaged children.

HB 5898 (Fortner, R-West Chicago) requires the ISBE to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education contained in the Council's December 2011 report before the 2012-2013 school year.

HB 5916 (Rose, R-Charleston) ,with respect to contracts with private carriers for the transportation of pupils being awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, provides that the consideration of quality may include past performance in this State or any other state under a similar contract. It provides that a school board may, before awarding a contract to the lowest responsible bidder, give a private carrier located no more than 45 miles from the school district's boundaries the opportunity to offer the transportation services for the same amount as the lowest responsible bidder.

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 Statewide School Management Alliance.

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


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