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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-05

Distributed via Email: February 25, 2011

The House of Representatives convened this week and spent most of its time deliberating on legislation in the various committees. Both the Senate and House will return to the Capitol next week, Tuesday through Thursday.

PROPOSAL TO SHIFT PENSION COSTS TO LOCAL DISTRICTS

As if it is not enough that the state owes school districts over $1 billion in overdue payments, transportation reimbursements are being slashed, bills are proposed to dissolve school districts, and a landslide of new proposals would add new unfunded mandates on school districts, a proposal is forthcoming that would shift part of the state’s share of pension payments onto local school districts.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) announced that he wants to require school districts to pay the year-to-year costs of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), while the state continues to pay on the debt from past underfunding of the system. Senator Cullerton said that these “normal costs” of the pension system make up about 1/3 of the state’s annual pension payments for TRS. This could cost school districts close to a billion dollars.

There are no details on the proposal nor is there legislation submitted at this point. But an additional $1 billion cut to public education is unacceptable.

STILL FIGHTING UNFUNDED MANDATES

No doubt Alliance members have noticed the long list of proposed legislation that would add new unfunded mandates on school districts (new curricula, new school menus, community service requirements, etc.). When talking to your legislators on these issues, remind them of a couple of things.

First, last year a bill passed unanimously (HB 4209) and was signed into law that calls for a moratorium on instructional mandates in public schools. No curricular mandates should be discussed in this spring legislative session. If your legislator is not brand new, he/she voted for that moratorium!

Second, another bill was approved unanimously (HB 4711) and was signed into law that states that no school district is obligated to comply with a School Code mandate unless there is a separate appropriation made by the legislature that fully covers the cost of implementing the mandate. Again, your veteran lawmaker voted for the bill.

FORCED CONSOLIDATION PROPOSALS

As was reported in the last Alliance Legislative Report, proposals have surfaced that would mandate consolidation of school districts with no local input. Before you contact the Governor’s office or your legislator on the consolidation legislation, you may wish to review the talking points available on this issue at the IASB website here. Please note that in the original position paper that was sent to school board members, it mistakenly listed SB 1886 as a school consolidation bill. This should have read HB 1886.

COMPLIANCE WITH THE NEW DIABETES CARE ACT

  The Care of Students with Diabetes Act (Public Act 96-1485), which became effective December 1, 2010, contains many requirements for school districts. In its continuing commitment to assist school districts and special education cooperatives, the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and IASB prepared the documents described below to help districts and cooperatives comply with the Act.

1. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on: Process for selecting a Delegated Care Aide;

    Training; Developing a diabetes care plan; Classroom management; and Sample authorization,   

    release, and acknowledgement

2. Sample procedures for the care of students with diabetes

3. Letter to ISBE and other state agencies requesting guidance

4. Letter to the U.S. Dept. of Education

The material provides a starting place for school districts and cooperatives to develop their own procedures. Districts should review their plans and procedures with their own attorneys. All documents may be downloaded free of charge because the participating attorneys graciously donated their time and IASB covered all other costs. http://iasb.com/law/diabmats.cfm

BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

HB 12 (Cole, R-Lake Villa) allows school energy efficiency grants to be made available to special education cooperatives. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 78 (Jakobsson, D-Urbana) provides that if a school board designates the area within 1,000 feet of a school to be a safe school zone, then the principal of that school and the local law enforcement agency may prohibit persons, other than residents, from entering the safe school zone without a legitimate purpose. The bill was approved by the House Judiciary II Criminal Law Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 139 (Ford, D-Chicago) , with the filed amendment, would require that any student that is performing below standards on state tests or local assessments for two consecutive years must attend a basic skills summer school program for at least 90 hours in reading and mathematics. The Alliance testified in opposition to the bill, which was held in the committee for further discussion.

HB 189 (Eddy, R-Hutsonville) provides that, with respect to any state statute or administrative rule that defines a general education classroom to be composed of a certain percentage of students with individualized education programs (IEPs), students with IEPs shall exclude students receiving only speech services outside of the general education classroom. The bill, supported by the Alliance, was approved unanimously by the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate for consideration.

HB 200 (Cross, R-Oswego) , as amended,requires school boards to adopt a policy that is in compliance with the Illinois High School Association’s (IHSA) protocol regarding student athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury. Information on the district policy must be provided to student athletes and their parents and the IHSA must provide concussion information to the school district for distribution to coaches, athletes, and parents. The amendment was initiated by the Alliance. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 1197 (Davis, M., D-Chicago) requires all schools to adopt a policy that prohibits a student athlete from returning to play without a physician’s authorization if the student athlete has suffered an injury and the coach suspects that the student might have a concussion. Despite an earlier bill being approved on the topic (HB 200), the bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 1240 (Franks, D-Woodstock) provides that upon request of a school, school district, community college district, or private school, any information obtained by a school district pursuant to provisions concerning criminal history records checks and checks of the Statewide Sex Offender Database and Statewide Child Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Database within the last 5 years must be made available to that school, school district, community college district, or private school. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

HB 1466 (McAsey, D-Romeoville) provides that beginning with the 2011-2012 school year, a school district must include in the age-appropriate curriculum topics regarding the appropriate use of electronic communication devices, including, but not limited to, the risks and consequences of dissemination and transmission of sexually explicit images and video. The bill, opposed by the Alliance, was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for further consideration.

BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK

SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Tuesday, March 1, 5:00 p.m., Room 409, State Capitol

SB 1578 (Holmes, D-Plainfield) provides that of the four yearly teacher institute days, two days may be used as a teacher's and educational support personnel workshop. The days spent by educational support personnel during the term time spent in attendance upon a teachers' institute shall be considered time expended in the service of the school district and no deduction of wages shall be made for such attendance.

SB 1619 (Steans, D-Chicago) provides that if an elementary or secondary public school offers sex education or sexual health education, the education must be medically accurate and developmentally and age appropriate and must include instruction regarding the benefits of delaying or abstaining from sexual activity.

SB 1630 (Mulroe, D-Chicago) provides that the due process hearing data provided by the ISBE for the Annual State Report on Special Education Performance must be submitted to the School Bullying Prevention Task Force.

SB 1643(Sullivan, D-Quincy) provides that a school district may increase its driver education course fee to an amount not to exceed $250 (from $50) by school board resolution following a public hearing on the increase.

SB 1742 (Althoff, R-Crystal Lake) adds new information that the Chicago Public Schools must provide to the General Assembly regarding its use of block grants.

SB 1744 (Luechtefeld, R-Okawville) regarding state aid formula provisions, removes provisions allowing days of attendance to be less than 5 clock hours on the opening and closing of the school term, and upon the first day of pupil attendance.

SB 1795 (Lightford, D-Westchester) makes technical changes and “clean-up” revisions in the School Code.

SB 1799 (Steans) provides that the ISBE shall have the power and authority to sanction teacher and administrator preparation programs, maintain a system of certification testing aligned with ISBE standards, and establish a code of ethics for all educators.

 

HOUSE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 2, 8:00 a.m., Room 114, State Capitol

HB 1566 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) requires a school district's school lunch program to include flavored milk as an option for students.

HB 1568 (Mayfield) provides that mandate waivers may not be requested from laws and rules pertaining to physical education.

HB 1570 (Mayfield) requires each school board to establish an alternative basic education track focused in mathematics and reading for students performing one grade level or more below their current grade level according to current learning standards and the school district.

HB 1571 (Mayfield) provides that each school board shall require at least 60 minutes of reading instruction per day for any student whose reading level is one grade level or lower than his or her current grade level according to current learning standards and the school district.

HB 1572 (Mayfield) provides that pupils must engage daily during the school day in courses of physical education for at least 20 minutes.

HB 1583 (Osmond, R-Antioch) provides that a goal of the General Assembly and the Governor is that the appropriation amount for the next state fiscal year to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for school districts be enacted and become law before March 1, so that school districts are able to make informed budget decisions and not forced to give layoff notices to teachers and non-certified personnel when the school districts prepare their annual budget for their next fiscal year.

HB 1587 (Pritchard, R-Sycamore) allows school districts to contract with a private driver education provider for the practice driving portion of the driver’s education program.

HB 1588 (Pritchard) removes the maximum fee amount that a school district may charge to a student who participates in a driver education course.

HB 1664 (Gabel, D-Evanston) requires the ISBE to align the state assessment tests administered in grades 3 through 8 with the Prairie State Achievement Examination to better prepare students to take the achievement examination.

HB 1705 (Gabel) makes significant changes regarding special education due process hearings. It requires the ISBE to monitor compliance with the decision of a hearing officer, and allows for enforcement action to be taken against the district.

HB 1706 (Gabel) in provisions concerning personnel reimbursement for children in hospital or home instruction, provides that a child qualifies for home or hospital instruction if it is anticipated that, due to a medical condition, the child will be unable to attend school and instead must be instructed at home or in the hospital for a period of 2 or more consecutive weeks or on an ongoing intermittent basis.

HB 1831 (Hernandez, D-Cicero) removes a provision that requires the educational services block grant to include the Bilingual Program.

HB 1963 (Burke, D., D-Chicago) requires the ISBE and park districts to develop and disseminate guidelines on policies to inform and educate coaches and athletes and their parents or guardians of the nature and risk of concussions, criteria for removal from and return to play, and the risks of not reporting the injury and continuing to play.

HB 1983 (Hernandez) requires the ISBE to classify transitional bilingual education and its appropriation as a mandated, categorically funded program.

HB 2086 (Davis, M.) provides that under no circumstances may an eligible student be denied participation in an alternative learning opportunities program based solely on the fact that he or she has been suspended or expelled from school.

HB 2870 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) provides that at the time of annual enrollment or at any time during the school year, a school district or a recognized non-public school serving any of grades kindergarten through 12 shall provide, either on its standard enrollment form or on a separate form, the opportunity for the individual enrolling the student to voluntarily state whether the student has a parent or guardian who is a member of a branch of the armed forces of the United States and who is either deployed to active duty or expects to be deployed to active duty during the school year. It requires each school district and recognized non-public school to report this enrollment information as aggregate data to the State Board of Education under the Student Information System (SIS).

HB 2889 (Mussman, D-Schaumburg) requires school districts to adopt an internet policy that requires the use of internet filters on all school computers.

HB 2890 (Mussman) requires that 85% of state funding for school districts must be dedicated to objects and purposes related to classroom teaching.

SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 2, 2:00 p.m., Room 212, State Capitol

SB 1320 (Murphy, R-Palatine) would repeal the income tax increase that took affect this year, rolling the income tax rates back to 3% for individuals and 4.8% for corporations.

SB 1324 (Schoenberg, D-Evanston) requires the ISBE to conduct a study on the feasibility and cost saving benefits of consolidating specific school districts in the same geographic area. The study shall include specific recommendations on which districts should be consolidated. The ISBE, then, would compile the results of the study and list the districts recommended for consolidation in a report to be submitted to the General Assembly and the Governor on or before January 1, 2013. After public hearings are conducted in each district affected, the General Assembly will vote on accepting or rejecting the report's recommended district consolidations.   The bill provides that if the General Assembly fails to vote on accepting or rejecting the report's recommended district consolidations, then the report's recommended district consolidations shall be deemed required consolidations by law.

SB 1683 (Link, D-Lake Bluff) provides that no person may simultaneously serve in an elective office of more than one unit of local government if the units of local government may tax any of the same services, occupations, uses, or property.

HOUSE STATE GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, March 2, 2:00, p.m., Room C-1, Stratton Office Building

HB 152 (Davis, M.) creates the Department of Education, a cabinet-level agency under the direct supervision of the Governor. It requires that the ISBE and the Board of Higher Education report directly to the new Department of Education.

HB 1624 (McAsey) provides that companies that lose 100 or more employees due to outsourcing of jobs are ineligible to receive procurement contracts with the state, units of local government, or school districts and to receive government grants, loans, tax incentives, or other economic incentives.

HB 1627 (Sosnowski, R-Belvidere) creates the American-Assembled Vehicles Act. It provides that any taxing body (including school districts) must purchase or lease vehicles whose final assembly occurred in the United States and must give preference to vehicles whose final assembly occurred in Illinois.

HB 1670 (Burke, K., D-Oak Lawn) requires elected officials (including school board members) to successfully complete the training program provided by the Public Access Counselor regarding the Freedom of Information Act. A certificate of completion of the training is provided for the elected official to file along with his or her statement of economic interests.

*All bills that were scheduled previously for a committee hearing, but have yet to be considered, will again be posted for committee next week.

This legislative report is 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 Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance.

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


Alliance Legislative Reports are Cosponsored by IASB and:
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