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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 100-78

Distributed via Email: November 8, 2018

CALL TO ACTION FOR
TWO VETO OVERRIDE ATTEMPTS

The Illinois Senate and House of Representatives will begin reviewing gubernatorial action on bills next week. The Veto Session is set for November 13th-15th and November 27th-29th and expected is a strong push to override the governor’s veto of two important bills. SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) would provide a mandatory increase in teacher salaries across the state by setting a statewide minimum teacher salary of $40,000. SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) would mandate 150 minutes of physical education per week for all students kindergarten through 12th grade.

Administrators and school board members are urged to contact their legislators and advocate for them to vote “NO“ on overriding the governor’s vetoes. Below is information on both bills that may be helpful for conversations with lawmakers.

SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) would take effect in the 2019-2020 school year by requiring beginning teacher salaries to be at least $32,000 per year, then increasing salaries incrementally over four school years until the $40,000 minimum is reached by the 2022-2023 school year. Each year thereafter, the minimum teacher salary would increase yearly by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

It is estimated that nearly 2/3 of the school districts in the state would be affected by such a new salary requirement. Any gains in funding due to the new Evidence-Based Funding Formula would be totally consumed by the new salary mandate in many school districts. Under such a law, the net result could actually be a detriment to classroom teachers as school districts could be forced to reduce the teaching force in order to pay the higher salaries.

Additional talking points:

  • Illinois has a collective bargaining law that empowers local school boards, together with their teachers and support staff, to set salaries in consideration of the revenues available to run their schools. School leaders and staff must take into consideration all aspects of its budget and make very difficult decisions to provide an effective education program that meets the needs of all students, while considering the will and ability of their local taxpayers to pay for these mandated increases. Often, bargaining sessions include items other than salary, such as health insurance costs and pension contributions.
  • Coupled with the recently enacted law requiring school boards to contribute the normal pension costs for any salary increase above 3 percent (PA 100-0587), enactment of this proposal could require local school districts to increase pay above 3 percent, then require the school districts to pay the normal pension cost because of the increase.
  • Over 80 percent of school expenditures are for personnel costs. Parents, community members, and taxpayers should know that a mandated increase in teacher salaries without specific state funding to pay for those increases will result in cuts to other areas of the school district budget and fewer needed services to students.
  • Of the 1,400 unfilled positions in Illinois schools last year, 90 percent were in school districts funded below the statutory adequacy level. These districts will be disproportionately affected by this mandate.
  • “One size fits all” mandates do not work well given the diversity of our state.

SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) would dismantle the physical education (PE) mandate flexibility that school districts were granted August 2017, under the Evidence-Based Funding reform measures enacted in SB 1947 (PA 100-0465). The new law only requires students to engage in physical education three out of five days per week, which allows schools and students/families flexibility while recognizing that PE is an important part of student learning. SB 2572 would remove the three days a week requirement and mandates a 150 minute per week minimum.

  • The time minimum requirement is not flexible for students or school district scheduling and does not account for weeks with fewer than five days of attendance. The impact this would have on local school districts and a student’s ability to prioritize additional required course work is unworkable.
  • School districts would be forced to prioritize physical education over other courses. Schools would also have to change schedules often to accommodate physical education when weekly schedules do not provide five days of student attendance.  
  • Schools have not even had the chance to utilize the flexibility provided in Public Act 100-0465 given that schools began the 2017-2018 school year before the bill became law. Sustaining the veto will allow schools to utilize this flexibility and study its effects before new mandates are enacted without data to support proposed changes.
  • Sustaining the Governor’s veto protects local decision-making and student/family directed class scheduling.

GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

Tuesday’s General Election saw Democrats recapture the governor’s office, all of the constitutional executive offices, and expand majorities in the Illinois General Assembly. The successes for Democrats were not limited to state government, as two multi-term United States Congressman – west suburban Republicans Peter Roskam and Randy Hultgren – were defeated by Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood, respectively. The Casten and Underwood victories helped to return the United States House of Representatives to Democratic control for the first time since 2010. On the state level, Governor-Elect J.B. Pritzker led the Democratic ticket to unprecedented success in suburban Chicago that will provide veto proof super majorities for Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

While there were a lot of national and local factors that impacted races up and down the ballot, the biggest factor on a state level appears to be the tumultuous tenure of Governor Bruce Rauner. Pritzker defeated Rauner by nearly 15 percentage points in the most lopsided Illinois gubernatorial election of the past 20 years. A great deal has changed in Illinois politics in those 20 years and nothing more significant than the political shift of the collar counties towards Democrats. While Republicans have made gains in southern Illinois, the shift in political leanings in the most populous portion of the state has made a lasting impact on the political landscape of Illinois.

As is the case with every election, many important school issues were on the ballot across Illinois. Countywide sales tax increases to benefit school facilities were approved in three of the five counties voting on such proposals. Voters said “YES” in Jasper, Menard, and Sangamon Counties. Voters rejected such additional taxes in Kendall and Tazewell Counties. A number of districts were successful with bond issues; other districts’ voters elected to move towards at-large election of school board members. The lone school district reorganization known to be on the ballot was approved. It calls for deactivating the high school in Paw Paw CUSD 271 and sending pupils to Indian Creek CUSD 425.

JOINT ANNUAL CONFERENCE
GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS PANELS

Friday, November 16, 2-3 p.m.

The Mandates Mountain: Advocacy for Relief   
Illinois lawmakers will share insights from the Capitol and school leaders will share insights on school district challenges. How will the proliferation of mandates be affected by the new funding formula? Presenters: Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Representative Tony McCombie. Moderator: Ronald Madlock, Assistant Director of Governmental Relations, IASB

Pensions: Hasty Action Equals Unforeseen Impact   
Illinois lawmakers have an appetite to limit pension increases. Discover the problem Illinois faces as well as recent actions taken by the governor and legislators to help solve it. Learn about the impact on our schools and staff. Presenters: Senator Heather Steans, Attorneys Stuart Whitt and Tom Gray. Moderator: Deanna Sullivan, Director of Governmental Relations, IASB

Saturday, November 17, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Legislative Issues Impacting School Districts   
Discuss, with a panel of experienced legislators, hot topics of the 2018 legislative session (the budget, income tax, pensions, cost shift, mandates, etc.) and how these issues will impact Illinois school districts. Presenters: Senators Scott Bennett; Senator Chuck Weaver; Representative Dan Brady; State Superintendent Tony Smith. Moderator: Calvin Jackson, Legislative Consultant, IASBO

General Assembly: Spring 2019 Focus   
The Chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees and ISBE’s General Counsel will discuss what they see coming in the next General Assembly now that the most expensive gubernatorial election in our nation's history has just ended. Presenters: Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant; Representative Will Davis; ISBE General Counsel Stephanie Jones.Moderator: Brent Clark, Executive Director, IASA

Saturday November 17, 12:30 – 1:30 a.m.

Federal Issues Update   
Hear the latest on federal issues being discussed in Washington, D.C.  Presenters: Deborah Rigsby, Program Director, NSBA. Moderator: Susan Hilton, Director of Governmental Relations, IASB

Saturday November 17, 2-3 p.m.

Legislative Issues Impacting School Districts   
This panel of experienced legislators will discuss the hot topics of the 2018 legislative session and how these issues will impact Illinois school districts. Presenters: Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant; Senator Chuck Weaver; Representative Fred Crespo; Representative Tom Demmer.  Moderator: Zach Messersmith, Director of Governmental Relations, IASB

Saturday November 17, 3:30 -4:30 p.m.

Every Student Counts ~ Every Day Matters   Illinois Attendance Commission Public Hearing
Student Attendance has become a critical data point for school district recognition, funding and serving the needs of students in learning. The Illinois Attendance Commission will share important changes regarding attendance and seeks your feedback. Join us for this discussion, bringing your challenges, observations and recommendations! Commissioner: Deanna Sullivan, Director of Governmental Relations, IASB

Sunday, November 18, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Coffee & Conversation

Advocacy in Action: Fighting Together in Illinois and D.C.
Your Association carries an effective, locally developed agenda to lawmakers on your behalf. Meet your advocacy team members and join them in a discussion of how to work together to effect change in education policy. Presenters: IASB Governmental Relations/Advocacy Team

This legislative report was written and edited by the lobbyists of the Illinois Association of School Boards to provide information to the members of the organizations that comprise the Statewide School Management Alliance.

Follow us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ILschoolboards

Bill Text/Status: Illinois General Assembly www.ilga.gov


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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