IASB Legislative Report 103-34

Delivered via email: May 3, 2024

House and Senate Committee Deadline Week

This week brings us to the committee deadline for both the House and the Senate for bills in the opposite chamber. With the bulk of the work to amend bills and address concerns having been done in the originating chamber, bills in the opposite chamber often pass with much less debate unless there were outstanding concerns. However, the IASB Governmental Relations team is continuing to negotiate some more significant bills that have been given extensions in the original chamber and those bills which passed one chamber with the commitment to resolve issues in the other chamber.

Overall, bills moved as expected this week with much of the real action happening behind the scenes.

Hot Bills/Topics Discussed in Committees this Week

1. SB1 (Lightford/Canty) Department of Early Childhood
An initiative of Governor JB Pritzker, SB1 establishes a new state agency, the Department of Early Childhood. While this initiative does not directly affect our members, it is important to note the significant impact. This new Agency will take over services historically managed by the State Board of Education, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Children and Family Services. Some of these services include early intervention services, preschool services, childcare services, licensing for day care centers, and other early childhood education and care programs. The bill has passed through the Senate and moved through House committee with a unanimous vote.

2. SB998, SFA1 (McConchie) - FAFSA Waivers
This bill waives the requirement for students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to graduation for the 2023-2024 school year only. With the overhaul of the FAFSA system this year and the delays in rolling out the revised system, this waiver allows students to graduate without completing the FAFSA for this school year only. Concerns include making sure the students still eventually complete the FAFSA. The bill passed committee with a 10-0-1 vote.

As a side note, the State Board of Education sought to address this issue last week through a collaboration with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to allow schools to implement administrative waivers for students, for this school year only, to allow students to graduate prior to completing the FAFSA. See the updated user guide for all the information.

3. SB3606 (Loughran-Cappel/Mussman) Special Education Reimbursement Equalization
This bill is a long-time initiative of the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE) and aligns with the recommendations from the High-Cost Special Education Committee, which are outlined in the final report. SB3606 would equalize the funding between public and private day schools. Currently, private day school schools receive a much higher reimbursement rate than public day schools although both schools serve students who receive intensive special education services. Advocates noted that because of this funding inequity, there has been a significant increase in school districts sending students with disabilities to private day placements over the years. Concerns from opposition include the possibility of reduced proration, which could affect lower-funded districts. The sponsor noted that she is working separately on an appropriations bill to address this. It would take an additional allocation of $120 million for this line item to fully fund and reimburse these special education placements at 100%. The bill passed committee with a 14-0 vote.

4. Support HB5020 (Castro) - Expanding Dual Credit Access
This is an initiative of numerous school management groups, including IASB, along with the organization STAND that expands access to dual credit programs. After unanimously passing the House, we are concerned that HB5020 will be significantly amended in the Senate to strip the most important provisions of the bill or that it may not be called at all. This bill was created to help expand access to dual credit opportunities by creating a framework for school districts to forge strong, consistent partnerships with local community colleges and ensure dual credit teachers are properly credentialed. Dual credit courses have been shown to increase the college graduation rates for students and save students time and money.

Given that we are approaching the end of the legislative session, it is imperative that Senator(s) receive your input as soon as possible. Your advocacy can make a significant difference in advancing this important legislation. Please email or call your Senator and urge them to support HB5020.

Advocacy Opportunities

Advocacy Ambassador Update
The Advocacy Ambassadors will be taking a break in May to focus on legislative action but will reconvene on June 7 at noon for our regular hour-long monthly meeting. If you wish to attend this meeting, please sign up as an Advocacy Ambassador and register for the event through the IASB Events Calendar.

COSSBA Advocacy Conference
The registration start date for the Consortium of State School Boards Association (COSSBA) Federal Advocacy Conference has been moved back to May 15. The Conference will be held September 8-10, 2024, in Washington, D.C. and the IASB team will be attending and helping to facilitate the event. IASB will send a notification to all board members once more details about the conference become available.

Bills that Passed out of Committees

HB5430 (Davis) Residential Care for Medically Fragile Students
HB5430 changes how facilities are reimbursed for students who reside exclusively at a full-time residential care facility due to their medically fragile status and who have not been enrolled by the student’s parent or guardian in any school district or if the parent has abandoned the student at the facility. Concerns with this bill were expressed by both ISBE and the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE) because there is a process already in place to address these delicate situations. The student should become a ward of the state if they are abandoned at one of these facilities by a parent, and there is a reimbursement process currently in place if that occurs. In addition, the bill places responsibility for IEPs on the district in which the facility is located and this could become burdensome if applied to other facilities in the state. While the sponsor’s intent is to ensure these medically fragile students continue to receive needed services, which we agree with, there are concerns with some of the potential unintended consequences of the bill and that the current process should be utilized. The bill passed committee with an 8-3 vote.

House and Senate Bills that have passed out of Committee in the Opposite Chamber

Many of the bills heard in committee this week in both chambers have already passed through their originating chamber and were described in length in our previous legislative updates. Below is a list of those bills that have passed committee this week.

SB463 (Cappel/ Hirschauer) Career and Technical Educator Endorsement
This bill clarifies that CTE teachers are eligible for tenure. Language added to a bill last year inadvertently removed them from tenure eligibility and this bill corrects that issue. The bill also extends the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council and updates topics of focus as it relates to educator evaluations. The bill passed committee unanimously.

SB464 (Johnson/ Mayfield) School Construction 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 and much-needed school. The bill passed on leave 8-0.

SB2675 (Villivalam) Early Childhood Construction Grants
This bill allows for non-profit early childhood programs that do not own their facility but rent from another non-profit entity to qualify for early childhood construction grants. An amendment was passed to allow the Capital Review Board to implement the bill by including appropriate safeguards for the funding. The bill passed unanimously.

SB2824 (McClure/ Davidsmeyer) Nonresident pupil waiver
Currently, kids can stay in their original district if the student is placed by DCFS in a foster parent or childcare facility in another school district. This bill extends the ability to stay in the school district if DCFS places the child with the non-custodial parent in another district. The bill passed unanimously.

SB2861 (Morrison/ Morgan) Spirit Rules Book
As amended, this bill requires an association that promotes interscholastic athletics to adopt the Spirit Rules Book published by the National Federation of State High School Associations to set safety standards for cheer groups. The bill passed on partisan leave 5-2.

SB2872 (Ventura/Faver Dias) Relaxation Activities
The bill makes it permissive for districts to offer 20 minutes of relaxation activities per week to advance the mental and physical health of students. A school district may also partner with a community organization to provide the services. This bill was extensively debated in committee with the Republicans noting that this bill is not necessary since schools can already do this. Democrats noted that while it is permissive, having legislation supporting relaxation practices normalizes these practices and recognizes their necessity given the level of stress that students experience. The bill passed committee with a partisan vote.

SB2987 (Cappel/ Elik) School Board Member training
This bill adds student outcome training to the already mandated four-hour training for new board members. This simply modifies the content of current training and will not result in additional hours of training for board members. This bill passed unanimously.

SB3110 (Edly- Allen/Mason) Regional Board Vacancy
This bill makes changes to the statute that deals with a vacancy on a regional board of school trustees. This bill passed unanimously.

SB3151 (Stadelman/West) Driver Education Worker Safety
This bill requires that the Driver’s Education course include worker safety in highway construction and maintenance zones. The bill had a unanimous vote in committee.

SB3156 (Johnson/ Davis) ISBE Omnibus Clean Up
This bill is an initiative of ISBE and is primarily a clean-up of current statutes. The bill passed on partisan leave, 5-3.

SB3164 (Edly- Allen/Syed) Assessment Restriction
ISBE currently has restrictions on developing, purchasing, or administering standardized tests in PK through second grade assessments, with very limited exceptions (i.e. to determine eligibility for special education, bilingual services, etc.). This bill will add eligibility for advanced academic programs to that list of limited exceptions. This bill passed unanimously.

SB3237 (Belt/Hoffman) School Construction Law Grant Awards
The bill provides that to receive a school construction grant award adjustment, a school district on the 2004, 2005, or 2006 School Construction Grant List must initially apply and be approved during the first three application cycles after June 30, 2024. The bill passed committee unanimously.

SB3348 (Martwick/ LaPointe) Debt Limit Exception
This bill creates a debt limitation exception for Union Ridge School District 86 to issue bonds if the school district voters approve a referendum. This bill passed unanimously.

SB3349 (Ellman/Yang Rohr) Global Scholar Certification
The bill provides that the State Board of Education (ISBE) shall adopt rules to provide students attending schools that do not offer State Global Scholar Certification the opportunity to earn that certification remotely beginning with the 2026-2027 school year. The bill passed committee with a 10-5 vote.

SB3473 (Sims/Smith) Diabetes Information
The bill provides that ISBE, in coordination with the Department of Public Health (IDPH), shall develop Type 1 diabetes informational materials for parents and guardians of students and shall be accessible through the student handbook. House Amendment 1 has been filed to move the informational material to the school district website rather than the student handbook. The bill passed committee unanimously.

SB3571 (Harriss/Elik) AED After Hours
This bill requires all school districts to have at least one automated external defibrillator (AED) on school grounds during a school-sponsored extracurricular activity. The bill passed committee unanimously.

SB3768 (Glowiak Hilton/Costa Howard) Special Education Deaf-Blind
The Phillip J. Rock Center (named after a former Senate President who supported this school) has been educating students who are deaf and blind since the 1970’s. This bill expands services to those who are hearing impaired or visually impaired. House Amendment 1 ensures that deaf and blind students receive services before those that are deaf or blind. The bill passed committee unanimously.

HB4175 (Croke/Johnson) Nonpublic Discipline
This bill removes corporal punishment against students in nonpublic schools. The bill passed committee with a 10-2 vote.

HB4417 (Johnson/Halpin) Workforce Readiness Week
The bill is permissive and allows districts to observe Workforce Readiness Week. The intent is to bring consistency to workforce readiness curriculum if school districts choose to put the program together and recognize the week. The bill passed committee with an 8-3 vote.

HB4581 (Mussman/Ventura) Special Education Resident District
This bill addresses a very limited residency situation under Article 14 which applies only to students with disabilities. The bill passed committee unanimously.

HB4653 (Mussman/Villivalam) Employee Trauma Training
This is a trailer bill to an initiative of the Illinois Principals Association and Ed-Red to streamline employee training. The bill moved out of committee with a unanimous vote.

HB5184 (Davidsmeyer/Bennett) Bullying Prevention Age
This bill would make sure that anti-bullying policies are age appropriate. This bill passed through committee unanimously.