Friday, May 12, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report (100-18)

The Senate Executive Committee Thursday, unanimously approved an amendment that would
move the election of school board members from the Consolidated Election in April of odd-numbered years to the General Election in November of even-numbered years. Senate Amendment #2 to SB 441 (Cullerton, T., D-Villa Park) passed on a vote of 14-0 and was sent to the Senate floor for further consideration. SB 441 was introduced as a “shell bill” – a bill that merely made a technical change to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act and contained no substantive language. But Senate Amendment #2, offered this week, gutted the underlying bill and made the changes in the Election Code and the School Code.

The Alliance testified before the committee in opposition to the bill.

The Consolidated Election is not eliminated in the amendment. In fact, township boards, library boards, park board, etc. will still be elected at the non-partisan election. The amendment simply removes school board members from that election and places those elected offices in the General Eection in November of the even-numbered years along with the U.S. President, U.S. Senators and Congressmen, Governor, and members of the Illinois General Assembly. The underlying reason given for the change is that school districts are the main consumer of property taxes in the State and more citizens should be voting on these races. Voter turnout in the General Election is much higher than the turnout in the Consolidated Election.

The Alliance strongly believes that school board membership should be a non-partisan office that is elected in a non-partisan election. Under the amendment, even though it is a partisan election, school board candidates would not have to declare a party and would not run as a member of a party. This office would be the only non-partisan position elected in the General Election.

School board members are urged to contact their State Senator and ask for a “No” vote on SB 441.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report (100-18), including a budget update, committee and bill action, and lead testing information.