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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-22

Distributed via Email: July 5, 2011

GOVERNOR CUTS TRANSPORTATION, ROES

Following up on his original budget plans, Governor Pat Quinn (D-Chicago) last week used a series of line item vetoes and reduction vetoes to further cut the state budget sent to him by the legislature. Included in the cuts was $89 million taken out of the transportation reimbursement for school districts, $9.1 million that was earmarked for salaries for Regional Superintendents of Schools and their assistants, and $2.2 million for Regional Office of Education services.

The transportation reimbursement amount in the mandated categorical grant line item for Fiscal Year 2012, after the Governor’s action, will be the same as that amount in FY 2011. The legislature will have an opportunity to restore these funding cuts when it returns in October. The Governor’s Veto Message for the budget bill, HB 327, can be found here.

Governor Quinn had called for these cuts early in the spring legislative session, but legislators did not agree and included the spending in the budget they sent to the governor. In his press release touting the budget rescissions, the governor described the ROE salary cuts by stating “I reduced bureaucracy costs by more than $11 million”. He believes that regional superintendents are elected locally and should have their salaries paid by local taxpayers.

As for the cuts in the transportation line item, the governor’s office went on record stating that “getting kids to school is a local responsibility” and had earlier said that the transportation costs can be borne out of a school district’s general state aid (GSA). Apparently lost in this theory is the fact that any shift of GSA to cover transportation costs will result in less funding available for classroom instruction and student achievement.

Ironically, throughout the spring legislative session the governor had advocated for additional state spending for education and social services. His action last week, then, surprised many when he made budget cuts at the expense of public education and Medicaid. The governor’s authority relating to budget changes is limited by the Illinois Constitution. A governor may cut the budget by eliminating funding for an entire program (line item veto), or by reducing the amount of funding for a program (line item reduction) – but there is no provision for a governor to add funding in the state budget.

ACTION REQUIRED

Alliance members are encouraged to contact their legislators and the Governor’s office and ask that these funds be restored. Contact information for legislators can be found at:

http://www.ilga.gov/senate/ and http://www.ilga.gov/house/default.asp.

Contact information for the Governor’s office can be found here.

OTHER BUDGET-RELATED BILLS SIGNED

The Governor also signed into law the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Implementation Act (BIMP bill). SB 335 (Steans, D-Chicago) makes changes in state programs that are necessary to implement the FY ‘12 budget recommendations concerning finance. In the School Code, it establishes a “Low Performing Schools Intervention Program” for the purposes of intervening in certain schools that are in the lowest 5% in terms of performance in the state, if funds are specifically appropriated for this purpose. The bill also contains a provision to use a portion of Corporate Personal Property Replacement Taxes (CPPRT) for stipends for local government officials which would divert $31 million from CPPRT payments to local governments of which school districts receive 60%. The state aid formula does take the CPPRT amount into consideration when determining a school district’s Available Local Resources. The bill is now Public Act 97-0072, effective July 1, 2011.

SB 2172 (Steans) extends the State’s “lapse period spending” to December 31, 2011, allowing the State to pay FY ’11 obligations until the end of the year. The bill is now Public Act 97-0075, effective June 30, 2011.

ALLIANCE ASKS FOR AMENDATORY VETO ON SCHOOL BILL

The Alliance has requested that Governor Quinn issue an Amendatory Veto of a bill regarding pupil attendance in schools. 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. The bill was approved overwhelmingly by both chambers of the General Assembly.

However, the bill has an immediate effective date which means that if the governor would sign the bill into law this summer, the first day of school in the fall would be affected. Since school districts have already set their calendars for the next school year, this change could be burdensome for local schools.

The Alliance has requested that the governor issue an Amendatory Veto to remove the immediate effective date and add a later date for the bill to be implemented (perhaps July 1, 2012). This would aid school districts in planning school calendars. Alliance members are encouraged to contact the governor’s office and request this change.

“DIGEST OF BILLS PASSED” AVAILABLE

A publication containing all education-related bills which were approved this year is now available. The Alliance “Digest of Bills Passed” will be mailed to school districts soon. It is available now on the Illinois Association of School Boards website here.

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


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