IASB Legislative Report 103-32

Delivered via Email: April 19, 2024

House Third Reading Deadline Week

This week, it was the House’s turn to get bills passed by the third reading deadline. Unlike the Senate, the House held substantial committee action this week with many amendments being heard, sent to the House floor, and moved through third reading. After receiving a constitutional majority of passing votes, the bills will then be sent to the Senate for consideration. As of Friday, both chambers will have moved their bills to the opposite chamber. This will help to condense the amount of bills for the remainder of session, although we may see new issues arise if bills receive an extension or shell bills are filed.

House floor action went well into the evening on Thursday and continued into Friday. The total number of House bills that passed third reading and will advance to the Senate this week as of Thursday is 243 with 23 bills directly impacting education.

Hot Bills/Topics Discussed in Committees this Week

1. HB3907 HA2 (Stuart) Mandatory Teacher Planning Time
An amendment that deals with teacher planning time did pass out of committee this week. This amendment removes the 45 minutes of mandated planning time. However, it does require that the amount of planning time in the current collective bargaining unit not be diminished. IASB is concerned that the bill potentially codifies planning time set forth in the current collective bargaining agreement cannot be diminished in future agreements. The sponsor said that this action was largely procedural as the conversations around planning time continue.

2. SB2568, SA3, SA4 (Villa) 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan
IASB opposed this bill in its original form which required districts to move to a single vendor for their 403(b) plans, ensure that the vendor was selected through a bidding process, and that the collective bargaining unit selected the plan. Senate Amendments 3 and 4 to SB2568 significantly improved the bill by allowing for multiple 403(b) vendors and requiring that 403(b) plans be mutually agreed upon between the district and the collective bargaining unit (rather than solely the collective bargaining unit). However, the bill does set parameters regarding the types of 403(b) plans that school districts can offer. There was a lot of debate with the 403(b) vendors speaking in opposition of the bill, noting that many current 403(b)s could no longer be  offered. The bill passed out of committee, 11-1, but with direction for the sponsor to continue to work on the bill. IASB will continue to be engaged on this bill.

3. HB4274 HA2 (Swanson) Tick Removal in Schools
After months of working to find compromise language, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois Principals Association, and IASB staff testified in opposition to the amendment due to statutory language that contradicts IDPH and  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, as well as other language that could prevent school districts from updating information provided to parents when medical information changes, which could cause liability issues. Several Committee members expressed similar concerns. The Sponsor committed to allowing negotiations to continue. The bill passed committee with a 9-1 vote.

4. HB5406 HFA2 (Yang Rohr) Athletic Practice Limits
The amendment requires school boards to adopt policy regarding athletic practice limits starting with the 2025-26 school year. IASB testified in opposition to the bill noting that the Illinois High School Association has committed to studying this issue over the next year and has the experts required to study this issue and make recommendations regarding the topic, taking evidence-based practices into consideration. That is an essential first step before districts should be required to develop policy. The bill passed committee with a 9-5 vote.

5. HB5020 HA2 (Blair-Sherlock) Dual Credit Quality Act
After months of negotiations between STAND , unions, K-12 school management groups (including IASB), and higher education groups, House Amendment 2 to HB5020 makes important improvements to the Dual Credit Quality Act. Changes include definitions of fully qualified and minimally qualified instructors, increasing equitable access to dual credit, equalizing credit and weighting between dual credit and Advanced Placement classes, and balancing the 29-member Dual Credit Committee that would develop a Dual Credit Instructor Qualification Framework. The bill passed out of the Senate Education committee with a 12-0 vote.

6. HB4622 HA2 (Didech) School District Mandate Taskforce
The amendment creates the School District Mandate Taskforce. The task force will conduct a statewide study to determine the information and data sets needed to establish a system that provides a timely and reliable estimate of the anticipated fiscal, operational, and other impacts that a bill filed in the General Assembly imposes or may impose through mandates on a local school district. The Task Force will provide its findings to the General Assembly by November 15, 2024. IASB will be a member of this taskforce and supported HB4622 in committee, from which it passed unanimously.

Subject Matter Hearing Highlights

Many subject matter hearings were held this week, including:

Supporting Newcomer Students Program (Crespo)
This would require the State Board of Education to implement and administer a program to make New Arrival Student Grants available to school districts to support the needs of  newly arriving immigrant students, regardless of immigration status. HB3991 (Crespo) is the accompanying appropriation bill to support the grant program and appropriates $188,000,000 to support the initiative.

HB4785 (West) Healthy School Meals for All Program
This subject matter hearing was held to discuss the importance of funding the initiative, which can cost up to $209,000,000, in this year’s budget. The framework for the Healthy School Meals for All Program was passed last year but was not funded.

ISBE Budget
ISBE Superintendent Dr. Tony Sanders, Chair Dr. Stephen Isoye, and the ISBE team presented the ISBE FY2025 Budget Book which recommends $11 billion in total spending for FY2025, which is an increase of over $652 million from FY2024. The request includes an additional $350 million for the Evidence-Based Funding formula, $10 million for Career and Technical Education (CTE), $45 million for the Teacher Vacancy Grant, and $35 million to support the migrant population (also referred to as newcomers). Speaking directly on the topic of newcomers, 62,644 newcomers have entered Illinois school districts in the past two years with 12,771 of them lying outside of the Chicago Public Schools district. The $35 million figure was derived by exhausting all other supports such as Title funds and available McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act funds.

Governor’s Pension Plan
The Personnel and Pensions Committee heard subject matter regarding the Governor’s pension plan presented by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The following three measures are proposed to close the pension gap:
  • Increase statutory funding from 90% by 2045 to 100% by 2048. The Governor wants to add three years of contributions to bring Illinois’ pension funding to 100%.
  • The state will funnel current legacy payments to the pension fund once legacy debts are paid off, which will begin in 2030 and reduce future pension payments. By dedicating future savings to increase pension contributions from FY30 through FY40, the state aims to save taxpayers an estimated $5.1 billion by FY45.
  • Ensure Tier 2 pensionable earnings comply with federal law, specifically the Safe Harbor provision, but the proposal does not include broad-based Tier 2 pension reform.

Advocacy Opportunities

Advocacy Ambassadors
Our next Advocacy Ambassador Mid-Month Mini is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 and we will share a deep dive into school discipline, from the enactment of SB100, the successes and challenges of its implementation, and discussions over SB1400 which would make some changes to the laws around student discipline.

COSSBA Advocacy Conference
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for May 1 if you are interested in registering for 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.

House Bills that Passed out of Committee this Week

HB303, HA1, HA3 (Croke) Moratorium on School Closings in CPS
This bill would prohibit all public school closures in the Chicago Public Schools system until after a fully elected school board is seated in February of 2027. Currently, the moratorium expires in 2025 and because the CPS School Board will not be fully elected until 2027, the sponsor wants to extend the moratorium until that date. The amendments passed through committee this week with unanimous votes.

HB334 HA1 (Lilly) IHSA Transfer Limits
The amendment removes the IHSA’s ability to adopt policies restricting students from participating in athletics when the student transfers from one school to another. This legislation received considerable opposition including from IHSA and school management groups. The sponsor agreed that the language is too broad and will meet with interested stakeholders to find a solution.

HB340 HFA2 (Mussman) Special Education Materials Notice for IEP
The amendment requires districts to provide notice to parents and guardians regarding the date that they will receive copies of all written materials for an IEP meeting. The bill passed through committee with a 14-0 vote.

HB4196 HFA1 (Moylan) Electric School Bus Grant
HFA1 offers increased grant incentives for the purchase of a school bus that will serve a public school district. The amendment also establishes that grants be awarded on a competitive basis, although all awards remain subject to appropriation. The amendment passed through committee with a 19-9 vote.

HB4219 HA2 (Yang Rohr) Fentanyl Education
This mandate extends fentanyl education to grades 6-8 (currently only required in grades 9-12) but ensures that the materials be age appropriate. School boards maintain the right to decide curriculum and amount of time needed to teach the topic. The amendment passed committee 14-0.

HB4241 HFA2 (Elik) Sex Abuse by Educator
The bill as introduced amends the Criminal Code and School Code and provides that a person commits abuse by an educator or authority figure if that person holds a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to a student in a school. The amendment makes changes for clarity. The amendment moved out of committee unanimously.

HB4586 HFA2 (Stava Murray) Mental Health Notification
This bill provides that school boards shall ensure that students are notified twice a year on how to access any mental health services offered in school or in the community. Concerns remain with implementation and will be worked on in the Senate, which will include removing liability for school districts and detailing the delivery method of the information. The bill passed committee with a 10-5 vote.

HB4895 HFA2 (Yang Rohr) Climate Change Education
This amendment codifies what is already in the Illinois Science Learning Standards regarding climate change. It clarifies that ISBE can create resources to support climate change education. ISBE estimates that would cost approximately $300,000 and is subject to appropriation. The amendment passed committee with a 10-5 vote.

HB4903 HA2 (Favor Dias) Air Quality in Schools
The amendment removes the taskforce and directs the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health to compile resources relating to indoor air quality in schools, including best practices for assessing and maintaining ventilation systems and information on any potential state or federal funding sources that may assist a school in identifying ventilation needs. House Amendment 2 was at the request of ISBE, and it removed their opposition. The sponsor reiterated in committee that this is not a mandate it just encourages collaboration.

HB5250 HFA2 (Ammons) Accelerated Placement
The amendment creates a parental opt-out instead of a parental opt-in for student accelerated placement. The amendment passed committee 15-0.

HB5394 HFA1 (Faver Dias) Safety Drill Cardiac Plan
The bill as introduced requires that beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, a school district shall develop a cardiac emergency response plan to accompany existing AED units in schools. In HFA1, language has been clarified surrounding the cardiac plan, including requiring a listing of every AED on school grounds. A small technical change is needed and will be amended in the Senate. The amendment passed 15-0.

Other Bills of Interest

A few other bills that passed committee that IASB is monitoring are HB5057 (Sherer) which makes changes to the educator content test, HB305 (Katz Muhl) deals with township governance for Cook County school districts, and HB3286 (Ness) which creates a teacher externship stipend, which is subject to appropriation. SJR49 (Lightford), is non-binding, but directs the Professional Review Panel to conduct the analysis and financial modeling required to evaluate the implications of implementing the recommended maximum caseloads for school social workers, school psychologists, school counselors, school nurses, and speech-language pathologists working in schools.