Westmont, IL – Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued the following statement on the 102nd General Assembly in Springfield.
“In light of the fiscal challenges resulting from the pandemic, the IFT is excited that Governor Pritzker and lawmakers have passed a budget that demonstrates their commitment to funding education, avoids a tax increase on working families, and closes corporate tax loopholes that will generate much-needed revenue for the state.
“After level-funding last year, the inclusion of the $350 million scheduled increase for the Evidence Based Model of school funding puts our state back on track toward educational equity by driving dollars to our neediest K-12 schools. At the same time, this budget invests $1 billion in capital funding, helping put people back to work and ensuring our state will recover from the devastation of COVID-19. Although much more funding is needed for public higher education, we’re pleased to see the inclusion of an additional $28 million for the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP) that helps many students afford college. The governor and general assembly must continue to look for ways to rebuild higher education funding.
“We thank Governor Pritzker and House and Senate lawmakers for developing a responsible, balanced budget. We also thank legislators for passing several IFT-supported bills that will benefit schools, students and our members and advance worker rights, including:
HB 18 improves the teacher evaluation process by extending the time between evaluations for tenured teachers with previous excellent and proficient ratings to once every three years (rather than every other year).
HB 375 requires that adjunct faculty at universities and community colleges receive fair advance notice of employment prior to each semester or term.
SB 525 would allow more state employees to join a union and negotiate collective bargaining agreements by changing the definition of confidential and managerial employee status to be based on their actual job duties and not outdated job descriptions.
HB 12 would allow more paraprofessional and school-related personnel and adjunct instructors to qualify for Family and Medical Leave by permitting an employee of a school district, public university, or community college district who has been employed for at least 12 months and has worked at least 1,000 hours in that period to be eligible. (The previous requirement was 1,250 hours.)
SJRCA11 advances worker rights by asking voters to approve an amendment to the state constitution to prohibit any so-called “right to work” laws designed to discourage employees from joining a union.
“These are important bills that will have a positive impact on public workers and those they serve. We urge the governor to sign them into law.
“Overall, this has been an incredibly productive session. The IFT looks forward to working with Governor Pritzker and lawmakers in the days ahead to ensure our state stays on this path towards fiscal health, worker fairness, and economic recovery.”
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The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.