With the Illinois House of Representatives not scheduled in Springfield this week, most of the committee action occurred in the Senate. The Senate had set a deadline to move Senate Bills out of committee by February 10. While deadlines set by the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate usually come with some wiggle room, many bills were passed with the deadline looming. Bills are passed out of committee with the promise to amend the bill and bring it back to committee, making the deadlines ineffective at best.
Dozens of Education Bills move before Senate Deadline
Many of the bills – promised to be worked on and returned to committee once an amendment is ready – should, in their current forms, concern school districts.
On the positive side of the ledger, the Senate Education Committee passed many bills that are aimed at providing some relief for teacher shortage issues. However, the committee also passed several bills containing unfunded mandates that will cost school districts millions of dollars and remove local decision-making of district leadership.
If passed in its current form, SB 3914 (Loughran Cappel, D-Plainfield) would require school boards to provide full-time employees five mental health days at full pay. The mental health days would not be a part of current sick leave provisions but would be additional paid days off. While there is no doubt that school employees have had a difficult time navigating the challenges of COVID-19 and school employee shortages, the bill would come at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to residents of Illinois as well as further exacerbating employee shortages. IASB continues to engage in negotiations around this important bill and several others and will provide updates in future reports.
Bills Passed out of Senate Committees Week of February 7SB 3893 (Joyce, D-Park Forest) provides that a substitute teacher may teach up to 120 (instead of 90) school days for any one licensed teacher under contract in the same school year.
SB 3914 (Loughran Cappel) requires the school board of each school district to grant full-time employees of the district five mental health days each school year at full pay.
SB 3915 (Loughran Cappel) provides that the application fee for a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License shall be waived when the governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency.
SB 3981 (Sims, D-Chicago) provides that any full-time teacher who does not receive written notice from the employing board at least 45 days before the end of any school term and whose performance does not require dismissal shall be re-employed for the following school term.
SB 3983 (Sims) requires a teacher to be employed for three (rather than four) consecutive school terms and to receive an overall annual evaluation rating of at least "Proficient" to be granted tenure.
SB 2154 (Tracy, R-Quincy) removes buildings, structures, and improvements that are not permanently attached to the land from property assessment evaluation.
SB 3106 (Murphy, L., D-Des Plaines) overturns the court decision finding that Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plans are not allowed to be considered “contiguous” under certain parameters when they expand to include additional territory, not previously included in the redevelopment area.
Bills Passed out of House Committees Week of February 7HB 4200 (Nichols, D-Burbank) permits a school district to implement a program to allow school personnel, including athletic coaches, school counselors, and administrative staff, who possess comprehensive knowledge about postsecondary academic or vocational options to provide mentoring services or guidance related to postsecondary academic and vocational options to high school students.
Senate Bills in Committees Week of February 14SB 3093 (Murphy, L.) provides that school officials shall limit the number and duration of transfers to alternative schools in place of discipline.
SB 3907 (Turner, D., D-Springfield) provides that an individual holding a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License may teach up to 15 (instead of five) consecutive days.
SR 774 (Lightford, D-Hillside) urges the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) to complete a research study into implementation of teacher evaluation in Illinois.
House Bills in Committees Week of February 14HB 4742 (Hernandez, B., D-Aurora) requires the school board of each school district to grant full-time employees of the district five mental health days each school year at full pay.
HB 4813 (Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria) exempts from contract bidding requirements contracts for goods, services, or management in the operation of a school's food service, including a school that participates in any of the United States Department of Agriculture's child nutrition programs.
HB 5060 (Vella, D-Loves Park) requires the teacher to be employed for three (rather than four) consecutive school terms and to receive an overall annual evaluation rating of at least "Proficient" to be granted tenure.
HB 5127 (Halpin, D-Rock Island) provides that within 40 days (instead of 28) after the consolidated election, the board shall organize by electing its officers and fixing a time and place for the regular meetings.