COMMITTEES MOVE SLOWLY DESPITE WORKLOADLegislative committees in the Capitol convened this week, but considered only a fraction of the bills scheduled for hearings. Even though there are hundreds of bills assigned for committee action, sponsors seemed content with putting their hearing off for another day. There are three legislative weeks left before the deadline to have bills considered in committee, but waiting only causes a chaotic committee process later that eventually results in impactful bills being rushed through the process without due consideration, testimony, or debate.
The House of Representatives did approve one bill and sent it over to the Senate. HB 4007 (West, D-Rockford) provides that sex education course material and instruction for grades 6-12 must include discussion on sexting. Current laws regarding bullying policies and internet safety education already address this issue. IASB provided the sponsor with amendatory language that would meet his objective without creating a new curricular mandate, but thus far that language has not been added to the bill.
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION TASK FORCE REPORTThe School Construction Task Force met on Wednesday for the final time and voted unanimously to approve the final report. The final report will reportedly include the following provisions
- Any new funding will be for construction grants going forward. No prior approvals or lists will be carried over.
- All districts must apply each year if interested.
- Applications will only be accepted if an appropriation to fund the grants is made.
- Criteria from past grant appropriations will remain unchanged (as set in 105 ILCS 230/5-30), except the estimated state/local share will be calculated based on the district’s Local Capacity Percentage as determined in the Evidence-Based Funding formula.
- Nothing in the report will specifically remedy the difficulty Fiscal Year 2004 construction grant applicants have faced, except the Task Force is expected to include in its final recommendations a small way to help those districts by allowing those districts to use expenditures made for those projects as the match for any current need. That provision will only be allowed in the first year grants are made.
More clarification on the process is being sought and will be shared as it is received. The final report will be posted on the Illinois State Board of Education website, by the end of the day on March 1.
BILLS APPROVED BY COMMITTEES THIS WEEKSB 2474 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) provides that a course in financial literacy may be taken towards the fulfillment of the mathematics requirement that each pupil entering the 9th grade must successfully complete to receive a high school diploma.
SB 2478 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) extends by two more years (until June 30, 2022), the provision that allows a retired teacher to substitute teach for 120 days per year, instead of 100 days.
SB 3222 (S. Bennett, D-Champaign) allows parents of students to exempt their children from participation in a law enforcement drill.
SB 3238 (McConchie, R-Lake Zurich) requires a public school to provide to the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy all information necessary for the public schools students to apply to the Academy.
SB 3231 (Koehler, D-Peoria), an Alliance initiative, cleans up language that was enacted last year regarding exempting from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) certain records to protect from identity theft or impersonation.
HB 4011 (Didech, D-Buffalo Grove) requires superintendents to develop and distribute information about student absence for religious purposes, how the school should be notified by parents, and the process for making up school work missed.
HB 4103 (Hoffman, D-Belleville) requires each school board to appoint at least one employee to act as a liaison to facilitate enrollment and transfer of records of students in the legal custody of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
HB 4417 (DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights) requires a school board to hold three consecutive monthly public hearings when a district is determining whether a site or building has become unnecessary, unsuitable, or inconvenient.
HB 4510 (Scherer, D-Decatur) provides that no later than September 1, 2020, each school district must establish a teacher evaluation plan that ensures that each teacher in contractual continued service whose performance is rated as either "excellent" or "proficient" is evaluated at least once in the course of the three school years after receipt of the rating and informally evaluated at least once in the course of the two school years after receipt of the rating.
BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEKAPPROPRIATIONS – ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 3, 2:00 p.m., Room D-1, Stratton Office Building
Subject Matter Hearing: Principal & Teacher Mentoring, Early Childhood Education, Community and Residential Service Authority, Teach for America, Southwest Organizing Project, Special Education and Little Angels.
HOUSE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 3, 3:00 p.m., Room C-1, Stratton Office Building
HB 19 (Flowers, D-Chicago) establishes a Community Bank of Illinois wherein all state funds would be deposited, including “funds of all state penal, educational, and industrial institutions”.
HOUSE JUDICIARY-CIVIL CRIMINAL COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 3, 3:00 p.m., Room 118, State Capitol
HB 3971 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) prohibits a school student from being prosecuted for mob action if the event occurred on the grounds of the school during regular school hours.
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 3, 1:00 p.m., Room 212, State Capitol
SB 2977 (Brady, R-Bloomington), by the 2022-2023 school year, requires each school board to enter into a contract with at least one community college to establish a collegiate high school program for awarding associates degrees to high school students.
SB 3505 (Villanueva, D-Summit), for charter schools, provides that any charter school proposal or renewal must include a union neutrality clause.
SB 3540 (Manar) transfers the administration of the Golden Apple Scholars Program from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
SENATE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 3, 3:00 p.m., Room 409, State Capitol
SB 2520 (Aquino, D-Chicago) requires the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) to administer a school-based dental program to deliver preventative dental services in school settings to children under 19 years. It also disallows the school from charging a provider to participate in the school based dental program.
HOUSE ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION – SCHOOL CURRICULUM & POLICIES COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 4, 10:00 a.m., Room 413, Stratton Office Building
HB 3973 (Wheeler, R-N. Aurora) allows a private special education facility to receive payment from the school district responsible for a student’s special education services monthly, prior to provision of special education services. It also requires the special education facility to refund any tuition payments for days the facility was in noncompliance with special education rules.
HB 4406 (Parkhurst, R-Kankakee) requires school districts to screen K-2nd grade students for the risk factors of dyslexia using a universal screener approved by ISBE.
HB 4690 (Keicher, R-Sycamore) allows students who will be dislocated because of parental military service to enroll and remain in a school district for six months (instead of 60 days) without paying tuition.
HB 4783 (West) prohibits IHSA member schools from using Native American logos or mascots.
HB 4870 (Gabel, D-Evanston) requires students entering 6th grade to be vaccinated with the human papillomavirus (HPV).
HB 4954 (Ford, D-Chicago) adds three additional commemorative school holidays: Humanitarian Day (January 15); Victims of Violence Wholly Day (April 4); and Dream Day (August 28). It also requires the study of American civil rights as a part of United States history.
HOUSE ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION – ADMINISTRATION, LICENSING & SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 4, 2:00 p.m., Room 115, State Capitol
HB 4382 (Caulkins, R-Decatur) provides for the reinstatement of a lapsed Professional Educator License upon the payment of the lesser of $100 penalty or $10 per year of lapsed license rather than $500.
HB 5286 (Swanson, R-Woodhull) allows a school district seeking to employ a substitute teacher to use criminal history background information in the Educator Licensure Information System rather than initiating its own background check.