The Illinois General Assembly adopted a $46 billion state budget early Saturday morning before concluding the spring session. The FY 23 budget includes increases in funding for public education at all levels and provides tax relief for Illinois families. Throughout the spring, a variety of measures to support educators (most notably the COVID administrative days and paycheck protection bill) and improve working conditions for IFT members were passed.
Evidence Based Funding: $350 million increase (includes funding to correct an $87 million calculation error that overpaid a small number of districts and underpaid others)
Nation Board Certified Teachers: $1.5 million (same as FY 22)
Freedom Schools: $17 million (same as FY 22)
Student assessment: $40 million ($1.5 million less than FY 22)
Early childhood education grants (ISBE): increase of $50 million
Public universities: average funding increase of 5% (increase was applied to FY 22 and then level funded from FY 22 to FY 23)
Monetary Award Program (MAP): $122 million increase
AIM High: $35 million (same as FY 22)
Grow Your Own: $2.5 million (same as FY 22)
City Colleges: 5% increase
Community college base operating grants: 10% increase
Equalization grants: 5% increase
Full payment to TRS, SUS, and SERS
Additional $500 million to pension debt spread across FY 22 and FY 23
Early childhood education programs at community colleges: $50 million
Wellness Checks in Schools Program (Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services): $5 million
Educators Rising: $400k
STEAM grants: $2.5 million
CPS Trauma Response: $1.6 million
CPS CTE funding: $5 million
Teacher computer science training (ICCB): $1 million
Teacher reimbursement grant program: $2 million
Pipeline for the Advancement of Healthcare (PATH) Program at community colleges: $25 million
Social worker scholarship and loan repayment program (ISAC): $6 million
Trade schools: $5 million
Labor history and workers’ rights coursework to be included in applied science degree in electric vehicle technology
Heartland Community College (Normal): $150,000
Southern Illinois Community College (Belleville): $150,000
Tax Relief (SB 157)
Property tax relief: doubling the state property tax rebate which could return as much as $300 to a household that pays property taxes.
Additional property tax relief measures were contained in SB 1975. A notable and welcomed requirement of the bill is that the Department of Revenue will study the impact of the disabled veteran homestead exemption in St. Clair, Lake, Will, Madison, Rock Island, and DuPage Counties. The study will be completed by June 30, 2023.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): doubling the EITC to reduce the tax liability for low- and moderate-income families. This will apply to individuals who earn less than $200,000 a year and joint filers with a combined income of less than $400,000.
Classroom materials tax credit: doubling of the credit from $250 to $500
Back to School tax holiday on school supplies and clothing from Aug. 5 to Aug. 14 of 2022
Requirement for districts with cash balances to publicly disclose that information
The Budget Implementation Bill (BIMP) is a bill passed each year that complements the spending plan. Highlights of the BIMP (HB 4700) include:
Creation of the Climate Jobs Institute at the School of Labor and Employment Relations at U of I with the task of evaluating initiatives, including the Public Schools Carbon-Free Assessment programs, to retrofit schools for energy efficiencies to create a safe, healthy, cost-effective school environment while contributing to an environmentally sustainable state
Establishes a Significant Loss Grant Program for Galatia and Shawnee School Districts, which faced a significant loss in property tax revenue after a large business in the area failed
Exempts a school district that was in disrepair from having to garner matching funds for rebuilding a new school building (Venice School District)
Establishes the Pipeline for the Advancement of the Healthcare (PATH) Workforce program and requires ISBE to write administrative rules
Allows the award of MAP grants to students seeking certificates or credentials (previously, just degrees)
Transfers the Nursing Education Scholarship Law responsibilities from IBHE to ISAC
One-time waiver of licensure fees for social workers, doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists
Allows Decatur SD 161 to utilize federal relief dollars without a referendum to build a new school building
Legislation Impacting IFT Members
The Governor signed the COVID Administrative days bill on April 5. This bill, HB 1167 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville) includes provisions of the original bill (HB 2778) while limiting the use of COVID administrative days to those who are vaccinated or who get vaccinated within five weeks of the bill being signed into law. The IFT has provided additional information and an FAQ about the agreement.
Licensure and Evaluation
HB 4230 (Rep. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville) affects applicants for a school bus driver’s permit. If the applicant had their driver’s license suspended within the three years prior for the sole reason of failure to pay child support, they would still be allowed to receive the permit. Passed both houses.
HB 4246 (Rep. Scherer, D-Decatur) lowers the lapsed license fee for educators from $500 to $50 and provides that a retired teacher, even if returning to a position that requires educator licensure, shall not be required to pay registration fees. Passed both houses.
HB 4256 (Rep. McCombie, R-Sterling) allows a school district to waive certain teacher evaluation requirements (for the 2022-23 school year only) if the governor has issued an emergency proclamation. The waiver would apply to the evaluation requirement of all teachers in contractual continued service whose performance during the last school year in which the teacher was rated as either "excellent" or "proficient.” Passed both houses.
HB 4257 (Rep. McCombie, R-Sterling) provides that, for the 2021-22 school year only, a person with either an Administrative endorsement or a Teacher Leader endorsement serving in an administrative capacity at least 50% of the day is not required to complete an Illinois Administrators’ Academy course. Passed both houses.
HB 4798 (Rep. Stava-Murray, D-Downers Grove) amends the Educator Licensure article of the School Code. Instead of requiring an applicant for a Substitute Teaching license to hold a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, the bill allows an applicant to be enrolled in an approved educator preparation program in Illinois and to have earned at least 90 credit hours. Passed both houses.
SB 3663 (Rezin, R-Morris) provides that the number of professional development hours required is reduced by 20% for any renewal cycle that includes the 2021-2022 school year. Passed both houses.
SB 3709 (Holmes, D-Aurora) provides that with respect to a special education cooperative reorganization, the contractual continued service status of a teacher or a paraprofessional transfers to the new or different board. Passed both houses.
SB 3893 (Joyce, D-Park Forest) provides that a substitute teacher may teach up to 120 (instead of 90) school days for any one licensed teacher under contract in the same school year. Passed both houses.
SB 3907 (Sen. Turner, D-Springfield) Provides that an individual holding a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License may teach up to 15 (instead of 5) consecutive days per licensed teacher who is under contract. Passed both houses.
SB 3915 (Sen. Cappel, D-Plainfield) waives the short-term substitute licensure fee during a public health emergency. Passed both houses.
SB 3988 (Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago) allows a paraprofessional educator endorsement on an Educator License with Stipulations to be issued to an applicant who is at least 18 years of age only until the individual reaches the age of 19 years and otherwise meets the criteria for a paraprofessional educator endorsement. Passed both houses.
SB 3914 (Sen. Cappel, D-Plainfield) as introduced provided an additional 5 mental health days for teachers (in addition to the statutorily required 10 sick days). An amendment was added at the request of school management that allows 5 of the 10 statutorily allowed sick days to be used for mental health purposes. Passed both houses.
HB 1568 (Rep. Vella, D- Loves Park) allows certain law enforcement positions (Arson Investigators) to retire at age 55 with 20 years of service and allows investigators to purchase their firearm and badge at the time of retirement. In addition, the legislation requires a report from higher education regarding the transfer of service credits for the purposes of law enforcement training. Passed both houses.
HB 4292 (Rep Morgan, D-Highwood) amends the State Employees, State Universities, and Downstate Teachers Articles of the Illinois Pension Code to extend the option for a participant to receive an accelerated pension benefit payment in lieu of any pension benefit or for a reduction in the increases to his or her annual retirement annuity and survivor's annuity to June 30, 2026 (instead of June 30, 2024). Passed both houses.
HB 5472 (Rep. Yang Rohr, D-Naperville) extends the amount of time a retired educator can return to the classroom from 120 days to 140 days. The legislation extends this provision through the 2022 school year. Passed both houses.
SB 2989 (Sen. Villivalam, D-Chicago) allows members of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) who previously taught in private schools to purchase up to two years of service credit in CTPF. Passed both houses.
SB 3465 (Sen Martwick, D-Chicago) increases the pool of available teachers in specific shortage areas by allowing a retiree of the Chicago Public Schools to teach in that position without impact on that retiree’s pension. Passed both houses.
HB 4316 (Rep Mussman, D-Schaumburg) addresses the loophole in Faith’s Law (PA 102-0676, passed last year prohibiting sexual misconduct in schools) for when those guilty of misconduct try to find a job in another district. This bill requires prospective districts to ask about investigations and discipline related to allegations of sexual misconduct. The measure protects educators against false accusations by not requiring disclosure when investigations have shown an allegation to be false, unfounded, or unsubstantiated. Passed both houses.
HB 4365 (Didech, D-Buffalo Grove) allows a student's IEP team to determine whether the special education program of a school district is unable to meet the needs of a child with a disability. In late February, ISBE filed emergency rules similar to the provisions of the bill that would allow for emergency and student-specific placements in nonapproved facilities when no approved facility accepts the student or has immediate placement availability. To qualify for reimbursement of the costs of these placements, districts must demonstrate good faith efforts to locate an approved facility and must ensure the facility meets the criteria as set forth in the emergency rules. Passed both houses.
HB 5214 (Hernandez, D-Cicero) requires that any parent who is deaf or a non-English speaker and whose student requires an IEP meeting, multidisciplinary conference, 504 meeting, or due process hearing be entitled to the services of an interpreter. The bill also requires ISBE to adopt and implement the rules. Passed both houses.
HB 3296 (Rep. Ness, D-Carpentersville) requires school districts to implement a postsecondary and career expectations framework for grades 6 – 12. School districts that enroll grades 9 -12 shall become eligible and award College and Career Pathway endorsements as outlined in the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. School boards may opt out if they can submit materials to ISBE demonstrating that they are currently doing similar work. School districts must post program information on their websites. Passed both houses.
HB 4716 (Rep. Halpin, D-Rock Island) requires the State Board of Education, Secretary of State, and other stakeholders to update course content and learning standards for the classroom and laboratory phases of driver education for novice teen drivers under the age of 18. Passed both houses.
HB 4813 (Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria) exempts from contract bidding requirements contracts for goods, services, or management in the operation of a school's food service, including a school that participates in any of the United States Department of Agriculture's child nutrition programs. Contracts must specify a preference for healthy, nutritious food to be exempt from lowest bidding requirements. Passed both houses.
HB 5193 (Rep Hirschauer, D-West Chicago) provides that every school district shall include safe gun storage information in their student handbooks. Passed both houses.
SR 900 (Sen. Lightford, D-Hillside) and HR722 (Rep. Ammons, D-Urbana) direct the Professional Review Panel (PRP) and ISBE to conduct the rigorous analysis and financial modeling required to evaluate the potential value, impact, and financial implications of implementing the findings in the PRP Ad-Hoc Committee's report related to adjusting the Evidence-Based Funding formula's calculations to more accurately reflect the costs of supporting students exposed to trauma and living in concentrated poverty (Charge B) as well as to close racial equity gaps in opportunity and outcomes (Charges C and H) by November 30, 2022. The resolutions call on the PRP to complete the study and development of findings related to re-enrolling students who have dropped out of school by the extended deadline included within the PRP Ad-Hoc Committee report of December 31, 2022. The resolutions urge ISBE to complete their revision of the district spending plans template and requirements and annually make all districts' spending plans publicly available on the ISBE website starting with FY 23 by January 2023. Both resolutions were adopted.
SR 774 (Sen. Lightford, D-Hillside) calls upon the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) to study the implementation of teacher evaluation in Illinois, gather feedback from stakeholders state-wide, and review best practice from other states. Resolution was adopted.
SB 3986 (Sen. Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago) prohibits ISBE from funding standardized tests for students in grades prek-2. The bill doesn’t prohibit assessments used in screening for or diagnosis of disabilities. School districts still have the option to fund their own assessments. Passed both houses.
HB 5464 (Rep. Stuart, D-Collinsville) is an omnibus bill making statutory changes recommended in the IBHE 2021 Strategic Plan for Higher Education and operational agency efficiencies. The bill requires all public and private institutions to report student information under the Illinois Longitudinal Data System. Passed both houses.
HB 5506 (Rep. Stuart, D-Collinsville) amends the Dual Credit Quality Act. The bill extends to 2025 the ability of individuals who currently have a master’s degree and nine hours towards an additional degree in which they are teaching to enter a professional development plan to continue instruction. Faculty of the higher education institution shall be notified of the dual credit partnership agreement within 15 days of its initiation or renewal. In addition, the partnership agreement between the high school and the higher education institution must assure the rigor for mixed enrollment classes that are attended by students not deemed ready for college-level coursework. Passed both houses.
SB 3792 (Castro, D-Elgin) changes the name of the High School Equivalency Certificate to State of Illinois High School Diploma. The proposed name change is an effort to bring high school equivalency completion on par with high school completion by naming both awards as a diploma. The bill was an initiative of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Passed both houses.
SB3120 (Sen. Bush, D-Grayslake) provides that all employees shall be entitled to use a maximum of two weeks (10 work days) of unpaid bereavement leave to be absent from work due to a miscarriage or other negative impacts involving pregnancy, fertility, or adoption. The bill passed the House and Senate and now waits for consideration from the governor.
SJR 55 (Sen Villivalam, D-Chicago) sets forth an explanation of the Workers’ Rights Amendment, brief arguments in favor of and against the proposed amendment, and a description of the form in which the amendment will appear on the ballot at the November 2022 General Election. Adopted both houses.
SJR 54 (Sen. Harmon, D-Oak Park) is an effort to rescind Illinois’ call for an Article V Convention. The Article V movement began in the 1980s but has evolved since then. Some amendments proposed seek to remove all power from Congress to regulate activities in a state “regardless of its effect outside the state,” while others seek repeal of the 16th Amendment (making it extraordinarily difficult for the federal government to levy any taxes). There is at the Article V movement’s core a desire to enshrine an explicit “right to be armed.” Adopted both houses.
A Look Ahead…
The schedule for the fall veto session has not yet been released, but the coming months will see a pivot from legislative work to political work. The Illinois primary election will be held on June 28, 2022. Watch for communications from the IFT and your local about upcoming Political Action Committee endorsement meetings.