Friday, April 20, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-64

As the legislature worked steadily this week in the Capitol through the hundreds of superfluous bills and issues that lay before it, attention was being paid to some of the significant matters regarding public education. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate worked through the week, with both chambers returning next week to meet Monday through Friday.

Next Friday, April 27, is the deadline to have substantive bills considered on the floor of their respective chambers.

An Alliance initiative addressing the problem of school districts being penalized for the under levy of property taxes under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), HB 4958 (McDermed, R-Frankfort), was discussed in a House Revenue subcommittee. Though no vote was taken, it was a step in educating legislators about the issue. Two board members from Naperville CUSD 203 testified on behalf of the Alliance.

To keep up with the latest on legislative issues, please refer to past Alliance Legislative Reports and our library of legislative videos.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-64, including more on legislative response to the teacher shortage, school safety, student data privacy, and mandates. Also read the bill and committee action from the past week and look ahead to bills scheduled for committee next week. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

National student walkout scheduled
for April 20

School districts are anticipating a repeat of the March 14 walkouts in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The next walkout is scheduled for April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine school shooting.

Although the recent “March for our Lives” walkout was scheduled for 17 minutes, in memory of each of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting, the “National School Walkout” on April 20 will start at 10 a.m. local time and reportedly will last the entire day. It is unclear how many Illinois school districts will see walkouts on April 20, although the National Student Walkout website offers signups in several areas, including Chicago and suburbs, Champaign-Urbana, Rockford, Bloomington-Normal, and Peoria.

In March, school districts made determinations on handling student protests on the local level. Responses to the March for Our Lives varied in Illinois, including prohibiting walkouts, holding discussion assemblies at the scheduled protest time, and working with students to ensure safe and respectful protests.

More information on managing these events can be found on the IASB Blog, from the National School Boards Association, and on the Illinois State Board of Education website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Districts weigh referendum decisions for November 2018 ballot

The state elections board has updated its Election and Campaign Finance
Calendar, which indicates that the deadline for placing a school finance
referendum on the November 6, 2018 ballot is August 20, 2018.
It is not too early for districts to look into placing school finance referendums on the ballot for the next regularly scheduled election, to be held on November 6, 2018.

School leaders in Hawthorn Elementary District 73, for example, say they are considering placing a referendum on the November ballot that would increase property taxes to ease growing financial pressures resulting from increasing enrollment.  School leaders of District 73 are currently gauging public support through a series of community engagement meetings scheduled this month to discuss the squeeze from the district’s enrollment boom.

School leaders still have time to study their options on all such questions, as the deadline for school boards to certify a public policy question for the November 2018 election is August 20, 2018.

In the most recent elections, held March 20, 2018, voters approved two of four county school facilities sales tax proposals, 10 of 14 building bond issues, and two of four tax rate proposals. Additional historic data on school finance referenda results is available online.

Monday, April 16, 2018

ESSA webinar scheduled for school board members

IASB will continue its series of lunch and learn webinars on April 19 with, “The Essentials of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): What School Board Members Need to Know.”

Susan Hilton, IASB governmental relations director and federal advocacy coordinator, will walk board members through the ins-and-outs of ESSA, give an overview of the implementation process, and explain how the law may influence school board work.

The hour-long webinar will begin at noon on Thursday, April 19. Registration is available through IASB's Online Learning Center. Visit the IASB website, and select the yellow "My Account" button to log in, then choose the red Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

This will be the sixth webinar hosted by IASB, with additional online learning opportunities to be featured in early May.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-63

The Illinois General Assembly met its first deadline, as all bills must had to be considered by a committee today (Friday). Inevitably, some bills will have their deadlines extended, but committee volume will reduce drastically in the coming weeks, as legislators will debate bills on the floors of their respective chambers. The House of Representatives and Senate will both be back in session next Tuesday.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-63, inlcuding numerous education-related bills under consideration by the Illinois General Assembly.