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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 98-07

Distributed via Email: March 6, 2013

GOVERNOR PROPOSES CUT TO EDUCATION

Governor Pat Quinn today in his Budget Address before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly proposed to cut the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for K-12 education by $300 million. About half of the decrease would be taken out of General State Aid (GSA) and about half would further diminish the transportation reimbursement fund.

SCHOOL FUNDING

In the current (FY ’13) budget, GSA is being paid to local school districts at a prorated amount of 89%. Based on the Governor’s proposed $150 million cut to GSA, next year school district funding would be prorated at 82% resulting in an effective foundation level of $5,452 per pupil.

The $145 million cut in next year’s Transportation Reimbursement line item would result in a 19% proration of the reimbursement school districts are owed for operating school buses.

Under the Governor’s plan, funding for mandated categorical grant programs would remain at current funding levels. Funds for the Regional Offices of Education would continue to be transferred out of Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax revenues instead of the State’s General Revenue Fund, further reducing school districts’ revenue streams. Early childhood education would be spared from the budget ax.

BIG PICTURE

There is some discrepancy between the Governor’s overall state budget blueprint and that of the House of Representatives. The House has set broad spending parameters, and the Governor’s plan spends more than $500 million more than the House is willing to appropriate. The two sides, and a possible third perspective if the Senate emerges with a spending plan of its own, will have to work this out over the next three months in the Capitol.

It is likely that House members will also have their own ideas on where funds should be allocated within the education budget as well. Will the priority of the education budget be GSA, transportation, or early childhood education? Again, these dilemmas will have to be worked out as the legislative session progresses.

OTHER PRIORITIES OF THE GOVERNOR

The Governor led off his remarks by demanding that the legislature send him a pension reform bill. He said that he supports a bill that includes provisions to require the state to make its payments, require employees to contribute more toward the pension system, direct any revenues from expansion of gaming to pensions and education, and adjust pension benefits for current employees – namely suspending the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) until the pension systems are fully funded.

Also included in the Governor’s directives were proposals to close corporate “loopholes” in the Income Tax Act to raise up to $445 million in additional State revenues, proposals to invest in public works throughout the State, increase funding for Monetary Assistant Program (MAP) grants for college tuition, increase funding for veterans’ homes, and increase funding for violence prevention.

SO, WHAT IF THEY WOULD ALL PASS?

The current plight of local school districts is not a secret to school district personnel, community members, or the legislature. The State has cut funding for the last three years and, as outlined in the Governor’s Budget Address today, will likely do the same in the upcoming fiscal year. School districts, in preparing for next year’s budget and complying with the School Code on giving early notice to teachers before reductions in force are implemented, are issuing RIF notices in unprecedented numbers.

In the past few years, significant new education reforms have been rolled out that will demand time, money, and other resources from local school districts. Some of these include the new teacher/principal evaluation process, the learning climate survey, new common core standards, a new student assessment model (PARCC), and teacher certification changes. Add to this the more than 100 new unfunded mandates placed on local school districts by the legislature over the past 10 years.

All of these new requirements emerged at the same time school district budgets were being cut. And yet, dozens of new bills have been submitted this year to require even more from local school districts without providing additional funding (or time) to implement them. So, what if they were all to be approved by the legislature and signed into law? How would that impact the educational program of a school district? Currently, there are bills introduced that would:

  • shift the “normal costs” of the pension system from the State onto local school districts (HB 98)
  • require school boards to re-define “zero tolerance” discipline policies (HB 1058)
  • require school boards to adopt a policy limiting tackling in football practice (HB 1205)
  • require coaches to complete a sudden cardiac arrest training course and school districts to implement penalties for coaches who fail to take the training (HB 15, HB 1225, SB 1274, SB 1711)
  • require a school district to submit a written response within 10 days of receiving a complaint that the district violated the rights of a student with a disability (HB 1288)
  • require a school district to use a certified school nurse if the nurse will provide any recommendations for a student’s IEP (HB 1373)
  • require school districts to establish special programs for expectant students and students who are victims of domestic violence (HB 2213, SB 1702)
  • require all school personnel to receive annual training on how to recognize and report child abuse (HB 2245)
  • require school districts to provide full-day kindergarten (HB 2405)
  • require all school buildings to include a storm shelter (HB 2513)
  • require school districts to provide 20 minutes of recess per day in grades K-5 (HB 2670)
  • add criteria to the sex education classes in grades 6-12 (HB 2675)
  • require high schools to include 40 hours of community service as a graduation requirement (HB 2681)
  • require children to attend school at age 6 (HB 2762)
  • require that class sizes can be no more than 27 (HB 2791)
  • require school districts to release a teacher or principal’s performance evaluation upon request (HB 2851)
  • require school boards to comply with a statewide expulsion/suspension policy adopted by the ISBE and to post the policy on the district website (HB 2880)
  • require all schools to install carbon monoxide alarms (HB 3059)
  • require high schools to increase graduation requirements by adding a year of math (HB 3065)
  • require school teachers and guidance counselors to receive in-service training on mental illness (HB 3070)
  • require high schools to include 15 hours of community service as a graduation requirement (HB 3084)
  • require school boards to report to local responders any renovations or floor plan changes in the district’s buildings (HB 3133)
  • require proof from a student that he/she has received an immunization containing meningococcal conjugate vaccine before entering 7 th or 12 th grades (HB 3190)
  • require school boards to adopt a policy that mandates instruction on teen dating violence and requires specific procedures for responding to incidents of dating violence (HB 3379)
  • require school boards to report to the ISBE any instance of disciplinary action taken against a licensed employee (HB 3391)
  • require children to attend school at age 5 (SB 1307)

The Alliance continues to push lawmakers to hold the line on any new unfunded mandates on local school districts. In your conversations with your legislators, please continue to remind them of this important issue.

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 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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