State school board to vote on legislative agenda
Educator misconduct policies, licensure changes are on the list
By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on its legislative agenda for the upcoming fall veto session and regular spring 2020 legislative session when it meets in East St. Louis this week.
On the agenda for that regular meeting, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at the East St. Louis School District 189 administration building, are recommendations for a pair of trailer bills for the fall veto session and safeguards relating to educator misconduct to be discussed in spring session.
According to the meeting agenda, the policy positions are recommended by Illinois Superintendent of Schools Carmen Ayala.
One of the trailer bills is a follow-up to Senate Bill 1952, which eliminated the requirement for educators to pass a basic skills test and revamped other licensing requirements. The trailer bill would allow someone who holds a high school diploma to obtain an educator’s license with a paraprofessional endorsement if they pass a paraprofessional competency test.
That legislation would also reinsert a provision to require individuals teaching at charter schools to pass a content area test if they do not have an educator license.
Another trailer bill would follow up on House Bill 3302, extending the time for individuals to file due process hearing requests for special education services that were delayed or denied in the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 school year in certain districts.
The recommendations for the spring legislative session include changes to licensure and educator misconduct policies and general cleanup of the school code.
Ayala is expected to recommend a pair of educator misconduct safeguards. The first would require a local state’s attorney to notify ISBE when certain charges are filed against any individual who holds a license issued by ISBE.
The other provision would require regional offices of education and intermediate service centers to submit updated background check hits to ISBE, to notify the employer and to update a teacher’s state licensure account within 10 business days of receiving the updated background check information.
The board plans to support measures revising requirements for alternative licensure programs among a number of other licensure-related initiatives as well.
One recommendation would make licenses for visiting international teachers valid for five years, up from three. Substitute teachers would be allowed to fill a vacant teaching position in an emergency situation for 90 days, up from 30.
Another recommendation would allow career and technical educators to renew their licenses with a test of workplace proficiency.
The superintendent is also expected to recommend that, in cases where mental illness is the cause of suspension or expulsion, a representative from a local mental health agency be invited to the board meeting, instead of an Illinois Department of Human Services representative.
The school code cleanup language would eliminate statutorily required groups which no longer meet, move the special education child count from December to October and change enrollment reporting for private special education facilities.
If the recommendations are approved at the meeting, the board will move forward in drafting legislation and pursuing legislative sponsors for the measures.
The board is also scheduled to discuss its strategic plan at the meeting, refining its mission, vision and educational equity statements. It will also consider draft statements on students, learning conditions and quality of staff.
The board will also hear background and progress information regarding East St. Louis School District 189 and North Chicago CUSD 187, a pair of districts legally subject to greater state oversight as they strive for increased test scores and financial performance.
The board is scheduled to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the same location for further action and a closed session to discuss litigation. Both meetings will be broadcast live and can be accessed by clicking the “LISTEN IN” link that appears at the bottom of the www.isbe.net home page at the start of the meeting.
Once that regular session concludes at approximately noon, the board will host the first of four state education budget hearings. More information can be found and budget requests can be submitted at https://www.isbe.net/budget.