Monday, May 14, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-67


Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly were back in Springfield this week to take up legislation in hopes of sending bills to the Governor that would become law. While there was action on bills in committees and on the House and Senate floors, no public action was taken on a budget. With less than three weeks to go before scheduled adjournment, budget talks are still going on behind closed doors. With more available revenue than in years past, it would seem a budget agreement would be easier to reach this year. However, nothing tends to be easy in the current adversarial environment of Illinois state government. School board members and administrators are encouraged to advocate with lawmakers for making education the priority in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget and provide additional new funding as required in the evidence based funding model.

Contact your State Representative and urge a NO VOTE on Senate Bill 486 and Senate Bill 2572
SB 486 (Harmon, D-Oak Park) is pending before the Illinois House and needs input from school leaders. The bill would limit resources for school districts and other local taxing bodies as it makes changes to how assessment and taxation of solar energy systems are calculated. 
By modeling SB 486 after Division 18 of the Property Tax Code (PA 95-644, Wind Farms), commercial solar farm developers would see a reduction in the real property cost basis, from between $500,000 and $2 million, to $439,200 per megawatt of capacity. Unfortunately, SB 486 attempts to go significantly further in limiting resources for school districts and other taxing bodies by setting a real property cost basis of only $199,000 per megawatt of capacity.
In its current form, SB 486 offers developers and owners of commercial solar energy systems preferential assessment and property tax treatment, in addition to the generous renewable energy credits they already receive, to the detriment of local taxing bodies and their constituents. SB 486 should be amended to reflect Division 18 of the Property Tax Code (PA 95-644), which provides a proven, uniform method for assessing other renewable energy in Illinois.
Please take a few minutes to contact your State Representative and ask them to vote NO so that negotiations can continue on this important, timely legislation. 
SB 2572 (Holmes, D-Aurora) would undo the Physical Education flexibility that school districts were granted earlier this school year under the evidence based funding reform measures. Current law requires school districts to teach P.E. three days a week. The proposed legislation would remove the three days a week requirement and would institute a 150 minute a week minimum. The 150 minutes requirement is not flexible and does not account for weeks with fewer than five days of attendance. School districts would have to change schedules often to accommodate P.E. It would also force school districts to prioritize P.E. over other courses.  Once again, please take a few minutes to share with your State Representative the possible impact on your local school district if this bill would become law and ask them to vote NO.

Click here to read the complete Alliance Legislative Report 100-67, including committee action from last week and committee schedules for next week.