LEGISLATURE AT A STANDSTILLThe Illinois General Assembly has cancelled all legislative sessions since the first week of March. There is no set date regarding when lawmakers might return. Because of the state-of-emergency declared in Illinois due to the coronavirus, it is unlikely that any type of "normal" session will be conducted this spring. Most likely, legislators will return at some point to meet in an abbreviated session to take action on those emergency matters that must be addressed. These could include: a temporary Fiscal Year 2021 budget that enables funds to flow for state programs, including school funding; appropriations-related matters that allow state-access to federal funds; unemployment insurance amendments to address emergency provisions due to the order for businesses to close throughout the state; and clarifying statutory language regarding school district employment issues because of school closures.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is soon expected to announce new guidance for school districts regarding school staff employment, e-learning/remote learning procedures, teacher evaluations, and other items. These issues will likely be followed up by legislation at some point when the legislature returns.
Along with these written IASB Legislative Reports, the IASB Governmental Relations staff have been producing up-to-date video messages on emerging legislative issues. If you are interested in keeping current with a variety of topics discussed by our Governmental Relations team, you can view the Legislative Updates playlist on YouTube. IASB has also been sending regular emails to school board members to provide the latest updates for school boards to cope with these unprecedented times. A series of webinars are also being prepared for school board members. Please visit the IASB website to access this information.
Also recently made available to school board members was a communiqué about possible federal changes in the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to allow school districts more flexibility while schools are closed. This message included resources for school districts regarding discounted access to internet service and other technology, and addressed using school buses for student meal delivery.