Legislative Update for May 29, 2015

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Education Budget
HB 3763 and HB 4151 provide funding for K-12 education through the Illinois State Board of Education budget.  Under these bills, spending on K-12 education in FY16 would increase by $265 million.  This includes increased funding for General State Aid, with an estimated proration of 92 percent. The bill also contains an additional $85 million that will be distributed to school districts most adversely impacted by a per pupil loss as a result of proration. This bill also funds mandated categoricals at the FY16 State Board recommended levels or flat at the FY15 level.  Early childhood education would see a $25 million increase from the final FY15 appropriation.

HB 3763 also contains the full pension contribution for the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) as certified by the TRS Board of Trustees.  This amounts to a $3.7 billion appropriation.  Additionally, the appropriations bill set aside $108 million to be paid to the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP).  This is the full amount required by law for this health insurance program that was set up for retired TRS participants.

The budget for the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois Student Assistance Commission, public universities and community colleges is contained in HB 4146, HB 4147, HB 4148, SB 2029 and SB 2030. Operating grants to individual universities were decreased by 6.5 percent from the final FY15 appropriation but the budget for community college base operating grants remained flat. Funding for the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) was increased by $32 million.

The budget process is very fluid; bills are being voted on in both chambers and negotiations continue. This information is current as of Friday afternoon, but we may see changes to the budget before adjournment.

Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda
Last week we informed you of the bills and constitutional amendments introduced in the House regarding pieces of Governor Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda. None of these bills or amendments have yet been assigned to a committee.

Identical bills and constitutional amendments were introduced in the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno sponsored these bills. Although these bills received a hearing in Senate committees, none of the bills passed.

IEA opposed SB 1046, a bill that would limit collective bargaining issues by allowing school boards or voters in a school district to approve these limits. The restrictions to what could be collectively bargained include but are not limited to wages, health insurance, working conditions, staffing levels, layoffs and subcontracting. The legislation would also freeze property taxes. IEA retired member Jean Rogers testified in the Senate Executive Committee about the positive impact that collective bargaining had on women and minorities over the years.

Here is a list of the bills introduced in the Senate:

  • SB 884 (Radogno) – Lawsuit reform
  • SB 994 (Radogno) – Reforms workers’ compensation
  • SB 1046 (Radogno) – Freezes property taxes and limits collective bargaining
  • SJRCA 14 (Radogno) – Imposes term limits
  • SJRCA 15 (Radogno) – Proposes changes to the redistricting process for legislative maps

Pension Cost Shift Resolution Reaches 60 Cosponsors
HR 187 (McSweeney) – The resolution that opposes a pension cost shift for K-12 education and higher education surpassed 60 co-sponsors this week, reaching the total votes needed to pass. Although the resolution has not been allowed a vote, a total of 62 State Representatives signing on as cosponsors sends a clear message that the current discussion on cost shift would not be an option. IEA is opposed to shifting the State’s pension costs of TRS and SURS participants to suburban and downstate schools, colleges and universities. HR 187 illustrates the devastating impact shifting pension costs would have on public education, most likely resulting in the reduction of educational opportunities, laying off of school personnel and/or eliminating programs for students.

Adjournment?
Both chambers are scheduled to be in session this weekend and adjourn Sunday evening. We will provide a more detailed update after adjournment on the budget and the other education bills we discussed in our updates.