March Madness is upon us! Not in the way you might traditionally think about it if you are into college basketball, but every bit as unpredictable and entertaining. To date, more than 6,000 bills or resolutions have been introduced by members of the General Assembly for consideration; 2,200 in the Senate and 3,800 in the House. That is an astounding number! The number of bills introduced in the session following a statewide general election reflects the wide variety of issues that legislators are seeking to resolve or clarify via legislation. For a perspective on the likelihood of a bill making it all the way through the legislative process, consider that in the 100th General Assembly, which spanned a two-year period, only 1,110 initiatives became law. You can understand why getting a bill out of committee is so essential and why the month of March is so critical.

So, for the next three weeks in the Senate and the next four weeks in the House, members of the General Assembly will be working to get their bills heard in substantive committees and passed by a simple majority with the hope that their initiative will then be heard by all the members of the chamber. The deadline for Senate bills to pass out of committee is Mar. 21.

A similar courtship will take place in the House, but it will be over a four-week period. The deadline for House bills to pass out of committee is Mar. 29. Let the games begin!

Repeal 3 percent

We need your help in telling our lawmakers to reverse the 3 percent salary threshold and put it back to 6 percent. Click here to sign the 3 percent repeal petition and email your legislators.

IEA initiated bills – status

HB 247 (Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates; Rep. Yehiel Kalish, D-Chicago) Provides that for a pupil of legal school age and in kindergarten or any of grades one through 12, a day of attendance shall be counted only for sessions of not less than five clock hours of school work per day. The IEA supports this bill and it is on the order of second reading.

HB 350 (Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison; Rep. Michael Halpin, D-Rock Island; Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro; Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville; Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton; Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville; Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana; Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside; Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago; Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St Louis; Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Alton; Rep. Lawrence Walsh, D-Joliet; Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville; Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet; Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-DuPage; Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Round Lake; Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Downers Grove; Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago; Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee; Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora; Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford; Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield; Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Crete; Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur; Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago; Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria; Rep. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago; Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna; Rep. C. D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville; Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago) Requires an employer to make an additional employer contribution for a participant whose earnings for any academic year used to determine the final rate of earnings exceed the amount of his or her earnings with the same employer for the previous academic year by more than 6 percent (instead of 3 percent). The IEA supports this bill and it is placed on third reading.

HB 1472 (Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville; Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia; Rep. Dave Severin, R-Benton; Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro) In the provision defining “eligible employment” for the purpose of allowing a teacher to return to teaching in subject shortage areas without impairing his or her retirement status or retirement annuity, changes the ending date of the employment from no later than June 30, 2019 to no later than June 30, 2021. The IEA supports this bill and it is placed on third reading.

HB 2087 (Rep. Jonathon Carroll, D-Northbrook) Provides that under no circumstances may the student take the entire driver education course through a distance learning program. The IEA supports this bill and it assigned to the Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum and Policies Committee.

HB 2561 (Rep. Theresa Mah, D-Chicago) In the case of a college or university meeting certain criteria, for services performed in an instructional, research, or principal administrative capacity, provides that a person is presumed not to have reasonable assurance of employment under an offer that is conditioned on enrollment, funding, or program changes. The IEA supports this bill and it is assigned to the Labor and Commerce Committee.

SB 10 (Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill; Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Orland Hills; Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora; Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood; Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago; Sen. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon; Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg; Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago; Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago) Provides that in fixing the salaries of teachers, a school board shall pay those who serve on a full-time basis a rate not less than (i) $32,076 for the 2020-21 school year, (ii) $34,576 for the 2021-22 school year, (iii) $37,076 for the 2022-23 school year, and (iv) $40,000 for the 2023-24 school year. The IEA supports this bill and it is placed on second reading.

SB 28 (Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood) Provides that for a pupil of legal school age and in kindergarten or any of grades one through 12, a day of attendance shall be counted only for sessions of not less than five clock hours of school work per day. The IEA supports this bill and it is placed on third reading.

SB 60 (Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood; Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg; Sen. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon; Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Rock Island; Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Cahokia; Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign; Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora; Sen. Laura Murphy, D-Des Plaines; Sen. David Koehler, D-Edwards; Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo; Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris; Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill) Requires an employer to make an additional employer contribution for a participant whose earnings for any academic year used to determine the final rate of earnings exceed the amount of his or her earnings with the same employer for the previous academic year by more than 6 percent (instead of 3 percent). The IEA supports this bill and it is assigned to Appropriations I Committee.

Committee action bill

Charter schools

HB 2100 (Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago) Provides for transfer of authorization to a local school board or boards. It abolishes the state charter school commission. IEA supports this bill, which passed out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Administration Licensing and Charter School Committee on a partisan vote of 5-3.

State Board of Education

Governor Pritzker appointed eight new members and reappointed one member to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) this week. Members were sworn in at the state board meeting on Tuesday and one of their first actions was to select and swear in a new state superintendent. Dr. Carmen I. Ayala will begin serving as the 30th State Superintendent of Education, effective March 1. With more than 30 years of education experience, Ayala most recently served as the superintendent at Berwyn North School District 98 and served on ISBE’s Professional Review Panel. She replaces Tony Smith and becomes the first permanent female state superintendent.

Board members include:

  • Darren Reisberg, who will serve as the chair of the board, is a lawyer and currently works as a vice president and deputy provost at the University of Chicago. He previously worked at ISBE as general counsel and deputy superintendent.
  • Jackie Robbins, who is a former teacher at Dunlap High School and retired UniServ Director from the IEA where she served from 2007-2017.
  • Cynthia Latimer, has more than 33 years of experience in the Aurora school districts. She most recently served as an assistant superintendent in West Aurora School District 129 before retiring.
  • Susan Morrison, a former teacher who also worked as a deputy superintendent at ISBE. Morrison is the only holdover from the previous board.
  • Cristina Pacione-Zayas, who currently serves as director of policy at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school and research institute with a special focus on early childhood education. Pacione-Zayas will also serve as the secretary of the board.
  • Christine Benson has more than 35 years of teaching and administrative experience, including as superintendent at a high school and two small elementary districts southwest of Chicago for almost 20 years.
  • Jane Quinlan has a background in educators’ professional development and is the regional superintendent of the Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education.
  • David Lett, who retired after spending more than 35 years in education as a teacher, principal and most recently a superintendent for Pana Community Unit School District 8. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
  • Donna Simpson Leak, who is currently superintendent of Community Consolidated School District 168 and formerly a superintendent at Rich Township High School District 227. Simpson will serve as vice chair of the board.

Important dates

A schedule for each chamber can be found on the General Assembly website.

Next week

  • The Senate and House are in session next week.
  • The Senate and House are scheduled to remain in session through May 31.