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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 97-40

Distributed via Email: February 16, 2012

BUDGET MESSAGE SET FOR WEDNESDAY

Governor Pat Quinn will deliver his annual Budget Message Wednesday in the Capitol. The address is much anticipated as he is expected to provide more details of the proposals highlighted in his State of the State Address three weeks ago. Given the sluggish economy, the continued state budget deficits, and slow revenue growth in the Illinois treasury, most legislators are warning of another austere state budget for Fiscal Year 2013.

One of the most important pending fiscal matters to be addressed is possible reform of the state pension systems. The governor earlier had indicated that he supports the idea of shifting the “normal costs” of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) onto the local school district. This fiscal burden, estimated to be a cost of $800 million, has also been endorsed by the Speaker of the Illinois House and the President of the Illinois Senate.

Since there is no legislation drafted at this point, it is unclear whether this new funding requirement would be paid for by taking it directly from the school districts’ educational fund, or if a new property tax levy would be applied to local taxpayers. To estimate the school district’s share of this burden, multiply the district’s TRS payroll by 8.9%. Please share with the Alliance lobbyists: (1) what this would cost your local school district; and (2) what budget cuts would be necessary to make up for this new funding requirement. bschwarm@iasb.com; dsullivan@iasb.com; shilton@iasb.com; dhendren@iasaedu.org; cvjackson@route24.net; alison@ilprincipals.org

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION GRANT FUNDS RELEASED

Governor Quinn Thursday announced that $623 million in school construction grants will be released. Thirty-one districts statewide were approved for the state funding this fiscal year after their projects were certified by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB). The governor also announced that the state is making available $50 million in School Maintenance Grant Program grants. The dollar-for-dollar state matching grant program provides up to $50,000 in matching funds for the maintenance or upkeep of buildings or structures for educational purposes. The grant applications for districts will be available soon.

For the list of the school districts receiving the construction grants, click here.

SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION BILL

Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) has reintroduced his bill that would force school district consolidation without local input. SB 3494 would r equire the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to conduct a study on the feasibility and cost saving benefits of consolidating specific school districts and to include specific recommendations on which districts should be consolidated. The Illinois General Assembly, then, would vote on accepting or rejecting the recommended district consolidations within 90 calendar days. If the General Assembly fails to vote on accepting or rejecting the report's recommended district consolidations within such 90-day period, then the report's recommended district consolidations shall be deemed required consolidations by law. This same legislation was introduced last year as SB 1324. There is no committee hearing date set for the bill at this time.

BILLS SCHEDULED FOR COMMITTEE NEXT WEEK

HOUSE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., Room 114, State Capitol

HB 1248 (Mell, D-Chicago) requires high school students to complete at least 15 hours of community service each year before being eligible to move to the next higher grade level or graduate from high school.   The bill allows up to five of these 15 hours of community service to be performed by the parent or guardian of the pupil if the parent or guardian performs the community service with, and at the same time as, the pupil.

HB 3872 (Arroyo, D-Chicago) requires ISBE to establish a 3-year pilot program in which grants are provided to school districts to equip school buses with   cameras for buses used exclusively to transport children with disabilities.

HB 3925 (Jakobsson, D-Champaign) p rovides that vision and hearing screening services may be administered once every two years prior to entering kindergarten to preschool children three years of age or older in schools or child-care facilities.

HB 4010 (May, D-Highwood) prohibits the salary of the regional superintendent of schools and any assistant regional superintendent or other employee of the regional office of education from being enhanced for administering a grant program with the use of money from the grant or other funds.

HB 4043 (Bradley, D-Marion) provides that if a petition is filed for the consolidation of Christopher Unit School District 99 and Zeigler-Royalton Community Unit School District 188, the change is granted and approved at election, and no appeal is taken, then the change shall become effective after one or both of the school districts have been awarded school construction grants under the School Construction Law (instead of after the time for appeal has run for the purpose of all elections).

HB 4056 (Eddy, R-Hutsonville) provides that, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, the Chicago Public School District shall submit application, approval data, and claim information in the same manner and format as all other school districts for programs provided in the general education and educational services block grant.

HB 4084 (Jakobsson) requires ISBE to establish a pilot project to provide early screening and intervention services for children with risk factors for dyslexia.

HB 4681 (Golar, D-Chicago) deletes language that provides that the goal of the Grow Your Own Teacher Education Initiative is to add 1,000 teachers by 2016.

HB 4993 (Cross, R-Plainfield) provides that a candidate for an administrative certificate who has enrolled and began coursework prior to August 1, 2011 in an approved ISBE program, and who successfully completes that program prior to January 1, 2013, may apply for the general administrative endorsement until January 1, 2013 without his or her 2 years of full-time teaching or school service personnel experience.

HB 5002 (Hammond, R-Macomb) exempts retired certified teachers who are substitute teachers, if there has been no gap between the expiration of the teaching certificate and the issuance of the substitute certificate, from provisions requiring applicants to authorize a fingerprint-based criminal history records check.

HB 5013 (Gabel, R-Evanston) requires school districts to “make publicly available”, by December 1 of each year, the student immunization data that the district is required to submit to ISBE each year. The availability is defined as posting the information on the school district website or mailing it to the parents or guardians of all of the students. This bill is identical to SB 3405.

HOUSE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE
Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Room D-1, Stratton Office Building

HB 4616 (Lilly, D-Chicago) makes changes concerning the instruction provided in a class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades 6 through 12. It requires ISBE to make available resource material. The law would still allow local school districts to choose its own sex education curriculum and would not require school districts to offer sex education courses if they do not currently do so.

HOUSE LABOR COMMITTEE
Wednesday, 2:00 p.m., Room 114, State Capitol

HB 3094 (Tryon, R-Crystal Lake) provides that the Prevailing Wage Act does not apply to projects with a total cost of $20,000 or less.

HB 3775 (Cavaletto, R-Salem) creates the offense of Unemployment Insurance fraud for a person who makes a false statement to obtain or increase unemployment insurance benefits, or to prevent suspension of or a reduction in, those benefits.

HB 4537 (Sacia, R-Pecatonica) provides that the Prevailing Wage Act does not apply to projects with a total cost of $20,000 or less if the public body notifies the Department of Labor of each project for which the waiver is used within 60 days of commencing the project.

HOUSE PERSONNEL AND PENSIONS COMMITTEE
Wednesday, 3:00 p.m., Room 115, State Capitol

HB 3118 (Jefferson, D-Rockford) a uthorizes and directs the governor to execute a compact on behalf of the state with any other state to end the practice of “double dipping”. The compact agreement would require that a person’s public pension payments would have to stop if that person begins a job that is covered by another public pension system, even if the person retired with a public pension in another state.

HB 4687 (Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn) amends the Open Meetings Act to require that any meeting agenda must be sufficiently descriptive to give the public reasonable notice of the items that will be considered or will be the subject of final action at the meeting. It also requires the public body conducting a public meeting to ensure that at least one copy of any requested notice and agenda for the meeting is continuously available for public review during the entire 48-hour period preceding the meeting.

HOUSE JUDICIARY II – CRIMINAL LAW COMMITTEE
Thursday, 8:30 a.m., Room D-1, Stratton Office Building

HB 3806 (Cavaletto) changes the definition of “chronic truant” in the Juvenile Court Act to be the same as the definition in the School Code.

HB 4655 (Cavaletto) amends the Juvenile Court Act to add to the list of dispositional orders that a minor found to be a truant minor in need of supervision may be ordered to attend school in a non-disruptive manner until the minor’s 17 th birthday.

OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST

SB 2850 (Luechetfeld, R-Okawville) 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 has been approved by the Senate Education Committee and is pending on the Senate floor.

SB 2862 (Sandoval, D-Chicago) limits taxing districts who are in counties under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to zero revenue growth if property values are declining overall. Specifically, it provides 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 is identical to last year’s HB 3793 (Franks, D-Woodstock) which was defeated on the House floor.

SB 2881 (McCarter, R-Lebanon) allows a school board, by passage of a resolution, to exempt all school construction projects undertaken in the district from the requirements of the Prevailing Wage Act.

SB 3168 (Link, D-Vernon Hills) prohibits a school board from hiring multiple people who are retired and are receiving a retirement annuity under TRS in order to fill, as a group, a teaching   or administrative position that would ordinarily be occupied by a single, full-time person. There may be an exception if the school board determines that there is a subject area shortage or administrative position shortage, in which case the school board must apply for an exemption.

SB 3244 (Frerichs, D-Champaign) requires an additional year of math in high school for each pupil entering the 9th grade in the 2012-2013 school year or thereafter. Instead of requiring three years of math to qualify for a high school diploma, four years of math will be necessary.

SB 3259 (Lightford, D-Maywood) increases the compulsory school attendance age from 17 to 18 years old.

SB 3367 (Garrett, D-Lake Forest) and HB 5323 (Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn) make many changes regarding drivers’ education and the mandate waiver process. The bills:

  • require school districts to post information about mandate waiver hearings on their websites, as well as posting the notice in the newspaper. If the mandate waiver requests an increase in the district’s drivers’ education fee, the amount of that increase must be included on the website and in the newspaper notice;
  • require that school districts requesting a waiver to contract with a private company to provide drivers’ education services, must provide evidence that the commercial driver training school employs instructors who hold valid teaching certificates;
  • requires ISBE to adopt standards for drivers’ education;
  • require ISBE to annually report the approximate per capita drivers’ education cost for each school district;
  • require drivers’ education vehicles to be equipped with dual control breaks, specific side-view mirrors, and signs on the front and rear of the vehicle identifying it as a drivers’ education car; and
  • require drivers’ education vehicles used by public high schools to undergo an annual safety inspection if the cars are over five years of age or have over 75,000 miles on the odometer.

SB 3393 (Steans, D-Chicago) makes changes to the new teacher licensure law enacted this year. In last year’s SB 1799, a provision required anyone who had allowed his/her teaching certificate to lapse without being renewed to complete nine hours of coursework from an institution of higher education in order to renew the teaching certificate. This bill allows the certificate holder to either complete that coursework, or pay a $500 penalty.

SB 3405 (Steans) is identical to SB 3405 regarding student immunizations.

SB 3408 (Silverstein, D-Chicago) prohibits school districts from making available or serving food with any amount of industrially produced trans fat. This prohibition includes food made available to students on any school grounds during the school day or the extended school day (including all extra-curricular activities, i.e. the concession stand at a basketball game) and includes food available through fundraisers.

SB 3410 (Silverstein) requires the school board policy on concussions and head injuries to require that a student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion be removed from play at that time and not be eligible to return to play until the student athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care provider and given written clearance to return to play.

SB 3495 (Schoenberg) requires that school districts implement the provisions of a law enacted last year regarding epinephrine auto-injectors (EPI pens); the current law authorized the provisions but did not require them. Specifically, a school district shall authorize the provision of an EPI pen to a student who has an Individual Health Care Action Plan, Illinois Food Allergy Emergency Action Plan and Treatment Authorization Form, or 504 plan. It also states that a school district shall authorize a school nurse provide an EPI pen to students with one of the aforementioned health plans or to any student that the school nurse in good faith professionally believes is having an anaphylactic reaction.

SB 3569 (Murphy, R-Palatine) prohibits payments for unused sick or vacation time from being used to calculate pensionable earnings and salary and from being used to establish service credit. This provision would apply to participants in any of the state pension systems (including TRS) who begin their service in the system after the effective date of this Act.

HB 4644 (Senger, R-Naperville) creates a private school tuition voucher program in Chicago only.

HB 5114 (Burke, D., D-Chicago) r equires all students enrolled in grades 1-8 in the public schools to watch a training video on cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and how to use an automated external defibrillator.

HB 5186 (Mayfield, D-Waukegan) allows school boards and local public entities to levy a tort immunity tax for the purpose of paying judgments and settlements under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.

HB 5290 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) requires school districts to adopt and implement a new, comprehensive, and stringent bullying policy developed by ISBE.

HB 5374 (Tryon) , regarding teacher certification,   authorizes the waiver of the student teaching requirement if the person seeking certification or licensure presents evidence of 100 hours or more of successful teaching experience on a valid substitute certificate or valid substitute teaching license.

HB 5375 (Tryon) removes from the statute the requirement that a candidate for the office of Regional Superintendent of Schools must have, in at least two years of the four previous years, served full-time as a teacher or administrator in the common public schools.

HB 5377 (Tryon) decreases the amount of the annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for current participants in the five state retirement systems (including TRS). For persons who first became participants of TRS before January 1, 2011 and did not begin to receive a retirement annuity before the effective date of this amendatory Act, the automatic annual increases shall be (1) 3% of the first $50,000 of the annual total annuity, and (2) if the annual total annuity exceeds $50,000, the increase is the lesser of 3% and the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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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