Springfield round-up: our student data privacy and class size goals bills pass both houses!

Two RYH Action initiatives pass both chambers!

After many rounds of negotiations, trips to Springfield, hundreds of calls and witness slips filed and a subject matter hearing in the House last summer, our student data privacy bill HB3606 passed in both chambers! Parents will now have a right to know what data is being collected in school, how it’s being used, the ability to inspect, correct and delete it, and there will be mandatory policies about data breaches. (More on what this bill does here.) Thanks to our chief sponsors Rep Rob Martwick and Sen Omar Aquino, and all of you who put in the work to achieve this!

HB254, our class-size goals bill also passed both chambers. This bill requires districts to share actual class size data in the fall of the same school year, giving parents timely transparency. While this is just a small first step in bringing attention to the importance of small class sizes, if the Governor signs it, it will be the first law specifically about class size on the books in IL. Thanks to our chief sponsors Rep Will Guzzardi and Sen Robert Peters.

Bills we supported with other organizations that passed and are on to the Governor’s desk

  • SB1226 will abolish the State Charter Commission, hand over its administration to ISBE and end appeals for new charter applications denied by local boards. (ISBE will still be able to over turn local districts decisions to close charter schools, like the current state commission can.) This is an issue we’ve been working on with other orgs including the state’s teachers unions for many years, and this bill will be a major improvement over the current policy. More here from WBEZ: Illinois Charter School Battles Coming To A Head As Bill Advances
  • HB3302 is a special ed bill that passed in both chambers and extends the statute of limitations to file a complaint for students who lost services or were denied services by CPS during 2016-2018.  
  • HB1475 The Seizure Smart School Act- this bill expands protections for students with epilepsy by allowing for delegated care aides to receive training on the administration of emergency medication and other tasks included in their seizure action plan. This bill also says a school can’t make admission decisions for students with epilepsy based on whether the school has a nurse.
  • HB822 this bill allows for doctors to prescribe Glucagon, an emergency medication for students with diabetes, to schools (and not just individual families) and allows for nurses and delegated care aides to administer undesignated glucagon in the event a child does not have the medication at school or it has expired.
  • HB3586 is another special ed bill. It will increase transparency on special education policies and services: For all Illinois school districts, parents will have five days to review documentation before an IEP meeting. ISBE will create a state-wide hotline for reporting issues with special education service provision. And CPS will be required to post any special ed policy changes publicly 45 days before adoption.

Several bills we worked on with other organizations aren’t scheduled for floor votes by the end of the day today, but will likely undergo further negotiation during the summer in hopes of coming up again in veto session this fall, including:

  • HB2267, the elected school board bill. This passed in the House (yet again!) in April with 110 yes votes. But Senate President Cullerton and Mayor Lightfoot expressed concerns with that bill and did not attempt to amend it to deal with those concerns. We’ll have to keep pushing!
  • HB256 which would prohibit any requirement of videotaping for student teachers. (WBEZ had a story on this bill last week.)
  • SB453 which would bring background check requirements for LSC members in line with Level 2 volunteers
  • HB3358, an important consumer data privacy bill that would provide additional protections for children (and adult)’s data in and out of school. (HB3358 applies to “general audience” sites and online services that HB3306 doesn’t cover because it is about educational software and sites.)

In addition, the General Assembly voted to put a referendum on the November 2020 ballot to ask voters in IL if they support a graduated income tax. They also approved a tax rate structure to be included:

Sun-Times: Graduated income tax question heads to ballot as House OKs constitutional amendment

NBC Ward Room: Illinois' Graduated Income Tax Plan: What You Need to Know

Finally, the state budget was released yesterday, and, unfortunately, it looks like the neo-voucher tax scholarship credit program won’t disappear like Gov. Pritzker promised on the campaign trail. On a somewhat happier note, the annual required increment of $350 million that will bring the state K-12 education funding budget to adequacy in 2051 is included in the budget, with an additional $25 million added on for FY 2020.



[Photo used via Creative Commons]