School Employee Shortage Bills Clear House CommitteeSeveral Senate Bills aimed at providing some relief to the ongoing school district staff shortage crisis cleared a legislative hurdle by passing out of the House Elementary & Secondary: Administration, Licensing, and Charter Schools committee on March 16. The bills passed by the committee include measures to allow substitute teachers to be in the same classroom for a longer period, reduction of fees for substitute teachers as well as a reduction in age for some paraprofessionals. Having already passed the Senate, these bills are just a House floor vote and a signature from the governor away from becoming law.
Starting on March 22, the Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to be in session 16 out of 18 days. With bills being amended and new language introduced at a moment's notice, it is important to keep an eye on your email for further updates and potential calls to action.
Bills out of House Committees week of March 14SB 3845 (Johnson, D-Waukegan) requires the Gender Equity Advisory Committee to submit recommendations on how school districts can better support historically disadvantaged males, including African American students and other students of color, to ensure educational equity.
SB 3789 (Morrison, J., D-Deerfield) provides that the report that accompanies the school district's annual financial report must be adopted at an open meeting that allows for public comment.
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 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.
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 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.
Bills in Senate CommitteesHB 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 license holder's dismissal or resignation from the school district.
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 in House CommitteesSB 3663 (Rezin, R-Morris) provides that the number of professional development hours required is reduced by 20% for any renewal cycle that includes the 2021-2022 school year.
SB 3914 (Loughran Cappel, D-Plainfield) would have given an additional five days of paid mental health leave for all full-time school employees. However, an amendment was adopted in the Senate that will allow full-time school district employees to take mental health days as part of sick days. A school board would be allowed to ask for a “doctor’s note” just as they would for any other usage of a sick day. SB 3914 passed the Senate on February 25.
SB 4028 (Simmons, D-Chicago) with respect to the Comprehensive Health Education Program, requires that the instruction on mental health and illness include how and where to find mental health resources in this state.
President Signs FY2022 BudgetAfter passing three continuing resolutions, Congress was finally able to come to an agreement on a $1.5 trillion FY 2022 budget to fund the federal government for the next six months until October. The omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed by President Biden on Tuesday, March 15, includes $76.4 billion for the U.S. Department of Education, an increase of $2.9 billion. This includes $17.5 billion for Title 1 Grants to Local Education Agencies, a $1 billion increase which is the largest in over a decade. It also includes $400 million more in funding for the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Grants. IASB has advocated in the past and continues to advocate for full funding of IDEA. The $400 million increase is appreciated but still nowhere near full funding of the program.
For a more detailed breakdown of the elements included in the federal education budget, see the two congressional staff analyses below.
House Committee on Appropriations: Analysis
Senate Committee on Appropriations: Analysis