Alliance Legislative Report 97-48
Distributed via Email: April 27, 2012
The Illinois General Assembly completed its work for the month of April and will head into the final scheduled month of the spring legislative session. The adjournment date is set for May 31, though Governor Pat Quinn has been warning legislators that if the necessary work is not completed at that time – including Medicaid and pension reform – lawmakers should be ready to spend the summer in Springfield.
The legislature will return to the Capitol on Tuesday, May 1, and is scheduled to be in session most every day of the month. The workload for lawmakers is substantial, with the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, Medicaid cuts and pension reform top on the “to do list”. No notable progress was made this week on pension reform or the Fiscal Year 2013 state budget. An overview of and talking points on the major pending issues can be found here.
TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENT FORMULA AMENDMENT
As previously reported in the Alliance Legislative Report, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has been working on a new transportation reimbursement formula. The new proposal emerged this week as Senate Amendment #1 to HB 5825. The amendment will likely have a hearing in the Senate Education Committee next week. The bill:
- Eliminates the mandate that districts provide transportation for students
- Establishes a new reimbursement formula based on the greater benefit between a statewide per mile or average per pupil transported amount, beginning with school year 2012-2013
- Includes a provision that uses an offset that factors in a district’s local property wealth
- Contains a two year hold harmless provision that would allow school districts that would otherwise see a cut in transportation reimbursement because of the new formula, to receive at least 50% of its previous reimbursement amount for FY 2014 and 25% of that amount in FY 2015. Beginning in FY 2016, districts would be reimbursed solely based on the new formula.
- Explicitly allows school districts to charge students for transportation to school. Fees must be waived for students eligible for free lunch or breakfast (but not reduced lunch-eligible students)
- Eliminates reimbursement for the depreciation of all vehicles other than yellow school buses
- Eliminates transportation reimbursement flat grant funding to school districts
- Increases the permissive transportation tax levy for unit districts from .20% to .24%
- Continues the reimbursement for transporting pupils through hazardous areas as determined by the Illinois Department of Transportation
The text of the amendment can be found here.
PROPERTY TAX LEGISLATION MOVING AGAIN
A bill that would limit taxing districts which are in counties under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to zero revenue growth if property values are declining overall could be considered in the Senate Revenue Committee next week. Specifically in SB 2862 (Sandoval, D-Chicago) , if the total equalized assessed value (EAV) of all taxable property in the taxing district for the current levy year is less than the total EAV of all taxable property in the taxing district for the previous levy year, then the extension limitation is (a) 0% or (b) the rate of increase approved by voters.
The bill is identical to SB 2073 which was approved by the House of Representatives in February. The Senate Revenue Committee will meet on Wednesday at 3:00 in Room 400 of the State Capitol. Please contact the members of the Senate Revenue Committee and urge them to vote no. Committee members can be found here.
LAWMAKERS CONTINUE TO ADD NEW MANDATES
Inexplicably, in a year that will likely result in K-12 education seeing a cut in the foundation level as much as $500 per pupil, the possible elimination of transportation reimbursement funding, and a new pension cost as the state shifts its obligations onto local school districts, many legislators want to add more requirements onto local boards of education and administrators. The School Management Alliance has been taking the lead in opposing legislation with new mandates on school districts.
This week the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee approved SB 3367 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) regarding drivers’ education (please refer to the last Alliance Legislative Report for an overview of the bill here).
Meanwhile, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill that will require schools to provide daily recess in grades K-5 for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. SB 636 is sponsored by Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood).
The Alliance was the only education organization to oppose these two bills.
These two examples of unnecessary over-regulation join other pieces of legislation with new mandates such as: HB 5114 which will require schools to show a video to junior high students on using CPR and how to use an AED; HB 5290 on adopting new bullying policies; and HB 5013 on releasing information about student immunizations.
A couple of bills were amended to eliminate the mandate and establish a task force to study the issue. SB 3244originally required an additional year of math in high school but was amended to establish a panel of education stakeholders to help ISBE establish a model math curriculum for use by high schools. SB 3259 originally raised the compulsory school attendance age to 18 years old but was amended to create a commission to study how to improved high school graduation rates.
When talking with your state legislators, urge them to vote no on any legislation that contains new requirements for school districts in this time of budget uncertainty.
BILL APPROVED ON FIRST/LAST DAYS OF SCHOOL
The House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that will prohibit shortened days of school on the first and last days of the school year. 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 if preceded by a day or days utilized as an institute or teachers' workshop.
The bill will be sent to the governor for his consideration. If he signs it into law, the effective date will be June 30, 2013. This, then, would apply first in the 2013-2014 school year.
OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTION THIS WEEK
HB 3806 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) changes the definition of “chronic truant” in the Juvenile Court Act to be identical to the definition in the School Code. The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.
HB 4602 (Burke, K., D-Oak Lawn) makes changes regarding bonds for Ridgeland School District 122. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.
HB 5013 (Gabel, D-Waukegan) 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 by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.
HB 5689 (Lilly, D-Chicago) creates the Eradicate Domestic Violence Task Force to develop a statewide “effective and feasible” prevention course for high school students. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.
SB 636 (Lightford) requires all schools to provide daily recess, for at least 20 minutes, for all students in grades kindergarten through 5. “Recess shall include unstructured play” and “if the principal determines that the weather is inclement, then the principal shall direct that recess be held indoors”. The bill, opposed only by the Alliance, was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.
SB 638 (Steans, D-Chicago) makes changes to Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification procedures. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.
SB 639 (Delgado, D-Chicago) includes the rehabilitation of aging buildings to eligibility criteria for the School Construction Grant Program. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.
SB 3244 (Frerichs, D-Champaign) requires 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. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.
SB 3367 (Garrett) makes significant changes regarding drivers’ education. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.
SB 3393 (Steans) 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 of Representatives and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.
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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