IASB Legislative Report 102-19

Delivered via email: June 1, 2021

General Assembly Ends Spring Session

The Illinois General Assembly’s steady march to adjournment of the spring legislative session is mostly complete with the adoption of a budget and a plan to implement that budget. While the budget is almost always reserved for the final day of session, there were also numerous bills introduced in the waning hours that will have a major impact on school districts.

Better than expected tax revenues and a funding infusion from the federal government has led to an Illinois spending plan for Fiscal Year 2022 that adds $350 million to Evidence Based Funding (EBF). Just a few months ago, the required investment into EBF was not guaranteed, as Governor JB Pritzker’s introduced budget did not include new money for EBF. However, members of the General Assembly have remained committed to funding EBF and made good on that commitment by passing a budget with the required funding.

One of the more controversial areas of the budget package is the closure of tax “loopholes.” The General Assembly hopes to generate over $600 million in additional revenue from changing tax laws to recapture funds.

The FY 22 budget also pays down debt, another sign that the fiscal condition of the State of Illinois is better than most would have predicted just a few months ago. The spending package pays down $2 billion in debt, saving around $100 million in interest fees.

As usual, the budget was accompanied by a budget implementation plan (BIMP) that will also make impactful changes for school districts and school employees. The BIMP paves the way for schools to be reimbursed for certain online courses, allows the Illinois State Board of Education to delay school report cards, and makes changes to TRS rules regarding end of career raises over 6% — anticipating a possible outcome of re-establishing non-teaching duty payments for teachers after the pandemic that may exceed the 6% cap and trigger penalty payments.

Not only were budget issues addressed, but there were also major changes passed on addressing elected official ethics and elections. The most notable changes to Illinois elections will be moving the General Primary date from March 2022 to June 28, 2022 and mandating a school holiday on November 8, 2022, General Election Day. The governmental ethics legislation changes were made to economic disclosures as well as addressing the issue of state lawmakers also working as lobbyists. While these initiatives included many provisions beyond what is covered here, they were not the only important issues addressed.

Below is a list of bills passed by both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly since our last report on May 28.

Passed Both Houses

HB 4 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) permits student instruction to be received electronically under a school district's program for e-learning days while students are not physically present because a school was selected to be a polling place under the Election Code. Also adds that a school district shall pay to its contractors who provide educational support services to the district their daily, regular rate of pay or billings rendered for any e-learning day that is used because a school was selected to be a polling place.

HB 41 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) requires Illinois school districts to offer parents of special education students special education services provided by in-state facilities providing comparable services to out-of-state facilities. Also requires the school district to annually review out-of-state placement and offer in-state placement.

HB 156 (Hernandez, B., D-Aurora) provides that menstrual hygiene products shall be made available in bathrooms of every school building that are open for student use in grades 4 through 12.

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 timeout and physical restraint used only under certain circumstances, disallows certain restraint at the end of 2021-2022 school year, provides for certain prohibitions and information provided to parents.

HB 577 (LaPointe, D-Chicago) establishes a list of factors deemed to put students at risk of suicide in the section requiring school districts to have a policy on youth suicide awareness and prevention.

HB 816 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) rewrites parental leave of absence for birth or adoption of a child and allows paid sick leave to be used for up to 30 days of leave also providing 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 2438 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) adds number of teachers who are National Board Certified Teachers, disaggregated by race and ethnicity to Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) school report cards.

HB 2521 (Gonzalez, D-Summit) allows electronic signature and communication for labor to show interest in a labor organization petition and requires that showing of interest must occur within 12 months of petition filing. Also allows electronic secret ballot election in addition to paper ballot voting systems. Creates an unfair labor practice for employers to take any action for an employee’s participation in a lawful strike.

HB 2569 (Windhorst, R-Harrisburg) extends the provision allowing retired teachers to return to teaching without penalty until June 30, 2024. It also requires schools to post vacancies on the district’s website and in an online database. It also allows for a substitute teacher under this section to extend the 90 day period if they were ill after they were hired as a long-term substitute teacher.

HB 3202 (Mason, D-Gurnee) adds e-cigarettes and other vapor devices as an education area under Comprehensive Health Education Program.

HB 3461 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) provides that the school district shall include in its policy and any relevant training materials a definition of prohibited grooming behaviors and boundary violations for school personnel and how to report these behaviors.

HB 3906 (Davis, D-East Hazel Crest) allows Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to determine the location of a parent of a student is unknown after considering information from a school district or special education facility providing services to the student.

HB 3950 (LaPointe) requires community colleges to develop a plan to offer dual credit courses to high school students with disabilities enrolled in school districts located within the community college district. It also defines independent living skills for student transition services, requires school districts to share information about the school district’s career and technical education opportunities (CTE), and requires school districts and community colleges to modify the dual credit plan to ensure access for students with disabilities with programs/supplementary aids/accommodations provided for in the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

SB 508 (Hastings, D-Frankfort), the omnibus property taxation bill that also provides that a taxing district's aggregate extension base shall be adjusted whenever an assessment increase or decrease due to the issuance of a certificate of error, a decision of the board of review, or a decision of the Property Tax Appeal Board.

SB 564 (Holmes, D-Aurora) provides that the teaching of history of the United States shall include the contributions made to society by Americans of different faith practices, including but not limited to, Muslim Americans, Jewish Americans, Christian Americans, Hindu Americans, Sikh Americans, Buddhist Americans, and any other collective community of faith that has shaped America.

SB 654 (Peters, D-Chicago) Provides that play time shall be for all students in kindergarten through grade 5. Requires play time to be for at least 30 minutes on any school day that is 5 clock hours or longer in length.

SB 661 (Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights) establishes a scholarship program for students seeking school social work professional educator licensure requiring priority for scholarship distribution be given to students who are members of a racial minority.

SB 662 (Gillespie) establishes a loan repayment program up to $6,500 for repayment of an educational loan for students seeking school social work professional educator licensure, requiring priority for grant distribution be given to students who are members of a racial minority.

SB 808 (Murphy, D-Des Plaines) In order to obtain a license under the Article, a student teacher candidate may not be required to videotape himself or herself or his or her students in a classroom setting.

SB 812 (Bennett, D-Champaign) requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to make available the total number of school support personnel and the pupil-to-school support personnel ratio beginning January 1, 2023. It also requires school districts to report this information annually no later than November 16 beginning in 2022.

SB 817 (Simmons, D-Chicago) provides that a school uniform or dress code policy adopted by a school board or local school council shall not include or apply to hairstyles, including hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture.

SB 1646 (McClure, R-Springfield) In a provision that requires an employer to make an additional contribution to the system for certain salary increases greater than 6%, excludes salary increases resulting from teaching summer school on or after May 1, 2021 and before September 15, 2022. 

SB 2088 (Belt, D-Cahokia) adds, as a goal of the Whole Child Task Force, recommending legislation, policies, and practices to prevent learning loss in students during periods of suspension and expulsion, including, but not limited to, remote instruction.

SB 2109 (Villa, D-West Chicago) requires that professional development leadership training for school board members cover trauma-informed practices for students and staff beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.