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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-30

Distributed via Email: October 26, 2011

EDUCATION ISSUES AT FOREFRONT OF SESSION

On the first day of the fall Veto Session Tuesday, lawmakers worked on a variety of education issues in a series of legislative committees. The legislature is in session again today (Wednesday) and Thursday for the first of two 3-day legislative work weeks.

ACTION NEEDED ON PTELL LEGISLATION

The House Revenue and Finance Committee approved a bill that will significantly limit a school district’s access to local property tax revenues. For school districts in those counties that are under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), commonly referred to as property tax caps, HB 3793 (Franks, D-Woodstock) would limit taxing districts to zero growth if property values are declining overall. Specifically, it p rovides that, if the total equalized assessed value (EAV) of all taxable property in the taxing district for the current levy year is less than the total EAV of all taxable property in the taxing district for the previous levy year, then the extension limitation is (a) 0% or (b) the rate of increase approved by voters.

The bill was approved on a 6-1-1 vote in the committee and was sent to the full House of Representatives for consideration. A vote will likely be taken on the bill today (Wednesday) or Thursday.

School administrators and board members are urged to call their State Representative and ask for a “no” vote on HB 3793.

The bill will directly affect school districts in property tax-capped counties by not allowing for any increase in the property tax extension, ignoring escalating budget factors that are beyond the control of the school district such as insurance programs (property, liability, unemployment, workers’ compensation), employee benefits, fuel supplies, food for lunch program, etc.

Indirectly, every school district in the state could be affected as access to local revenues is taken into account in the school funding formula. The “double whammy” provision, which provides additional state money to school districts under property tax caps that cannot access the full amount of local property valuation, could increase dramatically if HB 3793 is enacted. Shifting additional resources to fund the “double whammy” provision will further shortchange the state aid formula which provides the majority of funding for most school districts as well as funding for mandated categorical grants. State aid and categorical funding is already being prorated for the current fiscal year.

COMMITTEES VOTE TO FUND SALARIES WITH CPPRT FUNDS

Two separate legislative panels gave the green light to the governor’s plan to fund the salaries of the Regional Superintendents of Schools with local tax money instead of using state general revenue funds. The House Revenue and Finance Committee approved HB 3828 (Mautino, D-Spring Valley) that contains the substantive language to require that the salaries for regional superintendents and assistant regional assistants be paid out of local Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT) revenues.

Likewise, an appropriations committee in the House approved HB 3847 (Mautino) which actually appropriates the money necessary to fund the salaries and services associated with the Regional Offices of Education (ROE). The appropriations are, again, funded from CPPRT revenues.

Both of the bills were sent to the House floor where the full House of Representatives will likely be considering them today or Thursday.

Regional Superintendents of Schools have not received any salary this fiscal year as Governor Quinn eliminated the necessary funding through a line item veto of the budget bill in June. If HB 3828 and HB 3847 are approved and signed by the governor, appropriations would be made so funding would flow through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to the regional superintendents. The salaries would be paid in full, retroactive to July 1, 2011.

The Alliance opposes the use of CPPRT funds for regional superintendent salaries. Alliance members support regional superintendents receiving the salary due to them, but believe that the revenue source used should be out of state coffers.

CUTS IN TRANSPORTATION FUNDS IN LIMBO

With the House action regarding ROE salaries, it appears less likely that there will be any attempt to override the governor’s budget reduction veto of the general transportation reimbursement funds for public school districts. Along with cutting the ROE salaries, Governor Quinn cut an additional $89 million out of the state budget for student transportation. The Alliance supports an override of the governor’s veto, thus restoring the transportation funds. There is, however, no motion filed currently to override the veto.

A likely scenario for the Veto Session is that few or no votes will be taken regarding the state budget or the governor’s vetoes regarding the budget. It may be revisited after the first of the year when legislators return to the Capitol.

HOUSE PENSION COMMITTEE MEETS

The House Personnel and Pensions Committee convened Tuesday and approved a bill that is a piece of the “pension reform” puzzle. HB 3815 (May, D-Highland Park) addresses employees’ leaves of absence during which a participant is employed by a labor organization. The bill will likely have other amendments filed regarding participation in the state’s retirement systems.

As for the broader “pension reform” provisions, no legislation has yet been filed. The four pension “working groups” will be meeting Thursday morning to discuss whether there is consensus on any of the pension reform proposals being discussed. The issue is still in the forefront, fueled by recent newspaper articles concerning participation in the state’s various retirement systems.

OTHER BILL ACTION FROM TUESDAY

HB 603 (Davis, D-Hazel Crest) would require school districts to purchase insurance that would cover students who sustain an injury that results in medical expenses of $50,000 or more if the injury resulted from participating in an athletic activity under the jurisdiction of the school district. Under the language of the amendment, the coverage must not be “subject to any annual or lifetime maximum benefit”. The bill was called in the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and the Alliance testified against the bill. No vote was taken and discussions will ensue with the bill sponsor.

HB 605 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) contains the language for the newly revamped school district report card. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

SB 1795 (Lightford, D-Maywood) moves the oversight functions of private business and vocational schools from the ISBE to the Board of Higher Education. The bill was approved by the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee and was sent to the House floor for consideration.

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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