Both chambers of the General Assembly were back in Springfield the week of March 20-24. The House deadline to move bills out of their first chamber was Friday March 24 and that meant a busy week with many committee hearings and amendments filed. The Senate deadline to advance bills out of the originating chamber is this Friday, March 31.
The Illinois General Assembly will recess the first two weeks of April; legislators will be in their districts and available to meet with constituents. Click here to find your legislator. E-mail LASR@ift-aft.org and the Department of Political Activities can help arrange a meeting!
Below are updates from this week:
HB 2396 (Rep. Canty), as amended, creates the Full-Day Kindergarten Task Force and provides that the Task Force shall conduct a statewide audit to inform the planning and implementation of full-day kindergarten. The bill then creates a three-year “on-ramp” to implementing full year kindergarten in Illinois public schools. By the 2027-2028 school year, each school board must establish a kindergarten with full-day attendance. This bill passed the House.
SB 2218 (Sen. Preston) requires districts to provide evaluation rating information disaggregated by race and ethnicity to the local union. This bill is on its third reading.
HJR 7 (Rep. Marron) establishes a Task Force for the College Insurance Program, the health insurance for retirees of community colleges. The program is in poor financial shape and the Task Force will make recommendations to remedy the plan. The House Higher Education committee approved the resolution unanimously this week.
SB 1993 (Sen. Loughran Cappel) requires a public hearing when a local education agency seeks to increase standardized testing. The bill is on its second reading in the Senate and is anticipated to move forward this week.
SB 1994 (Sen. Loughran Cappel) 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 educational needs like staffing and student services. An amendment was filed this week and we anticipate that the bill will move forward next week.
HB 2516 (Rep. Stuart) requires a public university or community college to provide an adjunct professor or 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. This bill passed the House.
HB1120 (Rep Guzzardi) provides that any renewal of a certified charter must include a union neutrality clause. It also requires a union neutrality clause to be included in a charter school proposal. This bill passed the House.
Bills Out of Committee:
HB 3382 (Rep. Evans) provides that any teacher elected by IFT to do federal advocacy work may count those days as school work days.
SB 1685 (Sen. Murphy) changes the calculation of district level graduation rates to account for students with disabilities that remain in school until age 22.
SB 2031 (Sen. Lightford) requires ISBE to issue a report by October 31, 2024, and each October after to include (i) a listing of all standard coursework or programs offered by a school, (ii) a listing of all advanced-track coursework or programs offered by a school, (iii) a listing of all English learner coursework or programs offered by a school, (iv) a listing of all special education coursework or programs offered by a school, (v) data tables and graphs comparing advanced-track coursework or programs with standard coursework or programs according to specified parameters, and (vi) specified data for each race and ethnicity category and gender category.
SB 2039 (Sen. Pacione-Zayas) provides that the State Board of Education shall work in collaboration with the Department of Human Services and with school districts to ensure that all students with intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities and their parents or guardians are informed about the PUNS database.
SB 2348 (Sen. Ventura) requires that school districts shall provide, in addition to and not substituting recess, at least one half-period of the school day for relaxation activities that enhance the mental and physical health of students.
SB 1488 (Sen. Bennett) as amended, suspends the edTPA until summer 2025. The bill also creates a Task Force to reexamine how student teachers are assessed.
Bills Passed the House:
HB 296 (Rep. Stuart) as amended, suspends the edTPA until summer 2025. The bills also creates a Task Force to reexamine how student teachers are assessed.
HB 2368 (Rep. Davis) provides that, within 30 days after the beginning of its fiscal year, each State agency shall publicly report its expenditures for the previous fiscal year by submitting a report with specified information to the General Assembly.
HB 2392 (Rep. Scherer), with respect to a school district's teacher evaluation plan, provides that a teacher does not need to undergo the last evaluation cycle before the teacher retires if the teacher has notified the school district of the teacher's intent to retire.
HB 2469 (Rep. 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 2471 (Rep. West) supports any Illinois school to provide a free breakfast and lunch to all students who need and want one, improving nutrition security and reducing stigma. The bill was developed with the support of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. More info can be found here.
HB 2503 (Rep. Stuart) 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.
HB 2773 (Rep. Flowers) provides that school districts shall teach students how to read using phonics.
HB2789 (Rep. Stava-Murray) protects the freedom of public libraries and library systems to acquire materials without external limitation and to be protected against attempts to ban, remove, or otherwise restrict access to books or other materials.
HB 2817 (Rep. 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 their compensation.
HB 3224 (Rep. 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 3428 (Rep. Blair-Sherlock) provides that a school district, public school, charter school, or nonpublic school shall (instead of may) maintain a supply of an opioid antagonist in any secure location where an individual may have an opioid overdose.
HB 3442 (Rep. Crespo) provides that a district may continue to employ that same substitute teacher in that same vacant position for 90 calendar days or until the end of the semester, whichever is greater.
HB 3445 (Rep. Walsh) allows public universities and community colleges to receive financial incentives for solar projects through the Illinois' Adjustable Block Program.
HB 3559 (Rep. Yang Rohr) provides that a school building's emergency and crisis response plan, protocol, and procedures shall include a plan for local law enforcement to rapidly enter a school building in the event of an emergency.
HB 3592 (Rep. Mussman), in provisions concerning dismissal due to sexual abuse, changes the requirements for any charges involving any witness who is or was at the time of the alleged conduct was a student or person under the age of 18. The IFT is opposed to this legislation as currently drafted.
HB 3643 (Rep. 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 to be included in the IEP plan.
Bills Passed the Senate:
SB 1233 (Sen. Halpin) provides that each school district that provides a 457 plan shall make available to participants a minimum of one financial institution or investment provider.
SB 2243 (Sen. Lightford) requires that by January 31, 2024, ISBE develop and adopt a comprehensive literacy plan.
SB 2390 (Sen. Lightford) is an ISBE licensure clean-up bill. This would lessen the residency requirement for alternative certification from two years to one (with intensive mentoring supports in the second year), extends the ability of a school district to use a short-term substitute teacher through June 30, 2028, and gives early childhood teachers seeking their PEL an additional five years to complete that degree.
Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Development:
Appropriations committees continue to take testimony from agencies and interest groups on the FY24 state budget. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee heard from the Illinois Math and Science Academy, Illinois Education Labor Relations Board, and Northern Illinois University. The House Appropriations Education Committee heard testimony on Principal Mentoring and Recruitment and subject matter testimony on HB 3991 (Crespo), legislation that would create a $35 million new arrival grant program to assist schools in serving migrant students arriving from Texas in late 2022. The House Appropriations Higher Education Committee heard from the University of Illinois and Chicago State University; there was a stark difference between the needs of the two universities and legislators pointed out the racial impacts of the funding discrepancies.
This week the IFT will testify in support of the Virtual Instructional Coaching and Mentoring Program, National Board Certified Teacher program, and Teacher Mentoring.
Legislators continue their weekly meetings to prepare the state budget bill in preparation for the May 19 scheduled adjournment.
The consolidated election is scheduled for April 4, 2023. In preparation, check to see if your union is supporting particular candidates. Your union vets candidates to determine where they stand on issues important to you, your colleagues, and your community before choosing to endorse them.
Do your own research. Look at a sample ballot before election day so you know who is running and learn what they stand for.
Find out where their money is coming from. Beware of candidates funded by Awake Illinois, the Proud Boys, Moms for Liberty, or other groups with radical agendas.
A Look Ahead
The House and Senate return to Springfield today, Tuesday March 28. Both chambers will focus on moving legislation out of its originating chamber and on to the next.
Watch IFT’s Under the Dome for updates.