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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 99-21

Distributed via Email: May 15, 2015

DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE IN CAPITOL

As the legislature draws closer to its scheduled adjournment date (May 31), legislative leaders, budgeteers, and working groups formed by Governor Bruce Rauner have been meeting on the major issues: Fiscal Year 2016 budget, business law reforms, property taxes, and expanded gaming. Most of these discussions have been held behind closed doors, however the House Speaker Michael Madigan has brought several of the governor’s “ TurnAround Agenda” proposals to the House floor.

Last week the Speaker held a “Committee of the Whole” session to discuss workers’ compensation laws. This week he did the same with tort reform. These are all planks in the governor’s agenda, but with no legislation submitted on any of them, Speaker Madigan has decided to spur the conversations and, according to many observers, hijack the issues to be shown in a negative light.

Similarly, the House Revenue and Finance Committee earlier this week approved a series of bills that would freeze property taxes as proposed by the governor (see http://www.iasb.com/govrel/alr9920.cfm). An amendment to HB 695, which would freeze property tax extensions for all taxing bodies permanently, was called on the House floor Friday. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 37-23-38 and now the language is included in the bill. However, 37 votes is far short of the 60 votes that would be needed to pass the bill on the House floor and the bill was not called for a further vote this week.

The House Personnel and Pensions Committee met this week to hear from the governor’s office on Governor Rauner’s pension reform proposal. This plan would allow current state pension system participants to receive all of the pension benefits they have accrued thus far under the current defined benefit pension plan, but would place all of them into a 401K pension plan going forward from July 1. There was no bill so no vote was taken, but the majority of the panel seemed to voice concerns about this pension approach.

The tension level in the Capitol is on the rise and is undoubtedly going to go higher throughout the rest of the month.

SCHOOL FUNDING PROPOSALS DISCUSSED

At the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) meeting Thursday, board members discussed alternatives to how proration of General State Aid (GSA) is determined. For the past five fiscal years, ISBE has been forced to prorate GSA due to inadequate funding approved by the Illinois General Assembly. Under the current system, state aid cuts are prorated based on a school district's share of state aid. Thus, school districts more heavily reliant on state aid (districts with a lower property tax base and/or high poverty) absorb the majority of cuts.

The board discussed the concept of "capped per pupil cuts" as an alternative way of dealing with revenue shortfalls. Capped per pupil cuts would divide the revenue shortfall by the total number of students in the state to produce a level dollar cut per pupil. The loss to a district would be capped (or limited) to a certain percentage of the school district's overall expenditure per pupil based on an actuarial formula.

By way of an example, the governor's proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget would underfund GSA by $216.8 million, resulting in ISBE only being able to pay 95.7% of GSA claims. Under the capped per pupil formula (as opposed to the current proration formula), school districts would lose the lesser of 124.41 per pupil or 1.05% of their operating expenditure per pupil. Under this capped per pupil formula, 429 school districts would gain and 428 districts would lose, versus the currently used proration formula.

ISBE will vote on changing the current proration formula to the capped per pupil formula or a version of the capped per pupil formula at its June 17 board meeting. Approximately 30 school district superintendents attended the ISBE board meeting this week in support of a funding distribution change.

The House Task Force on School Funding also convened this week. There, school reform groups testified in support of a more comprehensive school funding distribution change such as SB 1 (similar to SB 16 from last session).

HOT BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

HB 152 (Willis, D-Addison), as amended to address Alliance concerns, requires schools to have carbon monoxide alarms or detectors located within 20 feet of   each carbon monoxide emitting device and allows the use of fire prevention and safety tax levy proceeds or bond proceeds to cover the costs. The bill was approved by the Senate Public Health Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 2683 (Davis, W., D-E. Hazel Crest) , as amended, contains the three components of the Vision 20/20 Differentiated Accountability Model. It requires that ISBE implement an out comes based, balanced accountability measure for local school districts. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 3159 (Gabel, D-Evanston) requires that school districts must report additional information to the ISBE with respect to children receiving a required dental examination. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 3428 (Sente, D-Lincolnshire) provides that a student who takes a College Board Advanced Placement examination and receives a score of three or higher is entitled to receive postsecondary level course credit at a public institution of higher education. The bill, supported by the Alliance, was approved by the Senate Higher Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor.

HB 4025 (Conroy, D-Villa Park) adds to high school graduation requirements at least one semester of civics education which must be separate and apart from United States History and American Government courses. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 82 (Sullivan, D-Rushville) is an Alliance initiative to facilitate school districts moving to at-large elections. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the governor for his consideration.

SB 100 (Lightford, D-Maywood) makes significant changes to student suspension and expulsion procedures and requires school districts to implement comprehensive new policies. The bill was amended to address Alliance concerns and removed many of the provisions limiting school district authority. The bill was approved by the House Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 672 (Lightford) adds the subjects of consumer debt, student loans, and identity-theft security to the list of subjects that are required to be included in the financial literacy component of consumer education. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the governor for his consideration.

SB 1455 (Delgado, D-Chicago) ,as amended, provides that one of the state assessments for high school students required by the State shall include tests in the areas of English language arts, reading, mathematics, and science for the purpose of student application or admissions to public institutions of higher education. The bill was approved by the House Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 1793 (Hastings, D-Matteson) , as amended , requires ISBE to develop a model youth suicide awareness and prevention policy that includes certain components that school districts are required to adopt in a policy on suicide awareness beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. The bill was approved by the House Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

OTHER BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

HB 165 (Flowers, D-Chicago) , as amended, allows students in the public schools to voluntarily engage in individual or collective initiated, non-disruptive prayer or religious-based meetings during non-instructional time. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 226 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) increases the debt limit for Sandoval Community Unit School District 501. The bill was approved by the Senate and will be sent to the governor for consideration.

HB 806 (Golar, D-Chicago) allow s a student enrolled in grade 7 or 8 to enroll in a course offered by the high school but taken where the student attends school, provided that the teacher holds a professional educator license endorsed for the grade level and content area of the course. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB 2781 (Fortner, R-West Chicago) , as amended, requires ISBE to implement a pilot program for up to three school districts to adopt a program for e-learning that shall permit students to receive instruction electronically, and not while physically present at school. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HB 3093 (Durkin, R-Burr Ridge) ,as amended, allows any high school district eligible for Federal Impact Aid whose territory is in two counties, to make a one-time declaration as to interest income not previously declared from 1998 thru 2011 in the debt service fund, prior to June 30, 2016. The bill was approved by the Senate Executive Committeeand was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB 3197 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) , as amended, creates the Attendance Commission within ISBE to study chronic absenteeism and make recommendations for strategies to prevent chronic absenteeism. IASB, IASA, and IPA will each have a representative on the Commission. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for consideration.

HB 3445 (DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights) provides that if there is no newspaper which is published in the unit of local government or school district, notice may also be published in newspaper published in an adjacent county to the unit or school district (rather than just the county in which the unit or school district is located).  The bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 220 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) as amended,provides that all positions within the Illinois School for the Deaf and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired requiring licensure by the ISBE under the School Code are exempt from jurisdictions A, B, and C. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

SB 226 (Lightford) , as amended, requires the Department of Human Services and ISBE to develop and implement a training program designed to screen and register kids for the Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) waiting list for services, subject to appropriation. The bill was approved by the Senate and was sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

SB 792 (Bush, D-Grayslake) , as amended, provides that if a taxing district maintains a website, the truth in taxation notice shall be published on the website in addition to a newspaper of general circulation. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 936 (Rezin, R-Peru) , as amended, extends the Ottawa Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to 35 years. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 1319 (Martinez, D-Chicago) deletes obsolete language from the School Code. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the governor for his consideration.

SB 1393 (Bennett, D-Champaign) , as amended, requires ISBE to annually confer with the Illinois Community College Board to identify industries and occupations that face workforce shortages and   notify school districts of these identified industries and occupations. ISBE would also award incentive grants to school districts for each pupil in the school district who obtained a diploma if the school district has an industry-recognized certification program. The bill was approved by the House Higher Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 1410 (Mulroe, D-Chicago) , as amended, provides that children of parents or legal guardians who object to health, dental, or eye examinations, immunizations, or to vision and hearing screening tests on religious grounds shall not be required to undergo the examinations if they present to the local school authority a signed Certificate of Religious Exemption detailing the grounds for objection and the specific immunizations, tests, or examinations to which they object. The bill was approved by the House Human Services Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 1714 (Rose, R-Champaign) extends the Arcola-Paris TIF district to 35 years. The bill was approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SB 1885 (Manar), as amended, includes highways on public school property in the classification of non-designated highways. The bill was amended and approved by the House Transportation Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

SJR 21 (Sullivan, D-Rushville) extends the deadline to 9/1/2015 for the Teacher Recruiting and Retention Task Force. The resolution was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

HJR 36 (Chapa LaVia), as amended, creates the Bilingual Advisory Task Force which includes representation by the IPA. The resolution was approved by the Senate Education Committee and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration.

This legislative report was 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.

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


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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