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GOVERNMENT RELATIONS


Alliance Legislative Report 98-51

Distributed via Email: July 15, 2014

LEGISLATIVE/POLITICAL ACTION THIS SUMMER

The legislature adjourned the last day of May, but legislative and political activity continues this summer. Governor Pat Quinn (D-Chicago) has been busily signing legislation and campaigning for the November General Election. His opponent, Republican Bruce Rauner of Winnetka, likewise is in full campaign mode. The gubernatorial race has been spirited in the early going and all indications are that it will be hotly contested to the end. All members of the House of Representatives are also up for election this fall as are one-third of the members of the Illinois Senate.

SPRING LEGISLATION

The Alliance publication Digest of Bills Passed has been printed and distributed to all school districts. The booklet contains all of the education-related legislation that was approved by the legislature this spring.

Later in this report there is a list of the bills that have already been signed into law by the governor.

FISCAL YEAR 2015 BUDGET

Governor Quinn signed the FY 2015 education budget into law. Generally, it provides for funding at the same levels of FY ’14 for K-12 education. The budget summary can be found in the last Alliance Legislative Report.

Later in the year, likely in the fall veto session after the November election, the budget could be revisited to look at additional revenues such as extending the current income tax rates which are set to expire on Jan. 1.

SCHOOL FUNDING BILL

SB 16 ( Manar, D-Bunker Hill) , which would significantly change the current school funding formula, was approved by the Senate in the spring but was not taken up by the House of Representatives. The Alliance has been invited to attend a meeting initiated by the Speaker of the House on the bill later in the month. This could indicate that the bill might be on the agenda for the fall veto session. The Alliance has taken “no position” on the legislation to this point, and has a number of questions of how the new formula would work and how (and where) funding would be shifted.

A summary of SB 16 can be found in Alliance Legislative Report 98-41.

PENSION REFORM

Pension reform legislation was approved in 2013 and immediately was the subject of lawsuits questioning the constitutionality of the law. In the spring/summer of 2014, two significant actions by the courts were announced. First, the judge in the lower court which is considering the pension case announced that no action would be taken before the middle or end of 2015. Secondly, the Illinois Supreme Court, which was considering the law which required new or higher premiums on retiree health insurance for members of state pension systems, sided on behalf of the plaintiffs stating that altering the agreements with health insurance was part of the contractual agreement with a retirees’ pension benefits. This decision not only will allow for the higher costs to revert to being borne by the State of Illinois, but many believe the strongly worded decision indicates that the pension lawsuit will also likely be sided on behalf of the employees and retirees.

BILLS SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR

HB 105 (Currie, D-Chicago) makes many changes to the Illinois Election Code, including: language for the minimum wage increase referendum; allows for same-day voter registration; extends the times for early voting and absentee voting; and other changes. For school districts, it includes clean-up language affecting schools that clarifies the process for simultaneous filing of nominating petitions now that the county clerk will be accepting the petitions. It also makes a clarification regarding the filing of certificates of nomination and nomination papers with the election authority (county clerk in most counties) where the principal office of the school district is located and that the filing period would remain no more than 113 nor less than 106 days before the consolidated election. The bill is now Public Act 98-0691, effective Jul. 1, 2014.

HB 3700 ( Osmond, R-Antioch) requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to adopt a definition of dyslexia and establish an advisory group to develop training for educators on dyslexia. The bill is now Public Act 98-0705, effective Jul. 14, 2014.

HB 3724 (Burke, D., D-Chicago) requires training on how to properly administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator to be included in high school health education classes. The bill is now Public Act 98-0632, effective Jul. 1, 2014.

HB 3939 (Jackson, Sr., D-East St. Louis) makes changes to the Educational Opportunity for Military Children Act, including allowing children of active duty military personnel  to transfer tuition free to a non-resident school when placed with a non-custodial parent and be placed in grades and courses they were in at their last school until school administrators can verify placement, allowing receiving school to perform evaluations. The Act removes the Jun. 30, 2015 sunset of the section requiring that children of active duty military personnel transferring to a district from out-of-state provide proof of required immunizations. It also allows use of unofficial transcripts until official transcripts can be obtained. The bill is now Public Act 98-0673, effective Jun. 30, 2014.

HB 4440 (Chapa La Via, D-Aurora) provides that not less than 14% (instead of 11%) of the Early Childhood Education Block Grant shall be used to fund programs for children ages 0-3, which percentage shall increase to at least 20% by Fiscal Year 2016 (instead of 2015). The bill is now Public Act 98-0645, effective Jul. 1, 2014.

HB 4527 (Chapa La Via) requires a charter school to comply with all federal and state laws and rules applicable to public schools that pertain to special education and the instruction of English language learners. The bill is now Public Act 98-0639, effective Jun. 9, 2014.

HB 4591 ( Martwick, D-Norridge) provides that if a charter school dismisses a pupil from the charter school it shall return to the school district an amount equal to 100% of the school district’s per capita student tuition, on a pro rata basis, for the time the student is not enrolled at the charter school. The bill is now Public Act: 98-0640, effective Jun. 9, 2014.

HB 4767 (Chapa La Via) makes changes to the Alternative Route to Teacher Certification programs, including that no one may be admitted to the program after Sep. 1, 2014. The bill is now Public Act 98-0688 effective Jun. 30, 2014.

HB 5393 ( McAsey, D-Lockport) , under the “Teaching Excellence Program,” removes the priority order for funding of various programs. In addition, it provides that funds may be used for instructional leadership training for educators supporting implementation of the Illinois Learning Standards and/or teaching and learning priorities of ISBE. The bill is now Public Act 98-0646, effective Jul. 1, 2014.

HB 5546 (Chapa La Via) provides for limited recall for certain tenured teachers who were in “Group 2” because of receiving a “needs improvement” on the latest teacher evaluation and who have been part of a reduction in force provided the other evaluation used for determining the reduction in force list is a “satisfactory”, “proficient” or  “excellent”. It also allows a school district to use, on a district-wide basis and at the school district’s sole cost and expense, an alternate survey of learning conditions instrument pre-approved by the State Superintendent, instead of the Five Essentials Survey used by ISBE. The bill is now Public Act 98-0648, effective Jul. 1, 2014.

HB 5707 (Cassidy, D-Chicago) adds criteria to what is required for a school’s “Policy on Bullying” including: reporting bullying, procedures for including restorative measures, procedures for prompt investigation, interventions, engagement of school stakeholders,   posting the policy, and an evaluation process to assess the outcomes and effectiveness of the policy. The bill is now Public Act 98-0669, effective Jun. 26, 2014.

HB 5716 ( Brauer, R-Petersburg) encourages school districts to make a school building’s emergency and crisis response plan available to first responders, administrators and teachers electronically when updating the plan. The bill is now Public Act 98-0661, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

SB 220 ( Kotowski, D-Park Ridge) is the budget implementation bill that contains the substantive language to implement the FY ’15 state budget. The Act diverts an additional $20 million from the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT) by adding another group of county employees that will be paid from these local government and school district revenues. It also requires school districts to pick up $85 million of the state’s Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) obligation for employees paid with federal funds. In August 2013 the TRS board chose to lower the school district’s rate to 7.4% from the FY 2014 level of 35.41% citing (among several reasons) the state’s continued underfunding of the pension system as the cause for this exponential increase. SB 220 would reverse this action and force local school districts to again pick up the cost. The bill is now Public Act 98-0674, effective Jun. 30, 2014.

SB 2747 ( Bivins, R-Dixon) creates the School Security and Standards Task Force within ISBE to study the security of schools, make recommendations, and draft minimum standards for use by schools to make them more secure. The bill is now Public Act 98-0695, effective Jul. 3, 2014.

SB 2945 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) requires the Illinois Purchased Care Review Board to approve the usual and customary rate or rates of certain out-of-state, non-public providers of special education programs. The bill is now Public Act 98-0636, effective Jun. 6, 2014.

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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