IASB Legislative Report 103-31

Delivered via email: April 12, 2024

Senate Third Reading Deadline Week

This week brings a significant deadline for the Senate. With Friday being the third reading deadline, the Senate’s focus was on floor action, getting bills through third reading and voted on to move over to the House. Committee action was light this week with many House committees canceled, including House Education committees.

With both House and Senate committee deadlines passed, the number of bills being tracked is paring down. Due to the hard work early in the legislative session, most problematic bills have been tabled or amended to remove IASB’s opposition. The Governmental Relations team will continue to monitor new amendments and is diligent to ensure IASB’s voice is heard.

One bill that the Governmental Relations team continues to work on is SB2568 which provides that districts that offer 403(b) plans must choose a single vendor though a collective bidding process by July 1, 2026. The bill requires that the single vendor be selected by the employee’s bargaining unit. IASB, along with several other management groups, has continued to express concerns with this bill, but the sponsor has indicated intent to move the bill this session. While we expect to see another amendment to the bill, it remains unknown what that amendment will include.

UPDATE - SECOND CALL TO ACTION – HB3907 (Stuart) Planning Time

With HB3907 scheduled to be heard in House Elementary & Secondary Education: Administration, Licensing & Charter Schools Committee yesterday, IASB Governmental Relations staff, along with IASA, Illinois ASBO, and IPA, sent members a second Call to Action to oppose the bill. The bill would essentially mandate 45 minutes of uninterrupted planning time per day for all educators. Concerns with the bill include the need to define and establish parameters for planning time, the need for schools to maintain flexibility for staffing to ensure students have adult supervision, and that important meetings held during the school day such as IEPs are attended. The House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee was canceled, and the bill was not heard this week. Thank you for your support!

Governmental Relations staff continue to advocate for a Teacher Shortage Task Force to address the multiple nuances of this issue and develop a comprehensive approach.

Hot Bills/Topics Discussed in Committees this Week

SB0458 (Gillespie) Restraint and Time Out Bill
This bill makes changes to the Restraint and Time Out statute which was originally passed in 2021. The original bill was a significant piece of legislation and was negotiated over an extensive period of time given the complexities of the issue. With this amendment, some of the key changes that the sponsor is looking to make are for ISBE investigations of complaints to be completed more quickly, increased mandated training for all school personnel, and a requirement for schools to decrease all RTO incidents by 10% each year. While we appreciate the importance of this issue, we have numerous concerns with how this bill would be implemented. The sponsor committed to continued conversations with stakeholders to address those issues. The amendment passed the Committee 9-5 on partisan lines.

Advocacy Opportunities

COSSBA Advocacy Conference - SAVE THE DATE!
Illinois school board members are invited and encouraged to share their voices on the national level at the Consortium of State School Boards Association (COSSBA) Federal Advocacy Conference. The Conference will be held September 8-10, 2024, in Washington, D.C. and the IASB team will be attending and helping facilitate the event. Registration for the Conference opens on May 1.

Advocacy Ambassador Update
Advocacy Ambassadors will meet Wednesday, April 24, at noon for a Mid-Month Mini meeting, providing a 30-minute deep-dive into student discipline. Registration for this event is available through IASB’s Event Calendar, but you must first be signed up as an Advocacy Ambassador. Be on the lookout for advocacy opportunities this spring and contact IASB staff with any questions.

Other Senate Bills That Passed out of Committee this Week

SB0463, SA1 & SA2 (Loughran Cappel) - CTE Teacher Tenure and Extension of PEAC
This bill is partially a trailer bill to the teacher tenure bill that passed last year. That bill added the requirement that a teacher hold a PEL to obtain tenure. The added PEL language had the unintended consequence of removing Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher license holders from the tenure track. This was a concern given the shortage of CTE teachers. This bill addresses that issue. The bill also extends the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council and changes the name to the Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee (PEAC), which is set to sunset in June 2024. Currently, PEAC advises the State Board of Education on the ongoing implementation of performance evaluations in the state. The bill expands the scope of work for the committee and updates topics of focus. SA1 passed through committee unanimously.

SB0464 (Johnson) North Chicago SD 187 Referendum Exemption
This bill allows North Chicago District 187, which has a school that sits on federal property and serves a significant number of students from military families, to bypass the referendum requirement to build a new school. The district received a federal grant covering 80% of all eligible costs for construction of a new school. The new school is badly needed given the significant health-life safety concerns with the current building, including high levels of lead in the water. The bill passed through committee and the Senate unanimously and has been sent to the House.

SB3156, SA1 (Johnson) Various School Code Clean Up Changes
Having previously passed out of committee, this bill is an initiative of ISBE and is primarily a clean-up of current statutes. SA1 addresses concerns previously expressed by IASB staff. The amendment passed the committee unanimously.

SB3166, SA1 (Koehler) School Student Records
Having previously passed out of committee, this bill amends the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA). The amendment addresses one of IASB’s concerns by reducing the burdensome number of documents to be kept in a student’s permanent record but failed to address another concern that the bill conflicts with federal guidance relating to permanent records. Conversations on this bill continue and we are hopeful a compromise can be reached.

SB3316, SA1 (Feigenholtz) Children Mental Health Screening
Having previously passed out of Committee, SA2 makes additional changes that will further the work of the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative (CBHTI) launched by Governor Pritzker in March of 2022 to evaluate and redesign the delivery of behavioral health services for children in Illinois. The amendment passed with a 7-0 vote.

House Bills that Passed out of Committee this Week

HB3446 (Davis) Evidence-Based Funding Spending Reports
Representative Davis brought forward this bill to provide for more transparent funding information to be included on the Illinois Report Card. The purpose is to see how Evidence-Based Funding dollars are being spent and to increase accountability with taxpayer dollars. The data is reported by school districts to ISBE and then ISBE publishes the public facing Illinois Report Card annually. The bill passed unanimously with bi-partisan support.

HB5418 (Hernandez) School Construction Maintenance Grants
This bill will allow Regional Offices of Education (ROEs) to apply for maintenance grants, specifically for public buildings. Currently, ROEs are not allowed to apply for maintenance grants, which offer up to $50,000 of matching funds for building improvements. An amendment was added to clarify that the construction grants must be used on buildings publicly owned. There was some concern that these grants would go to renovate ROE office buildings, but it was clarified in debate that it is for school buildings. This is an initiative of the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents and the bill passed through committee unanimously.

HB5480 (Delgado) Charter School Transportation Reimbursement
This bill would allow state-authorized charter schools (other than CPS charters) to file for transportation reimbursement dollars along with public school districts. This is an initiative of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. Currently, state-authorized charter schools are not eligible for the transportation categorical but receive transportation funding through other means. IASB staff continue to work on an amendment to ensure this is a separately funded line item and does not impact transportation funding available to public school districts. The bill passed Committee with an 11-2 vote.

Other Bills of Interest

While House and Senate Committee deadlines have now passed, IASB Governmental Relations staff are working with sponsors and other advocacy groups on the following bills that either may be given an extension or the sponsor has indicated that they intend to continue conversations over the summer. These bills include: HB5617 (West) Native American Mascots, SB1400 (Lightford) Student Discipline, SB3511 (Simmons) Instructional Materials/Let America Read Act, and SB3773 (Johnson) Student School Board Member.