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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 98-12

Distributed via Email: April 12, 2013

LEGISLATIVE ACTION IN FULL SWING

Legislative Spring Break has come to a close and action has picked up in earnest on the House and Senate Floor. The House returned to Springfield on Monday, April 8 th and began moving House Bills through its chamber. Wednesday, April 10 th, saw the Senate return to legislative action. With pending deadline in the House (April 19 th) and the Senate (April 25 th) to get substantive bills out of their chamber of origin, the majority of the next two weeks will be spent passing bills over to the other side of the rotunda. Please keep an eye on your inbox, as there are several issues that will require action! The Alliance can help shape legislation in Springfield by making our voices heard.

LATE BREAKING NEWS!
ISBE FILE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER REMOVAL LEGISLATION!

The ALR 98-11 outlined some of the provisions being sought by the ISBE to facilitate school district takeovers and removal of school board members. It seems that talks have stalled and they will not be making the changes proposed by the Alliance. You will be able to obtain a copy of the proposal as soon as the amendment is filed. SB 2340 (Steans, D-Chicago) is purported to be the legislation that will contain the egregious provisions. It will be heard in the Senate Education Committee at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16 th in Room 400 of the State Capitol.

Please contact your Senator, the members of the Senate Education Committee and Senator Heather Steans and express your opposition to this legislation!   As the legislation also will preclude the public from electing a school board it would be helpful to also ask community members to contact these senators as well.

Senate Education Committee Members:

Senator Willie Delgado (D), Chairman 217-782-5652 773-292-0202
Senator Kimberly Lightford (D), V-Chairperson 217-782-8505  
Senator David Luechtefeld, (R), Minority Spokesperson 217-782-8137 618-243-9014
Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D) 217-782-0052 815-254-4211
Senator Daniel Biss (D) 217-782-2119 847-568-1250
Senator Bill Cunningham (D) 217-782-5245 773-445-8128
Senator Iris Martinez (D) 217-782-8191 773-463-0720
Senator Julie Morrison (D) 217-782-3650 847-945-5200
Senator Michael Noland (D) 217-782-7746 847-214-8864
Senator Steve Stadelman (D) 217-782-8022 815-987-7557
Senator Jason Barickman (R) 217-782-6597 309-661-2788
Senator Karen McConnaughay (R) 217-782-1977 847-214-8245
Senator Sue Rezin (R) 217-782-3840 815-220-8720
Senator Chapin Rose (R) 217-558-1006 217-607-1853

A recap of some of the provisions include:

  • The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will have the authority to remove entire school boards and appoint an “Independent Authority” (IA) to take over operations of the school district if certain (non-specified) governance issues are present.
  • The “trigger” for removal of school boards would begin with the lowest 5% of school districts in student achievement (as determined by the ISBE). All such districts would be eligible for school board removal. Each of the school districts on the “5% list” would have to apply for full accreditation from an out-of-state, national organization (chosen by the ISBE). If the school district did not achieve full accreditation, the ISBE could remove the entire school board and appoint the IA.
  • It is not clear what the criteria or standards are that would be used by the accrediting organization – but they would not be linked to any current Illinois State law or expectation for Illinois school board members.
  • Upon removal of the school board and installation of the Independent Authority, the ISBE would “suspend” school board elections – taking away the right of the citizens of the community to elect a school board.
  • The Alliance opposes the notion of using a national accreditation organization to “grade” local school boards. The proposal predisposes that all school districts that are on the list of the “5% of lowest achievers” have school boards that are guilty of dysfunctional, unethical, or illegal governance practices and therefore must have to “prove their innocence” through an accreditation process or face removal from office.
  • The Alliance also opposes stripping the voting rights away from the residents of a school district.

PROPERTY TAX BILLS CONSIDERED BY HOUSE

The House of Representatives took action on bills this week that impact our local property tax revenue stream. S B 1894 (Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights) , that increases the Senior Citizens and General Homestead Exemptions passed the House and will be sent to the Governor for action. Contact the Governor and let him know how this loss of revenue will affect your schools.  

In addition, the Alliance and many other school and local government organizations worked to defeat HB 89 (Franks, D-Woodstock) , that would have; for school districts under PTELL, provided that 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 would be 0%.

HB 89 was soundly defeated in the House with a vote of 43-65-1. Take a minute to check out how your Representative voted and give them a call to thank them for their NO vote and ask them to do the same on HB 3041 (Kifowit, D-Aurora) another bill with similar provisions awaiting action by the House. If your Representative voted YES on HB 89 explain how the losses in local revenue will impact your schools and ask them to vote NO on HB 3041. THANK YOU for your help in making this HB 89’s defeat a reality!

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/98/house/09800HB0089_04122013_009000T.pdf

LEGISLATION PASSED ON TO SECOND CHAMBER

Most of the “major” issues (budget, pensions, same-sex marriage, and concealed carry) were not addressed this week, but many pieces of legislation that have an impact on local school districts were dealt with.

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

HB 3 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) extends the “sunset provision” by three years (from 2013 to 2016) that allows school districts to transfer monies from one fund to another. Alliance initiative

HB 189 (Cloonen, D-Kankakee) as amended, allows property tax rates to be calculated out to three decimal places and provides that the extension may not exceed the levy requested, after reductions required under PTELL are applied.

HB 983 (McSweeney, R-Cary) as amended, would require school districts except Chicago,   issuing alternate bonds to be subject to a backdoor referendum if a petition is filed within 45 days of publication of the notice. The bill also disallows a person involved in the project from providing the audit determining sufficiency of funds.

HB 1206 (Sente, D-Lincolnshire) provides that all property owned by the Executive Board of MABAS used for disaster preparedness and response for local governments be exempt from property taxes.

HB 1225 (Burke, D-Chicago) requires school districts to assure that all physical education teachers, trainers, coaches, and referees annually watch a training video on CPR and AEDs.

HB 1288 (Gabel, D-Evanston) requires the ISBE to adopt procedures that allow for written complaints with the ISBE alleging that a school district has violated the rights of one or more children with disabilities.

HB 1868 (Unes, R-Pekin) allows the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board to issue a provisional certificate valid for teaching in early childhood, elementary school, high school, or special subject fields, for providing services as school service personnel, or for administering schools.

HB 2428 (Conroy, D-Villa Park) requires the ISBE to establish a Task Force to study Civic Education.

HB 2691 (Harris, D., R-Mount Prospect) creates the offense of theft of public funds and provides that a person commits the offense when he or she embezzles, steals, purloins, obtains by fraud, or knowingly converts to his or her use or the use of another, or without authority sells, conveys, or disposes of, any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the State of Illinois, or of any unit of local government or school district.

HB 2755 (Brown, R-Champaign) in a Section that allows non-home rule municipalities to impose certain occupation and use taxes for expenditure on public infrastructure, amends the definition of "public infrastructure" to include public schools in the City of Shelbyville.

HB 2768 (Welch, D-Westchester) requires principals to utilize resources of proper law enforcement agencies when the safety and welfare of students and teachers are threatened by illegal use or possession of weapons or by illegal gang activity.

HB 3063 (Roth, R-Morris) provides that if a first-year principal evaluates teachers where the evaluation plan provides for a teacher in contractual continued service to be evaluated once in the course of every two school years, then a new 2-year evaluation plan must be established.

HB 3075 (Lang, D-Skokie) provides that the Department of Public Health, in consultation with the State Board of Education, shall establish an auditory-visual integration assessment pilot program in selected school districts in the northern region of the State, to be determined by the State Board of Education.

HB 3152 (Durkin, R-Western Springs) allows Lyons THSD 204 to withdraw from the authority of the Lyons trustees and township treasurer.

HB 3190 (Osmond, R-Gurnee) requires students entering 6 th and 12 th grades to be immunized for meningococcal conjugate.

The following bill was defeated by the House:

HB 310 (Ford, D-Chicago) creates a lottery scratch off for School Choice Scholarships, providing a private school voucher program with proceeds from the scratch off fund that would be directed toward the 20 regions where the most lottery tickets are sold. The bill failed on 3 rd reading with 13 voting aye, 92 voting nay and 3 voting present.

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

SB 1550 (Radogno, R-Lemont) amends the Children with Disabilities Article of the School Code with respect to transition services. It provides that the first individualized education plan for when a student turns age 14 1/2 must include measurable post-secondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments and other information available regarding the student that are related to independent living skills (instead of independent living skills where appropriate).

SB 1637 (Kotowski, D-Park Ridge) provides that at least 50% of any open space land grant made to a unit of local government under the Act must be paid to the unit of local government at the time the Department awards the grant.

SB 1703 (Haine, D-Alton) adds October 7 (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Remembrance Day) as a commemorative holiday.

SB 1845 (Mulroe, D-Chicago) allows for school social work to include services for establishing and delivering anti-bullying programs.

SB 1937 (Radogno, R-Lemont) states that the income of any person with a disability is not counted toward household income when calculating eligibility for a senior homestead exemption.

SB 2157 (Cunningham, D-Chicago) provides that, if requested, a school board is authorized to excuse a pupil from engaging in a physical education course if the pupil has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), is participating in an athletic program outside of the school setting, and documents such participation as determined by the school board.

SB 2199 (Frerichs, D-Champaign) removes a provision that prohibits a candidate for licensure from beginning an internship or residency required for licensure until he or she has passed the applicable content area test.

COMMITTEE ACTION THIS WEEK

With legislators spending most of their time this week in the House and Senate chambers, there was little work done in committees, much of which included amendments. Here are some bills that did pass out of committee and will now head to the floor:

HB 1404 (Biss, D- Skokie) requires surety bonds on public construction projects by any political subdivision of the State costing over $50,000 (now, over $5,000).

HB 2245 (Delgado, D-Chicago) provides that within one year of initial employment and at least every 5 years thereafter, school personnel required to report child abuse must complete mandated reporter training by a provider or agency with expertise in recognizing and reporting child abuse.

HB 3236 (Lilly,D-Chicago) provides that the Eradicate Domestic Violence Task Force shall submit a report to the General Assembly on or before April 1, 2014 (instead of on or before April 1, 2013).

APRIL 9, 2013 CONSOLIDATED ELECTION – REFERENDA RESULTS

Here’s a quick look at unofficial school referendum results. Generally voters approved five of 15 local school tax increases, two of 12 school bond issues, and six of 17 county sales tax proposals for school facilities on the April 9 ballot. That count is based on the Illinois State Board of Elections list of referendums on the consolidated election ballot.

  • School districts were successful with tax referenda for educational purposes in Auburn CUSD 10 ; Leland CUSD 1; Millburn CCSD 24; Wadsworth;  Somonauk CUSD 432; and Stewardson-Strasburg CUSD 5A.  The Auburn and Millburn propositions specifically called for increases in so-called tax cap limitations imposed under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).
  • Building bond issues were approved by voters in Hall THSD 502, Spring Valley; ($32 million in general obligation bonds to fund construction of a new high school building); and in THSD 113, Highland Park ($89 million in general obligation bonds for additions and renovations to high school buildings). The Spring Valley referendum passed by just three votes, however, on a count of 1,716 yes votes to 1,713 no votes.
  • The lone working cash bond issue on the ballot was defeated, namely the proposal in Herscher CUSD 2 ($3 million). All of the other bond issues were designed for the issuance of building bonds.
  • Of 17 countywide sales tax increase proposals earmarked for school facility purposes, voters approved six. Specifically, voters in Boone County approved a 1% boost in their county sales tax, as did the voters in Christian County, Douglas County, Henry County, Livingston County, and Mercer County.
    • Voters said no to imposing such school facilities sales taxes in: Crawford County, Lee County, Fulton County, Jersey County, LaSalle County, Marshall County, Ogle County, Randolph County, Tazewell County, Whiteside County, and Woodford County.
  • No fewer than three school district consolidation proposals appeared on the ballot, and two were approved. Voters said yes to the consolidation of East Coloma Elementary District 12 and Nelson Elementary District 8, located in portions of Lee and Whiteside Counties. Local voters also said yes to a consolidation to dissolve Atwood-Hammond CUSD 39 and annex it to Arthur CUSD 305. The expanded Arthur district, headquartered in Douglas County, will include territory in Champaign, Moultrie and Piatt counties. 
    • Narrowly defeated was a proposed consolidation of three districts in Hamilton and Jefferson Counties in southern Illinois. The proposition sought to combine Dodds CCSD 7, Ina CCSD 8, and Opdyke-Belle Rive CCSD 5. The referendum needed to pass by a majority vote in all three districts. It passed overwhelmingly in the Dodds and Ina districts, but fell just 17 votes short in the Opdyke-Belle Rive district.

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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