ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS SPRING SESSIONBoth chambers of the Illinois General Assembly are meeting this week for the first time in 2020. Not only are legislators back in Springfield, but Governor JB Pritzker is also scheduled to give his State of the State on Wednesday, January 29. The joint session of the General Assembly will hear about the fiscal condition of Illinois, as well as the governor's vision for the state moving forward. The governor will present a more detailed fiscal plan to the General Assembly during his budget address scheduled for February 19.
While the governor's State of the State address might get much of the attention this week, there are still many important issues to be addressed in both legislation and in administrative rules. Late last year, the media coverage on the use of time outs and seclusion in schools prompted emergency rule making from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). While that emergency rule making is still in place until the spring, ISBE has proposed permanent rules on the use of time out and isolation in schools. School districts are encouraged to take a look at the proposed permanent rules and determine if there are changes that need to be recommended. To comment on the rules, members can email ISBE at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments on rules are due by February 3. While the rule making is important to determining the final outcome on time out and restraint, there are also several pieces of legislation that are being discussed.
The School Construction Task Force has been meeting to review and recommend changes to the School Construction Grant Program. The Task Force report is due to the General Assembly on March 1, 2020. The list of criteria for awarding school construction grant dollars is still being discussed among the task force members. Now is the time to contact legislators and let them know what factors your school district would like to see considered for distributing school construction grant funding.
One of the most anticipated task force reports has missed its December 31, 2019 due date. The Property Tax Relief Task Force met throughout the summer and fall considering many ideas to address property taxes in Illinois. As with most issues discussed amongst lawmakers, some of the proposed ideas would be positive for school districts and some would be very costly. While there has been a task force draft report discussed in the media, there has been no official report filed. The task force report and the potential impacts of the suggestions contained in the report will be shared with members once available. To review the Task Force points of discussion, click here.
As always, IASB needs your help in facing the legislative challenges that are sure to come this spring. Stay engaged with IASB and the Statewide School Management Alliance by reading our Alliance Legislative Reports, by following us on Facebook and Twitter, and by subscribing to our YouTube page.