General Assembly Putting Final Touches on Legislation before AdjournmentWith only one week to go before scheduled adjournment, the General Assembly is making final changes to legislation and passing bills to the governor. While this flurry of activity usually occurs at the end of May, a change to the Illinois Primary Election has moved the end of session earlier in the calendar. While the weather may not be as warm as a typical adjournment week, the legislature is still as active.
Two important IASB initiatives passed the Senate and are now heading to the desk of Governor JB Pritzker. House Bill 4365 (Didech, D-Buffalo Grove) would codify Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) emergency rules that allow for reimbursement for residential placements for students with significant special education needs even if the provider is not ISBE-approved. While these scenarios do not often happen, they are costly to the school district when they do. Providing for the placement of the student and the reimbursement of the district is an important measure that should be permanently in state statute and not only in administrative rules. HB 4365 passed the Senate unanimously on March 30.
Last year, the IASB Delegate Assembly approved a resolution to allow school districts 40 days to reorganize after the election instead of the current 28 days. The resolution was drafted into legislative language as House Bill 5127 (Halpin, D-Rock Island). On March 31, the Senate voted unanimously to send that language to the governor for what will hopefully be his signature.
One major area of action that is still required for the Illinois General Assembly is passing a budget and the related appropriations bills. While we expect an additional investment of $350 million in the Evidence-Based Funding model, there have been no final appropriations bills introduced thus far. We will keep you up to date as those processes unfold over the next week.
Bills Passed Both Houses of the General AssemblyHB 1167 (Yang-Rorh, D-Naperville) provides paid administrative leave to vaccinated school employees who have taken sick days due to COVID-19. Sick days used due to COVID-19 would also be restored.
HB 4246 (Scherer, D-Decatur) provides for the reinstatement of a lapsed Professional Educator License upon the payment by the applicant of a $50 penalty (rather than a $500 penalty).
HB 4798 (Stava-Murray, D-Downers Grove) instead of requiring an applicant for a Substitute Teaching License to hold a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, allows an applicant to be enrolled in an approved educator preparation program in this state and have earned at least 90 credit hours.
HB 4994 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) provides that each year prior to the start of the school year, a school board shall file its threat assessment procedure and a list identifying the members of the school district's threat assessment team or regional behavior threat assessment and intervention team with a local law enforcement agency and the regional office of education. Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Exempts from disclosure any threat assessment procedure under the School Safety Drill Act and any information contained in the procedure from inspection and copying.
SB 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 3709 (Holmes, D-Aurora) provides that with respect to a special education cooperative reorganization, the contractual continued service status of a teacher transfers to the new or different board.
Bills Requiring Further Legislative ActionHB 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 4243 (Mason, D-Gurnee) prohibits a school district from withholding a student's grades, transcripts, or diploma because of an unpaid balance on the student's school account.
HB 4256 (McCombie, R-Sterling) allows a school district to waive, for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years only, the evaluation requirement of any teacher whose performance was rated as either "excellent" or “proficient."
HB 4688 (Yednock, D-Ottawa) extends debt limit for certain school districts.
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 5506 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) provides that a partnership agreement entered into between a community college district and a school district shall allow a high school student who does not otherwise meet the community college district's academic eligibility requirements to enroll in a dual credit course, but only for high school credit.
SB 3201 (Harris III, D-Dolton) provides that an annuitant may accept employment as a teacher without impairing his or her retirement status if that employment does not exceed 150 paid days (instead of 120 paid days).
SB 3845 (Johnson, D-Waukegan) requires the Gender Equity Advisory Committee 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 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 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.