GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESUMES WORK AFTER SPRING BREAKThe Illinois House and Senate will be continuing action on bills as they schedule committee hearings and floor action beginning Monday, April 12. In previous years, the legislative spring break was marked with little legislative work while members returned to their districts and carried out local area constituent services and needs. This year’s spring break didn’t feel much different than previous session weeks for lawmakers because many remote committee hearings were held to explore subject matter on issues and legislative redistricting conversations.
The House will be meeting in session in Springfield for floor action on bills as its committee deadline was March 26. The Senate will be spending the majority of its time next week in committee hearings as its committee deadline was extended to Friday, April 16. With the General Assembly in the final eight weeks of legislative session, legislators will need guidance on the impact of legislation and budgetary matters impacting your schools. We hope you will stay connected.
HOUSE BILL 7 STILL IN PLAYHouse Bill 7 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan), the legislation to force school district consolidation across Illinois, will now be taken up on the House floor for a vote. The bill must be defeated prior to the House third reading deadline, April 23, so please act now. Thousands of school leaders have been responding to our calls-to-action and we still need your help. While you have registered your opposition with the House Education Committee members, now is the time to contact your representative. Use this Call to Action to identify your State Representative and send them a message. Below are some talking points that can be used to communicate your opposition. Specific information related to your school district and community is most impactful.
Proponents of House Bill 7 are sharing misinformation about the process and impact of the bill. These talking points provide references to the bill and other resources to help legislators better understand the impact of this legislation. The bill:
- Mandates a newly created “School District Efficiency Commission” to identify 25% (approximately 210 school districts) where a referendum to consolidate is required to be held at the next November General Election. (Page 38, lines 20-26)
- Requires the statewide Commission to specify the ballot question defining the school district boundaries and maximum tax rates the newly consolidated school districts may levy. (Page 39, lines 1-11)
- Prohibits school districts, mandated to hold the referendum to consolidate under this bill, to be eligible for state grants to offset consolidation costs. (page 1, lines 9-10)
- Requires the Regional Superintendent to approve the petition submitted by the Commission if it complies with ONLY Election Code ballot requirements. (Page 40, line 18 through Page 41, lines 1-15) AND eliminates the current standard for petitions to consolidate/reorganize.
- Local citizens are not involved in this process until Election Day, after a statewide Commission has decided their local school district boundaries and tax rates.
- Current law already provides for local citizens to lead the effort in consolidating their schools under 105 ILCS 5/11E-15.
- Consolidation of school districts creates new and increased costs with longer bus routes, building needs, staffing needs, etc. that surpass any savings realized by the elimination of a school administrator. Want more information about anticipated costs to consolidate? View the State Board of Education’s school district reorganization document.
- In 2012 The Classrooms First Commission refuted the argument that consolidation saves taxpayer dollars, concluding: “Then came the sticker shock: we found that merging separate elementary and high school districts into “unit” or P-12 districts – reducing 868 districts to a maximum of 300 – would cost the state at least $3 billion under current law.” The Commission’s finding confirmed that consolidation requires additional revenue to be successful.
IMPORTANT BILLS IMPACTING OUR SCHOOLSIASB Governmental Relations staff have been involved in negotiations on many issues over the break with the hope that amendments can be negotiated to make onerous legislative initiatives more workable for our schools. Many bills will need input from IASB and you for passage and defeat before the House and Senate third reading deadline scheduled for Friday, April 23.
HB 4 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan), an IASB Initiative, allows student instruction to be delivered electronically as an e-learning day when a school is required to be used as a polling place.
HB 21 (Scherer, D-Decatur) allows a school district to apply for a waiver to remove the cap on the number of days a retired teacher can substitute teach in the district that applies for the waiver without impacting the retirement status of the retired teacher.
HB 40 (Hurley, D-Chicago) provides that a student whose 22nd birthday occurs during the school year is eligible for special education services through the end of the school year.
HB 75 (Flowers, D-Chicago) requires school districts to calculate paid sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child allowing that the days do not have to be taken consecutively, immediately after birth or adoption, and disallows the district from counting any day in which school is not in session.
HB 156 (Hernandez, B., D-Aurora) requires school districts to make menstrual hygiene products in every bathroom of every school building.
HB 169 (Didech, D-Buffalo Grove) requires superintendents to develop and distribute information about absence for religious purposes, how the school should be notified by parents and the process for making up school work missed.
HB 219 (Carroll, D-Northbrook) requires Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to create a grant program for schools to implement school-wide behavioral interventions. Limits a school district’s use of time out and physical restraint used only under certain circumstances, provides for certain prohibitions and information provided to parents.
HB 234 (Hernandez, E., D-Cicero), as amended, provides that, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, every public high school shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on media literacy.
HB 816 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) provides that up to 30 days of paid sick leave days may be used by teachers for birth/adoption of a child, the days do not have to be taken consecutively and non-working days do not count.
HB 1736 (Willis, D-Northlake) mandates that a comprehensive, standards-based sex education course be taught pre-K through 12th grade including school disclosure, parental requests, and notice of program. Allows school districts to collaborate with public health departments to identify a point of contact for inquiries and comments about course instruction and materials.
HB 1874 (Davis, D-East Hazel Crest) an IASB Initiative, will make the usage of Short-Term Substitute Teaching Licenses permeant in teaching content-areas where teacher shortages exist.
HB 2421 (Didech) increases the trigger for contract bidding requirement from $25,000 to $50,000 and adds responsive or bidder determined to best meet the needs of the board as a standards.
HB 2828 (Caulkins, R-Decatur) lowers the lapsed teacher licensure fee from $500 to the lesser of $100 or $10 per year it's lapsed.
HB 3071 (Lilly, D-Chicago) provides that school districts providing sex education are required to deliver a standards-based evidence-informed curriculum.
HB 3149 (Mason, D-Gurnee) for energy conservation contracts, limits the period of time that guaranteed energy savings contracts can be in place from 20 years to eight years, would require regional superintendent approval, defines what “energy conservation measure” does NOT include, defines allowed energy operating costs, requires submission to the State Capitol Development Board Procurement Bulletin for publication, requires performance reviews every four years, and disallows any new or modified contracts after January 1, 2026, ending the program.
HB 3223 (Moeller, D-Elgin) allows a student who is a victim of gender-based violence to transfer schools immediately if the student’s continued attendance at the original school poses a risk to the student’s mental or physical well-being or safety. It also provides that a student’s disclosure of his/her status as a parent, expectant parent, or victim of gender-based violence be a mitigating circumstance in any suspension or expulsion proceeding. Many other requirements for school districts are also included affecting homebound instruction, student absences/truancy, staff training, review/revision of policies and procedures, complaint procedures, confidentiality, and student accommodations and services.
HB 3410 (Morrison, R-Palatine), under the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act, requires school districts to make available an extensive list of reports to also be provided to the State for inclusion in the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal.
HB 3573 (Bennett, R-Pontiac) allows school districts to use remote e-learning days for emergency days.
HB 3922 (Ford, D-Chicago) establishes Juneteenth National Freedom Day be observed as a school holiday.
SB1637 (Rezin, R-Morris) Provides that a school board shall, upon passage of a referendum after submission of a petition signed by no less than 8% of the school district's voters in the last consolidated election, may, by resolution, enter into a joint agreement with other school boards to share the services of a superintendent or other administrator.
SB1830 (Loughran Cappel, 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.
BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEKWatch or listen to Virtual Committee Hearings on the Illinois General Assembly website.
Tuesday, April 13, 1 p.m., Virtual Room 1
SB 517 (Loughran Cappel) adds public therapeutics programs to services that must be available to special education students.
SB 577 (Villanueva, D-Summit) requires any renewal of a charter for a charter school must include a union neutrality clause.
SB 605 (Collins, D-Chicago) sets forth the elements to be included in school district policies on absenteeism and truancy and requires annual notification to students and parents.
SB 673 (Collins), as amended, requires Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to provide funding for counselors and social workers to support mediation for Human Rights Act student bullying.
SB1784 (Murphy, D-Des Plaines) provides that each school district must allow a student-athlete to modify his or her athletic uniform for the purpose of modesty in clothing or attire that is in accordance with the requirements of his or her religion.
SB 1819 (Koehler, D-Peoria) creates a Rural Advisory Council to make policy recommendations regarding the needs, challenges and opportunities of rural school districts.
SB1830 (Loughran Cappel) 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 1989 (Joyce, D-Park Forest) extends the sunset date to 2023 allowing retired teachers to return to work up to 120 days or 600 hours per year without impairing retirement status.
SB2071 (Castro, D-Elgin) Provides that an applicant who has earned a master's degree in social work and holds a valid license may obtain a social worker endorsement on an Educator License.
SB2088 (Belt, D-Cahokia) Allows school districts to adopt a policy providing that if a student is suspended or expelled for any reason, the student must complete the entire term of the suspension or expulsion before being allowed to attend the school district in person.
SB 2091 (Belt) requires ISBE to collect certain student discipline data, including referrals and transfers to alternative schools, law enforcement and school-based arrests. It also sets forth provisions regarding school discipline improvement plans and for the ISBE to convene an Equitable and Restorative School Discipline Advisory Council.
SB 2109 (Villa, D-West Chicago) requires school board members and administrators to annually complete a course of instruction on the adoption of trauma-informed school standard.
SB 2296 (Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights) requires Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to create a grant program for schools to implement school-wide behavioral interventions. Limits a school district’s use of time out and physical restraint used only under certain circumstances, provides for certain prohibitions and information provided to parents.
Tuesday, April 13, 3:30 p.m., Virtual Room 2
SB 1981 (Fine, D-Glenview) requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to cooperate with school districts engaged in vocational rehabilitation services education for children with disabilities. Requires school districts to notify parents of eligible students of the services provided.
Senate Criminal Law
Tuesday, April 13, 5:45 p.m., Virtual Room 2
SB 2340 (Lightford, D-Hillside) provides that when a criminal sexual offense is committed by a school district employee or contracted employee, a copy of the criminal history record information related to the investigation shall be transmitted to the superintendent.
Wednesday, April 14, 10:00 a.m., Virtual Room 1
SB 2547 (Bush, D-Grayslake) requires school districts and other educational institutions to grant Family Medical Leave to employees who have been employed for 12 months and worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12-months.