March 26, 2019
COMMITTEE DEADLINES PROVIDE LITTLE CLARITY
The Senate last week met its deadline to move Senate bills out of committee and the House will meet its deadline this Friday. However, the deadlines are providing little clarity as to the issues that will be moving forward this legislative session due to the number of bills approved by committees. Ideally, the committee process is designed to be the first step in explaining legislation and making corrections to legislation before it moves forward. The recent trend, however, is a committee process where bills are called, acknowledged to be flawed, and then approved by the committee and moved to the respective House or Senate floor with an agreement to work out issues and then return to committee to consider the revised bill. This process leaves a significant amount of work for advocates to attempt to modify and improve legislation before final votes on the chamber floor.
SIGNIFICANT ISSUES STILL PENDING ACTION
As reported in the last IASB Legislative Alert, several key issues are being considered by the General Assembly. Details about the following bills can be found in the last here.
5 CLOCK HOURS MINIMUM
SB 28 is still pending on the Senate floor and is postured to be called for a vote at any time. The Senate will be spending a considerable amount of time on the Senate floor this week considering bills that have been approved by committees. Approval of SB 28 by the Senate would send the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration.
An amendment was added to the bill by the Senate Education Committee two weeks ago which did add some limited flexibility in a couple of specific areas. However, if enacted as is, it still pales in comparison to the current flexibility that local school districts enjoy in establishing school programs that cater to needs of students who do not flourish in traditional classes, programs, and time frames.
Therefore, IASB still opposes the legislation.
MINIMUM SALARY FOR TEACHERS
SB 10 and HB 2078 would increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year. SB 10, as it has for most of the month, is awaiting a final Senate vote on the chamber floor. It could be called for a vote at any time. HB 2078 was moved to 3 rd Reading in the House, which means that it is one vote away from being sent over to the Senate.
Though there has been discussions behind the scenes about revising the bill, no amendments have been filed at this time. IASB opposes the bills.
SB 1189 and HB 2234 would add stringent, new requirements for school district P.E. programs. SB 1189 was approved by the Senate Education Committee last week and is pending on the Senate floor. HB 2234 is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow morning in the House Elementary and Secondary - School Curriculum and Policies Committee.
School board members are urged to complete a committee witness slip to register opposition to the bill. Even if you have filed a slip before, to be registered for this week another witness slip must be filed. Mark “Oppose” and “Record of Appearance Only” on the slip.
SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION
SB 1838 and HB 3053 address forced school district consolidation. Each bill has been approved by committees and are pending on the floor of their respective chamber. IASB has been working with the bill sponsors to amend the bills to remove the arbitrary forced consolidation provisions. The bills also call for a task force to study the issue of school reorganization, shared services, and consolidation.
LEGISLATION SUPPORTED BY IASB
The following bills, supported by the IASB, are at various stages of the legislative process:
HB 256 removes the requirement that student teachers videotape themselves or students in a classroom setting in order to be licensed.
HB 258/HB 809, among many charter school law changes, remove provisions allowing the State Charter School Commission to reverse a school board’s decision to deny, revoke, or not renew a charter.
HB 350 increases the three percent cap on end of service salary increases, without additional contribution of employers, to six percent.
HB 821 is an Alliance initiative addressing the problem of school districts being penalized for the under levy of property taxes under PTELL.
HB 1472 extends from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2021, the flexibility to allow a teacher to return to teaching in subject shortage areas without impairing his or her retirement status.
HB 2056 allows a teacher licensure applicant who fails the test of basic skills the first time to complete a full school year of student teaching or of an internship instead of being required to pass the test.
HB 2485 allows a school board to publish a notice that the district's annual statement of affairs is available on the ISBE website and in the district's main administrative office, instead of requiring a summary of the statement of affairs to be published in a newspaper.
HB 2932 provides that an applicant seeking a Professional Educator License or an Educator License with Stipulations who holds a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education is not required to pass a test of basic skills.
SB 1712, an IASB initiative, exempts from disclosure a public body's credit card numbers, debit card numbers, bank account numbers, Federal Employer Identification Number, security code numbers, passwords, and similar account information.
SB 1952 would repeal the three percent limit on end-of-service salary increases cap and return it to six percent; eliminate the basic skills test requirements for incoming teachers, and remove the prohibition to allow student teachers to be paid.
OTHER LEGISLATION TO BE AWARE OF
The following bills, opposed by the IASB, have been approved by committees and are awaiting votes on the chamber floors:
HB 246 requires schools to teach about the diversity of our society, including the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society.
HB 921 provides that if an educational support personnel (ESP) employee is dismissed as a result of a Reduction In Force (RIF) and the employee accepts re-employment with the same district, the employee maintains any rights accrued during the previous service with the school district.
HB 922 requires school districts to provide feminine hygiene products in all restrooms of the district free of charge.
HB 2265 requires every public elementary school to include in its 6th, 7th, or 8th grade curriculum at least one semester of civics education.
HB 2627 disallows a student to be questioned or detained at a school site in connection with criminal charges or allegations, taken into custody, or engaged with law enforcement without a parent, school social worker, or mental health professional.
HB 3606 would add burdensome new requirements regarding student data privacy which would hinder both local school districts and students. It also adds criminal penalties for teachers regarding violations of the privacy provisions.
SB 1213 provides that all teacher evaluation ratings on record as "excellent," "proficient," or "needs improvement" are considered "effective" and all teacher evaluation ratings on record as "unsatisfactory" are considered “ineffective.”
SB 1287 requires a school board to, upon passage of a referendum after submission of a petition signed by no less than five percent of the school district's voters in the last consolidated election, enter into a joint agreement with other school boards to share the services of a superintendent or other administrator.
SB 1601, with regard to the instruction on history of the United States, requires that the course must also include instruction on the history of Illinois.
SB 1642 requires the curriculum of a driver education course to include instruction on bicycle and pedestrian safety, which must include, but is not limited to, instruction on how to safely pass a cyclist on the road.
SB 1694 requires each pupil entering the 9th grade to successfully complete one year of workplace preparation studies that cover legal protections in the workplace, including protection against sexual harassment and racial and other forms of discrimination and other protections for employees.
SB 2075 lowers the compulsory school age from six to five years of age and requires all school districts to establish kindergarten for the instruction of children who are five years of age or older.