SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Education Association (IEA) worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the governor’s office and other education stakeholders to ensure, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, schools will be provided adequate state funding for public education. The budget bill passed both chambers late Saturday and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“Our students and our educators can rest assured no matter what school you attend or work in – your school will have adequate funding to operate without negatively impacting our students’ education or our educators’ livelihoods,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “We know we are living in unprecedented times, but we are grateful the legislature continues to recognize the importance of a high-quality education for the students who live in our great state. This budget means our students won’t miss out anything this fall no matter what back to school looks like this year. We also believe the budget passed by the General Assembly means our schools and universities will have the funding necessary to prevent any cuts to education positions from pre-K-12 teachers to support staff to our higher education professors.”
Along with the budget bill, lawmakers also passed Senate Bill 1569 (SB1569) an education funding bill aimed at protecting students and educators in the face of COVID-19. SB 1569 does the following:
- Special Education – Calls for ISBE to work with the federal government to acquire waivers from certain provisions of individualized education plans, also known as IEPs, that cannot be fulfilled during stay-at-home orders. It also lays out ways to measure a school district’s capabilities to provide special education services during the pandemic.
- Remote learning – Provides districts the ability to create and implement both e-learning and blended remote learning days.
- Educator licensure extension – Provides a year-long licensure extension for those teaching and education support professional licenses set to expire on June 30, 2020.
- Teacher performance evaluations – Outlines procedures and protections for performance evaluations, including a carryover of an “Excellent” rating from the previous evaluation period.
- Teacher dismissal and remediation plans – Provides procedures and protections for teacher dismissal hearings and remediation plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.