Friday, April 5, 2019

IASB Legislative Alert 101-03

DEADLINE/SPRING BREAK APPROACHING FOR LEGISLATURE
The Illinois General Assembly finished another busy week in the Capitol, but has left much work to be done before it hits the half-way point of the legislative session. Both the Senate and House of Representatives adjourned for the week and are scheduled to return next Tuesday. Next Friday is the deadline to have bills considered in their house of origin. So all House bills must be considered on the House floor and all Senate bills must be considered on the Senate floor by then. Both chambers will then recess for two weeks, returning to Springfield on April 30.

Hundreds of bills are still awaiting action on the chamber floors, so expect a frenetic pace next week. House Speaker Michael Madigan has already alerted his members to be prepared for long work days, even into the night.

CONTINUED INVOLVEMENT STILL KEY
Participation in the legislative process by school board members is crucial at this point of the session. After slogging through thousands of bills earlier in the spring, there is a slightly clearer picture as to which issues are seriously moving through the process. School board members contacting their legislators to let them know how legislation will affect their school districts can determine the outcome of legislation in many cases.

All bills will be up for a vote next week, including several controversial pieces of legislation highlighted in previous IASB Legislative Reports. Even for school board members who have contacted their legislators previously on an issue, it is important to make that contact again before next Tuesday.

SIGNFICANT ISSUES STILL PENDING ACTION
Details about the following bills can be found in a previous IASB Legislative Alert. Click below for  the status as of April 5.


5 CLOCK HOURS MINIMUM
SB 28 would revert back to a prescriptive five-clock hour minimum school day and would cause school districts to forfeit the current flexibility and opportunity for innovation. Though an amendment was adopted in the Senate that made slight improvements, the overall loss of flexibility for school districts requires IASB to remain opposed to the bill. With the adoption of the amendment, however, the Senate unanimously approved the bill last week. IASB will continue to oppose the bill in the House.

MINIMUM SALARY FOR TEACHERS
SB 10 and HB 2078 would increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year. SB 10 still awaits action on the Senate floor. It will likely be called for a vote next week. HB 2078 is pending a final House vote on the House floor. IASB opposes both bills.

Enactment of SB 10 or HB 2078 would bring public schools closer to a standard, statutory salary schedule, as well as consume a significant share of any increase in funding that comes to school districts from the new evidence-based formula. Though the legislative change would require a minimum salary (of which at least half of Illinois' 850 school districts are now below), there would undoubtedly be a ripple effect throughout the entire salary schedule if one of these bills were to be enacted into law. More importantly, it usurps the local authority of local school boards and teachers to negotiate salary and benefits based on the resources, wants, and needs of teachers, the community, and the district.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
SB 1189 and HB 2234 would add stringent, new requirements for school district Physical Education (P.E.) programs. Both bills are awaiting votes on their respective chamber's floor. IASB opposes the bills.

The identical bills would restrict the time and frequency of mandate waiver requests regarding P.E. They also would require that at least 150 minutes of P.E. be provided weekly for each elementary school pupil and at least 225 minutes of P.E. be provided weekly for each middle school, junior high school, or high school pupil. Such a change would be a costly new mandate on school districts, would limit a district's flexibility in setting curriculum and scheduling classes, and subtract from the time a school has to offer other academic courses and electives, therefore penalizing students.

SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION
SB 1838 and HB 3053 address forced school district consolidation. Specifically, the bills would identify, before May 1, 2020, no less than 25% of school districts in Illinois that will be required to hold a referendum to consolidate in the next general election. SB 1838 is pending on the Senate floor. HB 3053 was approved by the House last week and will be considered in the Senate when Senators return after the break.

IASB has clear positions opposing mandated, arbitrary school district consolidation and believes that these decisions should be made at the local level involving the affected school boards, parents, and communities.

IASB opposes both bills.

IASB RESOLUTION PROCESS BEGINS
IASB takes all positions on legislation in the Capitol based on position statements that have been submitted by – and approved by – school board members across the State. The process to adopt a new position statement begins with the submission of resolutions. Any school board can submit a proposal for review by the IASB Resolutions Committee and, ultimately, the IASB Delegate Assembly (composed of one delegate from each school board).

Proposed resolutions are now being accepted. A school board must approve the proposal at a board meeting and then submit it using the resolutions submission form. The deadline for submitting proposals is June 26.

The Resolutions Committee will review the proposals in August and make recommendations on each. Regardless of the committee recommendation, every proposal will be presented to all school boards in the 2019 Resolutions Committee Report sent to school boards in September, and on the Delegate Assembly floor on Saturday of the Joint Annual Conference in November.