The House and Senate cancelled legislative session scheduled for Friday, May 20, and will return on Monday. Below is an update on the IEA legislative initiative on charter schools and the status of bills we tracked this session that could still be acted upon. When the House and Senate return next week they are scheduled every day until the adjournment date of May 31.

Union Rally

Nearly 8,000 people representing labor, community and religious organizations from across Illinois attended a rally in Springfield to call on Governor Bruce Rauner and his legislative allies to drop their harmful demands and make Illinois work for all.

Speakers highlighted how Governor Rauner has held hostage funding for critical services until his destructive policy demands are met. The governor has continued to demand reforms that would drive down the wages of working people, strip their rights to negotiate together and make it harder for injured workers to get needed care and compensation.

Thank you to IEA higher education, retired and K-12 members and IEA staff that participated in the rally.

IEA Charter School Initiative

HB 397 (Welch, D-Hillside/Holmes, D-Aurora) is an IEA initiative and has been posted for a hearing next week in the Senate Education Committee. This bill would remove the ability of any state entity to overturn the decision of a local school board to deny a charter school application. HB 397 passed out of the House just over a year ago but was never assigned to a committee by Senate President Cullerton. Earlier this year the State Charter School Commission (SCSC) overturned the City of Chicago’s school board decision to close three underperforming charter schools. Chicago Public Schools is now in favor of HB 397 and has requested an amendment that would allow the city to seize back control of those three SCSC schools.

Status of Bills

HB 306 (Guzzardi, D-Chicago/Delgado, D-Chicago)
Status: Passed house, held in Senate committee. The IEA is neutral on this bill.
The bill would allow a parent or guardian the ability to opt their student out of any state assessment. The bill passed out of the House a year ago.

HB 696 (Franks, D-Woodstock/J. Cullerton, D-Chicago)
Status: Passed House, placed in Senate Executive Committee on Special Issues. IEA is opposed.
The bill would place all units of local government, school districts, and community college districts under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) and freeze the property tax rate at the 2015 level. This legislation does not have an expiration on how long the freeze will be in effect. Thus, the freeze would be permanent. Additionally, the bill removed the current provision that would allow a county to hold a referendum to be exempt from the scope of PTELL.

HB 5729 (K. Burke, D-Evergreen Park/Biss, D-Evanston)
Status: Passed House, passed Senate Higher Education Committee, awaiting a vote by the full Senate. IEA supports the bill.
The IEA was involved in the creation of the bill which addresses the concern that approximately half of Illinois high school graduates enrolling as full-time freshmen in Illinois public community colleges require remedial education.

HB 5918 (Thapedi, D-Chicago/Martinez, D-Chicago)
Status: Passed House, passed Senate Education Committee, awaiting a vote by the full Senate. The IEA is neutral with the amendment.
This bill attempted to change the renewal period for charter schools to a range of five to ten years and capped the initial authorizing period for a new charter school to five years. The IEA negotiated an amendment that would prohibit charter schools authorized by the State Charter School Commission from being renewed for longer than five years.

SB 231 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill/Mitchell, D-Chicago)
Status: Passed the Senate, assigned to the House Executive Committee awaiting a hearing. The IEA is neutral on this bill.
This bill would make fundamental changes to school funding and is a continuation of his previous efforts in 2014 (SB 16) and 2015 (SB 1) to restructure education funding.

SB 2440 (Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood/Pritchard, R-Hinckley)
Status: Passed Senate, passed the House Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing Oversight Committee, awaiting a vote by the full House. IEA is opposed.
This bill would provide that four years of working in the capacity of a school support personnel shall be counted towards a principal endorsement for a Professional Educator License until June 30, 2021 (previously June 30, 2019).

SB 2912 (Luechtefeld, R-Okawville/Rita, D-Blue Island)
Status: Passed Senate, passed out of the House Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing Oversight Committee, awaiting a vote by the full House. IEA supports this bill as amended.
This is an initiative of the State Board of Education that makes various changes concerning educator licensure with respect to requirements for individuals with teaching credentials from other states and creates a provisional in-state endorsement. IEA supported the bill when it was amended to remove the language that would allow individuals with 60 hours of college coursework to substitute teach (current requirement is 120 hours).

SB 3304 (Rose, R-Mahomet)
Status: Assigned to and remains in the Senate Education Committee. IEA is opposed.
This bill would allow a licensed physician to teach one high school class per year in a public school district if the course is approved by the State Board of Education.