The Illinois General Assembly returned to Springfield this week to take action on more than 6,500 bills filed for consideration. The deadline to pass bills out of House and Senate committees was Friday March 10.
The legislature is scheduled to be in session through May 19. The Illinois Constitution provides legislators with a May 31 deadline to pass bills, including the budget, with simple majorities.
Below is a snapshot of bill action so far this spring.
Illinois Federation of Teachers Initiatives that Advanced Out of Committee
Testing: Reduce high-stakes standardized testing in schools.
SB 1993 requires a public hearing when a local education agency seeks to increase standardized testing.
Evaluation: Reform burdensome and racially biased educator evaluation practices.
SB 2218 requires districts to provide evaluation rating information disaggregated by race and ethnicity to the local union.
HB 3570 requires ISBE to analyze and assess teacher evaluation data and for schools to provide mentoring support to tenured educators rated “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” to receive mentoring and coaching support.
SB 1994 limits the amount of funds a school district can keep in reserve to 250 days of operating expenses. This will ensure funds are being spent on education needs like staffing and student services.
Ensuring Children’s Access to Kindergarten
HB 2396 provides that all schools in the State of Illinois will provide students the opportunity for a full-day kindergarten experience.
HB 3561 seeks to develop and retain key educator positions in the Chicago Public Schools via the creation and funding of an educator pipeline development program.
HB 2516 (Stuart) requires a public university or community college to provide an adjunct professor, part-time, or non-tenure track faculty member hired to teach a class on campus with free campus parking or full reimbursement for the cost of campus parking for that academic term.
Other Legislation of Interest by Topic
SB 1468 (Bennett) extends the ability of retired educators to return to substitute teach for up to 120 days through June 30, 2026.
SB 1872 (Lightford) allows an educator receiving three “proficient” or two “excellent” ratings to be considered tenured in three (rather than four) years.
SB 2236 (Cappel) removes the June 30, 2023, expiration date for issuing short-term substitute teacher licenses.
HB 3907 (Stuart) provides that school boards shall allow all educators to have daily continuous uninterrupted individual classroom planning time.
HB 1124 (Mussman) requires school districts to screen students in grades K-2 for foundational literacy skills via a universal screener. The IFT has been in conversation with the proponents of this bill regarding concerns with the bill language; the sponsor of the bill agreed to hold the bill until an agreement is reached.
HB 2872 (Mayfield) provides that, in consultation with education stakeholders, ISBE shall develop and adopt a comprehensive literacy plan for the State on or before October 1, 2023.
HB 3147 (Favar Dias) requires ISBE to adopt and make available to each publicly-funded school district: a rubric to evaluate curricula and select and implement an evidence-based, culturally-inclusive core reading instruction program, a template to support school districts to develop comprehensive, district-wide literacy plans that include support for special student populations, including multilingual, diverse, and gifted students and guidance on evidence-based literacy coaching structures to support teachers and close opportunity gaps among student demographic groups. The bill also includes a requirement for ISBE to develop and make available evidence-based training opportunities in teaching reading by September 1, 2024. The bill also establishes a low-stakes test in reading foundations for candidates seeking licensure in the areas of early childhood education, early childhood special education, elementary grades 1 – 6, reading specialist, reading teacher, learning behavior specialist I, special education general curriculum director of special education, and principal as instruction leader, paid for by the State at no cost to candidates or programs, beginning with candidates seeking licensure after October 1, 2025.
HB 2789 (Stava Murray) provides that Illinois libraries would only be eligible for state funding grants if they provide a written statement committing to the public’s access to books, such as adhering to the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights or agreeing to follow the ALA’s best practices guidelines for book challenges. The bill is an initiative of Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias to curb book banning efforts.
Paraprofessional and School Related Staff
HB 2784/SB 2052 establishes a minimum hourly rate of $20 for the 2024-2025 school year, $21 for the 2025-2026 school year, and $22 for the 2026-2027 school year. After that, the minimum hourly rate be adjusted by the Consumer Price Index.
Licensure and Training
SB 2390 (Pacione-Zayas) is an ISBE initiative intended to combat the teacher shortage in Illinois. Changes include:
Decreases the length of preparation for alternative teacher licensure from two to one year with one year of intensive in-district mentoring and support;
Amends Public Act (PA) 100-0645 to extend the sunset date to allow individuals with a Gateways ECE Credential Level of 5 and individuals with an ELS-TBE license to teach in Preschool for All and Preschool for All Expansion programs by 5 years;
Requires nonpublic schools to check the Statewide Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Database for any applicant seeking employment with them;
Allows school districts to adopt a policy to waive tuition costs for nonresident pupils of school district employees; and
Amends PA 100-0596 to extend the short-term substitute teacher license by 5 years.
HB 2442 (Guerrero-Cuellar) allows Chicago Public Schools to offer licensure endorsements to educators in the district. Amendatory language has been requested to address portability of the endorsements.
HB 2469 (Ortiz) prohibits a school board or local school council from prohibiting the right of a student to wear or accessorize graduation attire with items associated with the student's cultural or ethnic identity or any protected characteristic or category identified in the Illinois Human Rights Act.
HB 3116 (Stuart) provides that at least once every two years, a school board shall conduct in-service training on homelessness for all school personnel.
HB 3798 (Stava-Murray) provides that, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, all internships for school social workers must be paid internships.
SB 2354 (Ventura) creates the Science in Elementary Schools Task Force to explore providing science curriculum to students in grades K-8.
SB 2374 (Lightford) provides that, subject to appropriation, the State Board of Education shall establish a competitive grant program to support the development or enhancement of computer science programs in the K-12 schools. This bill is an initiative of the Illinois State Board of Education.
HB 2156 (Keicher) requires that student identification cards include information about the Safe2Help Illinois helpline.
HB 2287 (Moylan) provides that all school buses that are newly purchased, leased, or contracted after January 1, 2028, shall be an electric vehicle.
HB 3157 (Stava-Murray) provides that each school board shall provide LGBTQIA+ diversity training for educators who have not previously received training.
HB 3402 (Chung) provides that, when hiring physical education, music, and visual arts educators, school districts must prioritize the hiring of educators who hold a teaching license and endorsement in those content areas.
HB 3442 (Crespo) clarifies the process around hiring a substitute teacher and the length of time the substitute can work in a vacant position.
HB 3524 (Favar Dias) creates the Air Quality in Schools Task Force.
HB 3713 (Lilly) puts in place processes at the school level to increase the air quality in schools.
HB 3224 (Ness) provides that, as part of transition planning, a school district shall provide a student and the parent or guardian of the student (instead of just the student) with information about the district's career and technical education opportunities.
HB 3860 (Benton) provides if a student with an IEP needs extra accommodation during emergencies, then the accommodation shall be taken into account when developing a student's IEP plan.
HB 3681 (Benton) requires the creation of an Equity for Autistic Students Commission to research, recommend, and review policies that affect autistic students.
HB 3643 (Syed) provides that in the development of the individualized education program for a student who is 17 years of age or older, or will be during that academic year, the IEP team shall consider voter registration as an appropriate goal or competency to be included in the IEP plan.
HB 2823 (Ortiz) removes the requirement that the individual must attend school in this State for at least 3 years as of the date the individual graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma to qualify as an Illinois resident.
SB 1895 (Faraci) requires a university or community college to provide all necessary coursework materials for rental, free of charge to any student who meets certain qualifications. Senator is continuing conversations with the Universities and an amendment to the bill is anticipated.
SB 2240 (Johnson) provides that beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year, each community college board must provide remediation data for all students that previously attended a member high school and have attended a community college. Currently this data is already provided through ISBE. IFT, IEA, and the Illinois Community College Board oppose this bill as drafted and continue to work with the sponsor on the issue.
SB 2250 (Halpin) allows students to attend community colleges that they don’t live within the boundaries of if the community college they are served by doesn’t offer the program they are interested in participating in.
SB 1233 (Halpin) seeks to add deferred compensation options to school districts benefit plans. The bill is still being negotiated and amendments are anticipated.
HB 2817 (Lilly) provides that no State agency or hospital shall pay from State funds, in whole or in part, and no employee of a State agency or hospital may receive a bonus as all or part of his or her compensation.
HB3744 amends the Department of Central Management Services Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois and provides that the Department of Central Management Services shall annually report to the General Assembly information about the workforce in each State agency.
A Look Ahead
The House returns to Springfield on Tuesday March 14, and the Senate returns on March 21; action will now be focused on approving bills.
Watch IFT’s Under the Dome for updates from the upcoming session.