The House and Senate are scheduled to adjourn May 19 - a mere 16 session days away! This week was the deadline to pass bills out of cross-chamber committees. Discussions around development of the FY24 state budget are ongoing and the focus now is on getting bills finalized and prepared to go to the Governor’s desk.
Below is a summary of bill action this week:
IFT Initiatives that Advanced Out of Opposite Chamber Committee
Testing: Reduce high-stakes standardized testing in schools.
SB 1993 (Loughran-Cappel/Canty), as amended, requires a public discussion and vote when a school district seeks to increase standardized testing. Passed the Senate and on second reading in the House.
Evaluation: Reform burdensome and racially biased educator evaluation practices.
SB 2218 (Preston/Evans) requires districts to provide evaluation rating information disaggregated by race and ethnicity to the local union. Passed the Senate and on second reading in the House.
HB 3570 (Faver Dias/Preston) requires ISBE to issue a report on teacher evaluation data. Passed the House and on second reading in the Senate.
SB 1994 (Loughran-Cappel/Yednock) requires districts to calculate their three-year average operating expenses each year and report their cash on hand. If their cash reserves ever exceed 2.5 times their annual average, they would have to submit a plan to ISBE for how they intend to spend those reserves. Passed the Senate and on second reading in the House.
SB 2391 (Pacione-Zayas/Collins) strengthens and expands the Sustainable Community Schools model. Passed the Senate and on second reading in the House.
Ensuring Children’s Access to Kindergarten
HB 2396 (Canty/Lightford) creates a Full Day Kindergarten Task Force comprised of a diverse set of stakeholders across the state. The task force is charged with conducting a statewide audit of full day kindergarten including capacity and costs of providing full day kindergarten to inform the planning and implementation. The bill also provides a four-year timeframe for impacted districts to move to providing full-day kindergarten and an extension for those districts that would need to delay. Passed the House and posted for hearing in the Senate Education Committee May 2.
SB 1646 (Martwick/Kifowit) allows retiree PSRP’s to return to work as substitute teachers in the Chicago Public Schools. Passed the Senate and on second reading in the House.
HJR 7 (Marron/Faraci) establishes a Task Force for the College Insurance Program, the health insurance for retirees of community colleges. The legislation is now in the Senate pending consideration. IFT staff provided testimony to the House Higher Education Appropriation Committee regarding the unveiling of a plan provided by Central Management Services that attempts to unilaterally enact legislation without any input from stakeholders. Passed the House and requested to be released from Senate Assignments.
Other Legislation of Interest by Topic
SB 1235 (Martwick/ Kifowit) provides full service credit for a month in which an adjunct professor has worked. The legislation passed the Senate earlier this year and is now headed to the House floor for further consideration. Passed the Senate and on second reading in the House.
SB 1468 (Bennett/Stuart) extends the ability of retired educators to return to substitute teach for up to 120 days through June 30, 2026. Passed the Senate and on second reading in the House.
Minimum Teacher Salary
HB 300 (Stuart) is a trailer bill to PA 101-443 passed in 2019. The bill exempts salary increases in excess of 6% to be compliant with the minimum salary law and establishes a process for escalating the minimum salaries for teachers beyond the 2023-24 school year. House second reading; deadline for action extended to May 19.
HB 3744 (Evans) amends the Department of Central Management Services Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois. Provides that the Department of Central Management Services shall annually report to the General Assembly information about the workforce in each State agency. This bill passed the House and is on second reading in the Senate.
HB 1120 (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 and is on second reading in the Senate.
SB 689 (Simmons) provides that school districts, libraries, village libraries, library systems and their staff shall not limit access to biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, or any other books or materials in libraries. Libraries may limit these materials for public safety reasons or based upon the age and developmental level of persons who will have access to those books or materials. This bill passed the Senate and has arrived in the House.
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. Passed the House and is on third reading in the Senate.
SB 2225 (Glowiak Hilton) creates the Classrooms First Commission. Requires the Commission to make recommendations to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the electorate on the number of school districts in this State and where reorganization and realignment of school districts into unit districts would be beneficial. These recommendations would then be sent to the Regional Superintendent with the intent of placing the consolidation question on the ballot in the next election. The IFT opposes this legislation and believes school consolidation issues should be handled at the local level. This bill was discussed briefly in a subject matter only hearing and was not called for a vote.
SB 1872 (Lightford/Vella) allows an educator receiving three “proficient” or two “excellent” ratings to be considered tenured in three (rather than four) years. Passed the Senate and has arrived in the House for consideration.
SB 1352 (Lightford/Carroll) adjusts and clarifies the law pertaining to resignation of any full time teacher. Passed the Senate and has arrived in the House for consideration.
HB 2471 (West) as amended and subject to appropriation, provides that the State Board of Education shall establish the Healthy School Meals for All Program to begin on July 1, 2023. Provides that each school board of a school district or governing body of a nonpublic school that chooses to participate in the Healthy School Meals for All Program shall offer eligible meals, without charge, to all students enrolled in schools that participate in the National School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program. Passed the House and is on second reading in the Senate. The House Appropriations Education Committee will hear testimony on the bill on Tuesday, May 2.
Early Childhood Workforce
The IFT provided written testimony at a joint hearing of the House/Senate Early Childhood Committee on Wednesday, April 26. The hearing was held to address the state of Illinois's early childhood investments that ensure quality care for all children. Testimony was provided via in-person, virtual, and written from experts, practitioners, advocates, and those with lived experience in early childhood.
A Look Ahead
The House and Senate return to Springfield on Tuesday, May 2. Both chambers will focus on moving legislation out of the second chamber.
Watch IFT’s Under the Dome for updates.