Friday, March 31, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-13

Three important pieces of the Vision 20/20 legislative agenda moved one step closer to passage this week as they were approved by House committees. House Bill 734 (Crespo, D-Streamwood) would allow for three current educators to serve on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The bill was approved by the House Education: Licensing, Oversight, and Administration Committee on Wednesday.

Also moving out of that committee was House Bill 3820 (Crespo) which would further overhaul teacher licensure in the state by deepening the pool of qualified teachers available for local school districts. HB 3820 is a follow up to Senate Bill 2912 from last year, which also was signed into law.

Most significant, however, was the movement of House Bill 2808 (Davis, D-Hazel Crest), the evidence-based funding model. The bill was approved nearly unanimously by the House Appropriations: Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on Thursday. HB 2808 has 27 different factors that establish a funding formula that is based on evidence, data, and best educational practices.

The evidence-based model was discussed prominently in the governor’s Illinois School Funding Reform Commission and provisions were included in the panel’s final report as it embraced setting a unique funding adequacy target for each school district. Also, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) included a modified evidence-based model in his amendment to SB 1 on school funding reform. The amendment was assigned to the Senate Education Committee but it was not considered this week.

Future discussions, and perhaps some scrutiny, are likely awaiting these funding bills. Last month, the House Democrat Caucus sent a letter to the chairman of the governor’s funding commission, Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis, stating, “Commission members did not explicitly endorse the Evidence-Based Model or these 27 elements. At this time, there remains a lack of general understanding regarding the elements and how removing, adding, or changing elements would impact school districts.” The letter was signed by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, and Representatives Will Davis, Rita Mayfield, and Emily McAsey.

The Alliance remains committed to working with the legislature on future discussions and negotiations regarding this important funding proposal and for the passage of an improved school funding formula for the state.

For more on these bills and all Vision 20/20 initiatives please visit the Vision 20/20 website.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-13.