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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-47

Distributed via Email: April 20, 2012

GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES PENSION REFORMS

Noon today Governor Pat Quinn held a press conference to announce his recommendations for Illinois’ public pension reform. The proposal was developed by the Pension Working Group the Governor convened in March. The group is led by Jerry Stermer and includes representatives from the four legislative caucus’, House Democrat Representative Elaine Nekritz, House Republican Representative Darlene Senger, Senate Democrat Senator Mike Noland and Senate Republican Senator Bill Brady. While legislation is not yet available to further define these components, below are highlights of the proposal:

  • Fund the systems under a 30-year closed actuarially required contribution, basing the funding schedule on actuarial estimates rather than on payroll.
  • Reach 100% funding for the pension systems by 2042
  • Increase employee contributions by 3%
  • Modify the COLA to be equal to the lesser of ½ of CPI or 3% (simple interest not compounding) also
  • Delay the COLA to the earlier of 5 years after retirement or age 67, to be phased in.
  • Allow state pension systems to provide pensions only for public sector employment.
  • Requires unanimous approval of this increase by employees. If that approval is not obtained then salaries for pension calculations would be frozen at current levels for calculating pension benefits and elimination of state subsidy for retiree health care.

Under the governor’s plan employees of the systems are offered a continuance of pensionable wage increases, continued access to retiree health insurance and a guarantee that the state will continue to fund the systems. The governor did NOT include a provision for passing on the state’s share of the normal cost to local school districts. However, during questioning he did not dismiss the idea and commented that it had not garnered consensus of the working group members.

Legislation will obviously be necessary to implement the governor’s pension initiatives. Much will be debated on these and other “solutions” to the pension crisis over the coming month as the legislature is scheduled to adjourn May 31.

CONSOLIDATION COMMISSION REPORT RELEASED

The School District Realignment and Consolidation Commission, “Classrooms First Commission” headed by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, met on Tuesday this week to adopt DRAFT recommendations for schools in the areas of Reorganization, Educational Shared Services, Operational Shared Services and In-District Efficiency.

Public Hearings began this week for the commission to take testimony on the DRAFT recommendations. Please take time to review the report and provide testimony as this feedback will provide for modifications of the recommendations, which will likely culminate in legislative action.

Hearing Information released by the Commission:

Individuals will be given five minutes to provide comment, and speakers will be allotted time on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who cannot attend a hearing can give input by submitting it on the website found at:   http://www2.illinois.gov/ltgov/Pages/CFCPublicComment.aspx

The commission’s recommendations can be found at the same link or by contacting us at dsullivan@iasb.com, 217-527-3523.

Remaining Public Hearings Scheduled

April 26, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Prairie State College, Conference Center Auditorium, 202 S. Halsted Street,
Chicago Heights, IL 60411

April 30, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Rock Valley College, Woodward Technology Center, Room 117-121, 3301 North Mulford Road, Rockford, IL 61114

ILLINOIS HOUSE APPROVES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTRICT FUTURE PENSION BENEFITS

HouseSpeaker Michael Madigan presented HJRCA 49 this week before the House Personnel and Pensions Committee and the full House. The constitutional amendment would require a 3/5 ths vote of the legislature or local governments, including school districts, to adopt any benefit increase for any pension or retirement system. The constitutional amendment was approved unanimously by the House and sent to the Senate for consideration. HJRCA 49 is scheduled for hearing in the Senate Executive Committee at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, in Room 212 of the State Capitol.

The Illinois Constitution provides the following direction to the General Assembly for furthering an Amendment:

Article XIV – Constitutional Revision
Amendments to the Illinois Constitution may be initiated by the General Assembly must be approved at least 6 months before the next General Election and must be approved by 3/5ths vote of each chamber. Amendments proposed by the General Assembly also must be published with explanations at least 1 month prior to the election. The Amendment is adopted in one of two ways, either with 3/5ths of those voting yes on the question or a majority of those voting in the election approving the measure.

PLEASE ACT NOW!
DRIVERS EDUCATION UNFUNDED MANDATE TO BE HEARD

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

  • 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.
  • 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 the ISBE to adopt standards for drivers’ education;
  • requires the ISBE to annually report the approximate per capita drivers’ education cost for each school district;

This bill has been posted hearing on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Please contact members of the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and express your opposition to this unfunded mandate. You can find their contact information here: http://ilga.gov/house/committees/members.asp?CommitteeID=887&GA=97

LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK

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 Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 4029 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) allows districts to select a bus contract for other reasons than lowest responsible bidder. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 4043 (Bradley, D-Marion) provides that if a petition is filed for the consolidation of Christopher Unit School District 99 and Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit School District 188, the change is granted and approved at election, and no appeal is taken, then the change shall become effective after one or both of the school districts have been awarded school construction grants under the School Construction Law (instead of after the time for appeal has run for the purpose of all elections). The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 4993 (Cross, R-Plainfield) provides that a candidate for an administrative certificate who has enrolled and began coursework prior to Aug. 1, 2011 in an approved ISBE program, and who successfully completes that program prior to Jan. 1, 2013, may apply for the general administrative endorsement until Jan. 1, 2013 without his or her 2 years of full-time teaching or school service personnel experience. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.   

SB 2849 (Haine, D-Alton) expands the definition of the term “neglected child” to include any child who is subjected to an environment injurious to his or her health and welfare. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary I Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 2850 (Luechetfeld, R-Okawville) removes provisions allowing days of attendance to be less than 5 clock hours on the opening and closing of the school term, and upon the first day of pupil attendance.   The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 3393 (Steans, D-Chicago) makes changes to the new teacher licensure law enacted this year. In last year’s SB 1799, a provision required anyone who had allowed his/her teaching certificate to lapse without being renewed to complete nine hours of coursework from an institution of higher education in order to renew the teaching certificate. This bill allows the certificate holder to either complete that coursework, or pay a $500 penalty. The bill was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 3487 (Crotty, D-Oak Forest) provides that a multi-function school activity bus (MFSAB) may be used to transport students for any curriculum-related activity except for transportation on regular bus routes from home to school or from school to home. The bill was approved by the House Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SJR 61 (Meeks, D-Chicago) approves all of the mandate waiver requests for the spring. The resolution was approved by the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, April 24, 5 p.m., Room 409, State Capitol

HB 1473 (Flowers, D-Chicago) allows the Chicago Board of Education to develop a plan for implementing a program that seeks to establish common bonds between youth of various backgrounds and ethnicities, which may be similar to that of the Challenge Day organization.

HB 3826 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) expands the definition of “service animal” and adds to the types of disabilities that would allow a student to use a service animal in schools.

HB 4602 (Burke, D-Oak Lawn)   provides that Ridgeland School District 122 may issue bonds with an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $50 million for the purpose of refunding or continuing to refund bonds originally issued pursuant to voter approval Nov. 7, 2000. It provides that the debt incurred on the bonds shall not be considered indebtedness for purposes of any statutory debt limitation, and the bonds may be issued in one or more issuances and must mature within 25 years.

HB 5013 (Gabel, R-Waukegan) requires school districts to make publicly available, by Dec. 1 of each year, the student immunization data that the district is required to submit to the ISBE each year.

HB 5290 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) defines what a school district “policy on bullying” must include.

HB 5689 (Lilly, C-Chicago) creates the Eradicate Domestic Violence Task Force to develop a statewide effective and feasible prevention course for high school students designed to prevent interpersonal, adolescent violence.

HJR 67 (Davis, D-East Hazel Crest) extends and adds a member from Chicago Public Schools to the School Success Task Force.

HOUSE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, April 25, 9 a.m., Room 114, State Capitol

HR 708 (Nybo, R-Lombard) designates the week of Jan. 22-28, 2012 as Illinois School Choice Week in the State of Illinois.

SB 638 (Steans, D-Chicago) makes changes to Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification procedures.    3-30

SB 639 (Delgado, D-Chicago) includes the rehabilitation of aging buildings to eligibility criteria for the School Construction Grant Program.

SB 3244 (Frerichs, D-Champaign) requires the ISBE to work with stakeholders to develop a model mathematics curriculum that must be available to school districts, though districts would not be required to implement the curriculum.

SB 3367 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) makes significant changes regarding drivers’ education.

SB 3374 (Holmes, D-Plainfield) , as amended, establishes the Enhanced Physical Education Task Force to promote and implement enhanced physical education programs that can be integrated with a broader wellness strategy and health curriculum in elementary and secondary schools.

SB 3410 (Silverstein, D-Chicago) codifies in statute what the IHSA protocol already requires regarding the school board policy on concussions and head injuries of student athletes.

SB 3415 (Garrett) requires all school officials, including teachers, guidance counselors, and support staff, to immediately notify the office of the principal if a student commits certain specified offenses.

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


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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