LEGISLATURE TO TAKE NEXT WEEK OFFThe Illinois legislature worked through a mostly quiet week in the Capitol. Lawmakers are not in session next week and will reconvene on Wednesday, March 18. There was limited floor action, but substantive committees met and slowly went through the bills assigned for hearings. Most legislative sponsors chose not to call their bills for a committee hearing this week.
As legislators will be in their district offices, next week will be a good time for school board members and administrators to contact them to voice opinions on the many bills that will be addressed in the final weeks of March.
BILLS APPROVED BY THE FULL CHAMBERThe following bills were approved by the House of Representatives and were sent to the Senate:
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 4306 (Harper, D-Chicago) disallows charter schools from using an employee to conduct an independent audit of the charter school’s finances.
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.
The following bills were approved by the Senate and were sent to the House:
SB 2937 (McConchie, R-Lake Zurich) provides that a guidance counselor may not intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source.
SB 3027 (Didech, D-Buffalo Grove), under the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), allows a member to establish optional credit for up to two years of services as a private school teacher or administrator if he./she applies in writing on or before June 30, 2021. The person must also have at least 10 years of service in TRS.
BILLS APPROVED BY COMMITTEES THIS WEEKThe following bills were approved by a committee and moved to the chamber floor:
SB 452 (J. Morrison, D-Deerfield) requires agencies providing early intervention services to notify the school district when a child eligible for Part B of IDEA reaches his/her third birthday.
SB 2510 (Rezin, R-Morris) adds forensic speech to the music, art, foreign language, or vocational education elective that is a prerequisite to receive a high school diploma.
SB 2800 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) increases the income tax credit from $500 to $1000 for taxpayers seeking credit for student-assistance contributions.
SB 2932 (J. Morrison, D-Deerfield) requires the Department of Agriculture to adopt rules necessary to evaluate pesticide drift at three schools within the State and submit a report. It also prohibits applying pesticides on or within 500 feet of a school during normal hours except for whole structure fumigation.
SB 3540 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) transfers the administration of the Golden Apple Scholars Program from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to the State Board of Education (ISBE).
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 4690 (Keicher, R-Sycamore) allows students who will be dislocated because of parental military service to enroll in a school district up to six months prior to residency (instead of 60 days) without paying tuition.
HB 4783 (West, D-Rockford) prohibits the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) member schools from using Native American logos or mascots. The sponsor stated that further amendments are forthcoming on this bill.
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 adds to the School Code specific curriculum items that must be addressed in Black History studies.