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NEWS

Legislative Highlights for the End of Spring Session, 5/27/23

Today, the Illinois General Assembly wrapped up its spring legislative work. The Illinois Senate approved the FY24 budget late Thursday night, sending the bill to the House who took up action early Saturday morning. The Governor will sign the budget before the start of the next fiscal year, July 1, 2023.


The FY24 spending plan is $50.7B. This is a balanced budget that makes transformative investments in early childhood and higher education, workforce development, and efforts to address violence and poverty.


The legislature adjourned for summer without extending the Invest in Kids Tax Credit scholarship program beyond its statutory sunset of January 1, 2025. IFT opposes the Invest in Kids program and will continue to lobby against any extension of the voucher-like scheme between now and the Fall Veto Session.

 

Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget include:


Pensions

  • Makes the full required pension payment plus an additional $200 million; this brings the total additional payments during Governor Pritzker’s tenure to $700 million.

Education

  • Early Childhood

    • Smart Start IL — $250 million to fund the first year of the Governor’s early childhood plan with funding increases to eliminate preschool deserts, stabilize the childcare workforce, expand the Early Intervention Program, and Home Visiting programs, plus funding to begin the overhaul of the childcare payment management system

    • $50 million for early childhood capital improvements

  • K-12

    • $350 million increase for the evidence-based funding formula

    • $45 million for the first year of a three-year pilot to fill teacher vacancies

    • $3 million to expand access to computer science coursework The program will include a coordinated professional development series for administrators, classroom teachers, and preservice teachers. Public Act 101-0654 mandates that, beginning with the 2023-24 school year, all high schools provide an opportunity for every student to take at least one computer science course. The new Computer Science Equity Program helps schools provide this universal access to computer science.

    • $1.6 million to launch Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library The imagination library is a program that sends free books to children from birth-through age five.

    • National Board Certified Teachers increased from $1.5M to $4.5M

    • After School Matters increased from $4M to $5M (impacts CPS)

    • $2M for TEAACH Act implementation The Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act requires that students in every public elementary and high school in Illinois receive instruction about the contributions of Asian Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States.

    • Diverse Literature Grant (new) $250k Funding will be distributed from the State Treasurer’s Office to elementary and secondary schools as well as libraries at institutions of higher education.

    • $17M for Freedom Schools (same as FY23)

  • Higher Education

    • $100 million in additional MAP grant funding, ensuring everyone at or below the median income can go to community college for free

    • $100 million increase for public universities ($80.5 million) and community colleges ($19.4 million) – the highest increases in two decades

    • Grow Your Own Teachers increased to $6M (from $2.3M in FY23). Continuation of the Historically Disadvantaged Male (HDMI) program at $622,626 and Richland Community College Grow Your Own program administration transferred to the Illinois Community College Board

    • $3M grants (new) from the Secretary of State to academic libraries for Open Education Resources

    • Minority Teachers in Illinois scholarships increased to $8M (from $4.2M in FY23)

    • Golden Apple increased to $10M (from $6.5M in FY23) and Golden Apple Accelerators Program increased to $5M (from $750,000 in FY23)

    • Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act grants to Colleges and Universities (new) $12.6M

    • AIM High Scholarships increased to $50M (from $35M in FY23)

    • Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy increased to $30.4M (from $24.7M in FY23)

Health and Human Services

  • $22.8 million in funding to begin implementing the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative based on this February 2023 report

Retiree Health Insurance

  • Teacher’s Retirement Insurance Program fully funded

  • College Insurance Program (CIP) fully funded Changes to the CIP contribution rates were needed to ensure the viability of the program. Active member and employer contributions will increase from .5% to .75% on July 1,2024 and will increase by 0.1% each year until June 30, 2026. All increases beyond 2026 will be limited to 105% of the previous year’s contribution until the outstanding debt and payment cycle are addressed. IFT will have representation on the College Insurance Program Committee that will have input on administration of the plan.

 

In addition to the budget, there are a handful of key issues that advanced this week including a Budget Implementation Bill (HB 3817), a revenue package (SB 1963) and elections omnibus bill (SB 2123), and property tax package (HB 2507). Highlights include:


Budget Implementation (BIMP)

  • Creates the Community College Insurance Program Committee (includes IFT representation)

  • Exemption for Cahokia District 187 from running a referendum to lease a building

  • Four-year extension of the Parenting Education program

  • Grants to public schools for Early Childhood Construction

  • Increases the MAP scholarship award per student to $10,896

  • Exempts Higher Education institutions from certain travel voucher requirements

  • Exempts documents related to the School Safety Drill Act from FOIA

  • Creates a new Crisis Mapping Program for school districts

  • Raises from $25k to $35k the lowest bidder requirements for school districts

  • Makes changes to the State Group Health Insurance program, including new coverage for infertility and glucose/weight loss starting January 1, 2024

  • Provides significant loss grants for Shawnee and Galatia School Districts (same as FY23)

  • Creates, subject to appropriations, a Veterans Property Tax Relief Reimbursement Pilot Program

  • Student loan repayment assistance for engineer’s pilot program

  • Creates the Prepare for Illinois' Future Program to provide comprehensive test preparation and professional licensure preparation, at no cost to students at Illinois colleges and universities


Elections Omnibus

  • Amends the School Code to establish November 5, 2024, as a state holiday on which schools will be closed. Closed schools shall be made available to an election authority as a polling place for 2024 General Election Day. This Section is repealed on January 1, 2025.

  • Creates a new process to preregister to vote new drivers age 16+ (effective 1/1/24)

  • Moves the deadline for drawing districts for the Chicago elected school board from July 1, 2023 to April 1, 2024


Mini TIF plus TIF Extensions HB 2518

  • Extends TIF in Channahon, Peoria, Rock Island, Champaign, Evergreen Park

  • Memorializes gentleman’s agreement on TIF (submitting letters from schools and community colleges to the GA before approval)

  • Elevates the roll of schools in TIF approval process

  • Includes specific parameters for a redevelopment project at Wilke Road and Northwest Highway, Northwest Highway and Illinois Route 53, Illinois Route 53 and Euclid Avenue, and Euclid Avenue and Wilke Road in Cook County directing funding to the school district and community college (likely D211, D213 and/or Harper College)

  • Creates a Tourism Preservation and Sustainability District in Sangamon County

 

A look ahead

In the coming weeks the Illinois General Assembly will announce the fall veto session schedule, and the governor will begin taking action on the more than 350 bills approved by the legislature.


Watch IFT Under the Dome for further updates.


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