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Avoid a trip to Springfield, contact your legislators' district offices


On Wednesday, the Senate adjourned marking the beginning of a three-week recess of both the House and Senate. This is now an excellent time to meet with legislators close to home.

Hot issues this spring include:

  • Teacher Shortage – recruitment, retention and licensure
  • Restoring the Physical Education Mandate HB 4730 (Harper)/SB 2572 (Holmes)
  • School Funding including efforts to prioritize public schools over the tax credit scholarships program SB 2236 (Bertino-Tarrant)
  • School Safety

For tips on speaking with legislators, please reach out to the IFT Department of Political Activities at 217-544-8562.

Tier funding one step closer to being distributed
The most notable legislative movement this week was passage of HB 5812 coined a “trailer bill” to make corrections and ensure that all schools receive the money they deserved under the new school funding formula agreed to last fall. The bill, if signed by the Governor, will allow Tier payments to be distributed. Once HB 5812 is signed into law, ISBE anticipates vouchering Tier funds on the 10th and 20th of April, May, and June.

IFT-initiated bills
In addition to tracking thousands of legislative initiatives, the IFT has introduced a number of bills that reflect the values and requests of the IFT membership.

SB 3000 (Lightford) /HB 4053 (Martwick) amends the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) to provide more effective evaluation feedback. Changes include making student growth measures permissive, requiring each school districts PERA joint committee to meet annually, establishing a local appeals process for school districts outside Chicago, and for purposes of the School Report Card, moving to a two-rating evaluation reporting system.

HB 4209 (Welch) would provide students the opportunity for a full-day kindergarten experience by the 2019-2020 school year. The bill does not force parents to enroll their children in kindergarten nor does it limit the district’s ability to continue to offer half-day kindergarten.

HB 5252 (Andrade) gives recall rights to paraprofessionals and school-related personnel (PSRPs). The measure resulted from an unfair RIF situation that harmed 21 PSRPs in a downstate school district, causing them to lose seniority, pay, and health care benefits. HB 5252 would allow PSRPs to maintain any rights and benefits accrued if they are called back to work within one year from the time they were RIF’d. This bill is identical to HB 6299 of the 99th GA that passed both houses but was vetoed by Governor Rauner.

HB 5136 (Slaughter) requires a school district's PERA joint committee to meet annually.

HB 3447 (Welch) and SB 1897 (McGuire) creates the Tuition Reduction Act. Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the bill would direct public universities to use 50 percent of new revenues for per-pupil grants, to lessen the student's financial burden/tuition costs if the university receives additional aggregate appropriations beyond FY15.

SB 3220 (Aquino) would not allow the State Board of Education to approve a course of study under the Alternative Educator Licensure Program for Teachers unless the State Board can demonstrate that there is a need for a particular type of licensed educator offered by the course of study.

Watch Under the Dome for future updates on legislative action.




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