Delivered via email: February 18, 2022
Impactful Week for Schools in All Three Branches
A busy week at the Capitol, in the courts, and in committee rooms will have a major impact on school districts across the State of Illinois. Most of the legislative action occurred in House committees as hundreds of bills were approved for further consideration before a self-imposed committee deadline of February 18. The Senate, having already met its committee deadline, passed several bills out of chamber and on to the House of Representatives for further consideration. The pace with which both chambers are moving legislation is a good indicator that the leadership of the Illinois General Assembly is serious about meeting the April 8 deadline for adjournment.
An amendment was filed to House Bill 1167 which will allow school employees to receive unlimited paid administrative leave for COVID-19 related quarantine. In addition to no limits to the paid administrative leave days, there is also provision in the bill that would allow some school employees to be paid for not working on emergency days and then receive that pay when the school district makes up that day as required by law. The major difference between HB 1167 and HB 2778, which previously passed the General Assembly and was subsequently vetoed by Governor JB Pritzker, is that the new version requires school employees to be vaccinated to receive the benefits of the unlimited paid leave. HB 1167 was passed out of the House Executive Committee and onto the House floor.
On February 15, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) met to discuss an emergency rule filed by the Illinois Department of Public Health on masking in schools. JCAR denied the rule due to a pending court case and cited the need to let the legal process play out before the executive branch agency moved forward with the rulemaking process.
The appellate court handed down a decision late on February 17 that the appeal filled by the administration was moot because earlier in the week JCAR had denied the extension of the emergency rule put forward by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The result of the decision leaves school districts in the same position on masking they were in at the beginning of the week. IASB has more on the ruling, here.
Bills Passed out of Senate Committees Week of February 14
SB 3093 (Murphy, L., D-Des Plaines) 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.
Bills Passed out of House Committees Week of February 14
HB 448 (Walker, D-Arlington Heights) allows a taxing district to utilize the last preceding aggregate extension limit or the last preceding aggregate extension as adjusted. It further defines "aggregate extension limit" as the last preceding aggregate extension if the district had utilized the maximum limiting rate for the immediately preceding levy years, as adjusted.
HB 3296 (Ness, D-Carpentersville) requires a school district to offer a program to prepare students enrolled in grades 6 through 12 for a career and technical education pathway.
HB 4126 (Tarver, D-Chicago) for "Invest in Kids" schools, allows students of “Invest in Kids” schools who have been deemed eligible to attend a school to continue to attend that school if the student's eligibility status has not changed. It also allows schools to establish a maximum scholarship amount for admittance and requires any qualified school to report costs, fees, and maximum scholarships to the scholarship granting organization.
HB 4316 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) requires the superintendent of an employing school to notify the State Superintendent of Education and applicable regional superintendent of schools if they have reasonable cause to believe that a license holder committed an act of sexual misconduct that resulted in the lice holder's dismissal or resignation from the school district.
HB 4326 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) as amended, will allow Regional Offices of Education (ROE), required to distribute funds from the County Sales Tax for School Facilities distribution, to receive 50% of the 2% administration fee the Department of Revenue receives to calculate and distribute the sales tax funds to school districts.
HB 4547 (Burke, D-Oak Lawn) allows school districts to provide a property tax relief abatement. For the purposes of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Act (PTELL), the aggregate extension base shall include any property tax relief abatements that would have been extended.
HB 4268 (Mason, D-Gurnee) makes changes concerning definitions, the evaluation and submission of guaranteed energy savings contract proposals, performance reviews, and the award of an energy savings contract.
HB 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.
Bills Passed out of the Senate Week of February 14
SB 3867 (Johnson) Provides that all school boards shall waive fees assessed by the district for each student with a parent who is a veteran or active-duty military with an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
SB 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 3915 (Loughran Cappel, D-Plainfield) 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 3988 (Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago) allows a paraprofessional educator endorsement on an Educator License with Stipulations to be issued to an applicant who is at least 18 years of age only until the individual reaches the age of 19 years and otherwise meets the criteria for a paraprofessional educator endorsement.