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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 98-13

Distributed via Email: April 19, 2013

LEGISLATORS BEGIN THE HEAVY LIFTING

The Illinois legislature this week began working in earnest on some of the larger, more controversial issues. The House of Representatives approved a bill to allow for the medical use of marijuana and defeated an amendment to allow for the concealed carry of firearms. The concealed carry bill, which was debated fiercely on the House floor, provided for too many limitations on the rights of gun owners according to legislators who support gun rights. Shortly thereafter, a concealed carry bill supported by gun rights advocates was called for a vote, but it, too, failed.

Other big-ticket items like pension reform or crafting a state budget were not discussed in public this week. A slew of other bills, many regarding public education, were considered.

The Senate returns to the Capitol on Tuesday; its deadline to pass Senate bills is Thursday. The House is not scheduled to be in session next week, but will return on Tuesday, April 30.

BILL TO REMOVE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS APPROVED

The bill that will allow the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to remove school board members from office and to prohibit school board elections was approved Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee. The bill is pending on the Senate floor.

The Alliance testified in opposition to SB 2340 ( Steans, D-Chicago); both the Illinois Education Association (IEA) and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) also opposed the legislation.   The “school reform groups” Stand for Children and Advance Illinois signed in as supporters of the bill.

Generally, the bill would require the school board of all school districts which are in the lowest 5% of school districts in student performance, and have been in academic watch status for at least three years, to apply for and achieve full accreditation by a (yet unnamed) national organization, or be removed from office by the ISBE. Upon removal from office, the ISBE would appoint an “Independent Authority” to take over all functions of the school board.

The ISBE would then “suspend” elections for the school district for at least two years.

A full description of SB 2340 was highlighted in the last Alliance Legislative Report and can be reviewed at: http://iasb.com/govrel/alr9812.cfm.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

Though supporters of the legislation state that the bill is limited in scope, it is still far too broad as currently drafted. Under the proposal, once a school board is identified as eligible for takeover, it must complete the accreditation process in order to prove that it is not mismanaging the district or risk being taken over by the ISBE. There are many reasons that a school district may be struggling – high poverty rates in the district, high mobility rates, lack of funds, lack of parent involvement – and it should not be assumed that there is a dysfunctional or unethical school board.

The Alliance continues to work to limit the scope of the legislation, to provide defined and transparent criteria for school board removal, and to allow for community involvement in the election of local school board members.

Discussions are ongoing between the Alliance, the ISBE, and the bill’s sponsors.

OTHER BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

The following bills were approved by the Senate and were sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration:

SB 578 ( Bertino-Tarrant, D-Plainfield) , as amended, is an ISBE statute clean-up bill to remove obsolete and duplicative provisions from the School Code.

SB 1228 (Link, D-Vernon Hills) provides that the school’s custodian of funds has right to legal counsel of the school district’s choosing when a tax objection complaint is filed, instead of representation by the State’s Attorney.

SB 1950 ( Althoff, R-McHenry) provides that any unit of local government (including school districts, now it is just for municipalities and counties) may invest its public funds in interest bearing local or state government bonds. The Alliance supports the bill.

SB 2257 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) would eliminate the ability of taxing districts under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) to ask the voters for a limiting rate increase after January 2014. It provides instead for a new referendum question based upon an increase in the aggregate extension. The Alliance opposes the bill.

The following bills were approved by the House of Representatives and were sent to the Senate for further consideration:

HB 160 ( Osmond, R-Gurnee) gives more flexibility regarding interfund transfers to school districts who are under the limitations of PTELL and contains provisions that only apply to Zion Elementary School District. The Alliance supports the bill.

HB 490 (Davis, M., D-Chicago) , as amended, requires t he ISBE in consultation with the state educator preparation and licensure board, to design and implement a system of examinations which shall be required prior to the issuance of educator licenses.

HB 492 (Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora) provides for changes in the School Safety Drill Act to require evacuation drills to include a shooting incident. An Alliance amendment was added to the bill to give school districts more flexibility.

HB 494 (Chapa La Via) establishes a moratorium on the establishment of virtual charter schools for one year.

HB 496 (Chapa LaVia) , as amended, allows application fees deposited into the Teacher Certificate Fee Revolving Fund to be used by the ISBE for teacher licensure renewal.

HB 513 ( DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights) , as amended, provides that those candidates who are admitted to an alternative teacher certification program on or before September 1, 2013 must complete the program before January 1, 2016.

HB 946 ( Yingling, D- Hainesville) creates the Young Adults Heroin Use Task Force to address the growing problem of heroin use in high schools across this State.  

HB 1047 (Durkin, R-Western Springs) , as amended, allows employers to ask employees for username and password of any Internet account they access on the employer’s Internet system.

HB 1324 (Flowers, D-Chicago) requires the Chicago Board of Education to establish a school nurse pilot program.

HB 1391 ( Yingling) , as amended, requires the Environmental Protection Agency to deny an application for the construction, development, or operation of a new municipal waste incinerator if the incinerator is located within one and one-half miles of a public school.

HB 1446 ( Zalewski, D-Chicago) r equires that special education and related services be provided in accordance with the student's IEP no later than 10 school attendance days (instead of 10 days) after notice is provided to the parents. The Alliance opposes the bill.

HB 2420 (Chapa La Via) establishes marriage and family therapists as a school support personnel endorsement area that may be affixed to a Professional Educator License.

HB 2583 (Burke, D-Chicago) allows certified teachers in charter schools to be part of the pension system for Chicago teachers.

HB 2675 (Lilly, D-Chicago) provides that if an elementary or secondary public school offers sex education or sexual health education, it must be medically accurate and developmentally and age appropriate and requires the ISBE to provide resource materials for the curriculum. If a school district does not currently provide sex education, this bill does not require it and that if such instruction is offered, the district may choose and adapt the curriculum that meets the specific needs of its community.

HB 2762 (Scherer, D-Decatur) , as amended,requires school attendance for a child who turns seven during the regular school term.

HB 3112 ( McAsey, D-Romeoville) provides that a Professional Educator License with a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards designation shall be automatically renewed for a period of time equal to the remaining period of validity of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.

HB 3133 (Franks, D-Woodstock) requires schools to submit any renovation, addition, change in floor plan, change in emergency crisis response plan or evacuation plan to the local fire department, local law enforcement agency or other emergency responders for review. The Alliance opposes the bill.

HB 3229 ( Nekritz, D-Buffalo Grove) , as amended, p rovides that the special speed limit for school zones applies whenever children are present and within 50 feet of motorized traffic, including weekends and after regular school hours, but only when children are present. It also requires the governmental body responsible for the school zone to erect new signs reflecting the school zone change by July 1, 2015.

HB 3232 (Gordon-Booth) , an Alliance initiative,allows for a local bidder preference in the competitive bidding process. It allows school boards to choose a qualified bidder that is not the lowest responsible bidder if the vendor is within 2% of the lowest responsible bid and is located in the same county as the school district.

HB 3379 ( Tabares, D-Chicago) requires a school board to adopt a policy that regarding teen dating violence. The Alliance opposes the bill.

SJR 25 (Delgado, D-Chicago) denies the mandate waiver requests for the following school districts: Meridian CUSD 101 (length of school term and ADA compilation); Dimmick CCSD 175 (evaluation training and plans and school board member training); Bluford CCSD 114 (petitions); and Webber THSD 204 (petitions). The Alliance opposed the resolution.

The following bills were amended and are pending further legislative action:

HB 493 (Walsh, D-Joliet) , as amended,   provides a supplemental state aid payment to certain specific school districts experiencing a loss in Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax. The Alliance opposed the amendment.

HB 922 (Hurley, D-Chicago) , as amended, increases record keeping requirements for contractors and subcontractors performing Prevailing Wage work.

HB 1977 (Durkin) , as amended, requires the Illinois High School Association to establish interscholastic athletic programs for disabled students participating in an adaptive program created by their school district.

HB 3312 (Ives, R-Wheaton) requires a unit of local government or school district to post on its’ website a plethora of information, including: contact information for elected and appointed officials, board packets, the FOIA process, district policies, financial reports and audits, and all contracts. As amended, it also e xempts from FOIA copying and disclosure requirements of any record or information that a unit of local government or school district maintains an electronic copy of on its website.

SB 579 ( Steans) , as amended,allows application fees deposited into the Teacher Certificate Fee Revolving Fund to be used, subject to appropriation, by the ISBE to provide the technology and human resources necessary for the renewal of licenses.

SB 1625 (Collins, D-Chicago) provides for changes in the School Safety Drill Act to require evacuation drills to include a shooting incident. It was amended to address Alliance concerns.

SB 1932 ( Bivins, R-Dixon) , as amended, requires a school board to consult with law enforcement and security experts in the design and planning stages of the construction of any new school building or additions. The Alliance opposes the bill as drafted and is working to further amend the bill.

SB 2256 (Harmon) amends PTELL by providing that the district's aggregate extension base shall be modified by certain recaptured amounts.

SB 2339 ( Mulroe, D-Chicago) , as amended,  provides that if a joint insurance pool requires a member to submit written notice in order for the member to withdraw from a qualified pool, then the period in which the member must provide the written notice cannot, except in certain circumstances, be greater than 120 days.

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


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