Senator Steans

August 30, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Yesterday the Senate passed a historic school funding reform measure to replace a decades-old formula that has led to the most inequitable school funding system in the nation. After years of negotiations, Illinois is poised to move forward with an evidence-based school funding model that will more adequately and equitably fund schools for all Illinois children. It strives to level the playing field by funneling new money into school districts that are the least able to offer a high-quality education based on student needs, local property wealth and a district’s taxing effort. It has passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature.

 

School funding town hall flyerI will answer questions about this landmark school funding reform and how it affects Chicago Public Schools at a town hall on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. at Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave. In the meantime, I wanted to provide you with an overview of what the legislation contains.

 

Senate Bill 1947 retains the language of Senate Bill 1 regarding the evidence-based funding model and adequacy levels. Under SB 1947, no school district will receive less funding than it did in Fiscal Year 2017 and funding will be distributed on a per-district basis. The legislation also retains a minimum school funding level, an idea that the governor had removed in his amendatory veto.

 

This legislation implements many beneficial changes for Chicago Public Schools. It provides $221.3 million to cover CPS’ normal pension costs for this year and establishes a continuing appropriation for CPS’ normal pension costs moving forward. CPS is the only school district in the state that pays for the employer’s portion of pension costs. SB 1947 does sunset the Chicago Block Grant, but it holds CPS harmless like every other school district so that it will not lose funding as a result of the change. SB 1947 also authorizes CPS to increase its dedicated levy for teacher pensions from 0.383 percent to 0.567 percent to address its unfunded pension liability.

 

I know many of you have concerns over the tax credit scholarship program. I do not support vouchers or using public money for private schools and would not have voted for the tax credit scholarship program if it had been a stand-alone bill. The Senate was able to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1, but in order for school funding reform to pass the House it needed support from both parties and compromises had to be made. The $75 million tax credit, which is a five-year pilot program, was the price tag for bipartisan support on a school funding reform measure that will benefit every school district in the state.

 

The tax credit scholarship program provides a 75 percent tax credit of up to $1 million to any taxpayer who contributes scholarship funding for students to attend private or parochial schools. Corporate donors may only donate to organizations or networks of schools, but individuals can donate to specific schools. Students who meet certain poverty guidelines may qualify for a scholarship.

 

SB 1947 also contains mandate relief that superintendents have requested. SB 1947 allows school districts to contract with commercial driver training schools and reduces the requirement for physical education to three times per week. School districts may choose to continue to require more physical education classes.

 

This school funding reform measure also includes property tax relief. Starting in fiscal year 2019, up to $50 million of funding may be appropriated to fund property tax relief grants to high-rate, low-wealth school districts. Additionally, school districts that are above 110 percent adequacy may reduce property taxes by referendum if 10 percent of voters in the district sign a petition to place the question on the ballot.

 

I’m sure many of you have additional questions. I hope to see you at my town hall next Thursday.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

Upcoming events in the district

 

 

48th ward back to school celebration flyer

 

Chicago Seven Steps to Managing your Memory flyer

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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Senator Steans

August 24, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Please join me this Sunday, Aug. 27 for the annual 49th Ward Back to School Picnic. The event will begin at noon and run until 4 p.m. at Loyola Park, located at the intersection of Farwell and the Lake. There will be music, complimentary food, face painting, free haircuts and entertainment. I hope that you will be able to join me for this fun family activity.

 

The governor has recently signed several pieces of legislation that I sponsored. Please read below for highlights of new laws coming to Illinois.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

Back to school picnic flyer

 

New protection for social service providers

 

Senator Steans on the Senate floorUnder a new law that I sponsored, social service providers will have at least 30 days’ notice of a change in contracts with the state. House Bill 3110 allows authorized social service providers and the state to terminate, suspend or reduce a contract for any reason as long as the other party is provided with 30 days’ notice. This legislation only applies to non-governmental social service providers.

 

Immediate contract changes can create an immense financial hardship for social service providers and those they serve. In the aftermath of the budget impasse, I felt it was important to increase protections for social service contracts and afford providers with more notice so that they can better prepare for financial changes in the future.

 

House Bill 3110 also requires state agencies to provide 45 days’ written notice to the governor and legislative leaders if they intend to change a contract because of either a reduction of funds or a failure of appropriation. This gives the legislature time to act to prevent reductions of services if they so choose.

 

Increased mental health training for police officers

 

Police officers in Illinois will be better prepared to respond to and de-escalate mental health crises under a new law I sponsored. With recent funding cuts and gaps in the mental health system, officers are increasingly responding to situations that involve people with mental illness. They need to be trained to recognize signs of mental illness and know how to de-escalate these interactions for the safety of those they encounter, as well as for their own protection.

 

House Bill 375, signed into law Tuesday, requires the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board to create a police training course on awareness of mental health issues. It also expands training requirements for probationary officers and expands police in-service requirements to include training on mental health awareness and response.

 

New law safeguards against vandalism to religious facilities

 

Starting in January of 2018, Illinois will have new safeguards against hate crimes. Under House Bill 2390, a hate crime will include crimes that are committed on the grounds of a place identified or associated with a particular religion, not just inside a church, synagogue or place of worship.

 

The law removes the $1,000 restitution cap and allows courts to impose a fine on the perpetrator that is commensurate with the injury or damages caused. Courts will also have the discretion to award punitive damages. Under HB 2390, parents and legal guardians will now be held liable for any damages caused by a minor.

 

Clarity to electric bicycle regulations

 

The governor recently signed legislation I sponsored to create three new classifications for electric and low-speed gas bicycles. This will better prepare riders and public safety officers in the coming years as e-bicycles continue to gain popularity.

 

Under Senate Bill 396, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, e-bicycle riders will be able to access roads that are currently authorized for bicycle use, including bicycle paths, unless otherwise prohibited by the local municipality. Local authorities can regulate the operation of electric bicycles.

 

Other upcoming events in the district

 

48th Ward Back to School Picnic
Join us for the 48th ward Back to School Picnic on Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 5-7 p.m. on the Senn High School Lawn, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave. This event is free and open to the public. There will be live music, giveaways and fun for the family.

 

Presentation by Dr. Andrew Budson on Alzheimer’s and managing memory
Please join us for a free presentation by Dr. Andrew Budson on his new book Seven Steps to Managing your Memory: What’s Normal, What’s Not, and What to Do About It on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Rogers Park Library. Dr. Budson is a neurology professor at Boston University.

Chicago Seven Steps to Managing your Memory flyer

School funding town hall
I am hosting a town hall on Sept. 7 to discuss how the budget and recent school funding reform will affect Chicago Public Schools. The event will run from 6-7:30 p.m. at Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave. The town hall will include a presentation followed by time for questions.

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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www.SenatorSteans.com

 

 

Senator Steans

August 14, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Yesterday I voted to override the governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, a landmark school funding reform measure. With this vote, students across Illinois are one step closer to a fair school funding formula for the first time in decades.

 

Senator Steans in a committee hearingSenate Bill 1 implements an evidence-based school funding model which uses 27 evidence-based practices to improve student achievement. It strives to level the playing field by funneling new money into school districts that are the least able to offer a high-quality education based on student needs, local property wealth and a district’s taxing effort. Under Senate Bill 1, no school district would receive less funding than it did in Fiscal Year 2017.

 

Though this legislation has been debated and negotiated over the course of four years, the governor made over 100 changes to Senate Bill 1 in his amendatory veto. He issued his veto before he had full economic modeling about how his provisions would affect each school district. His veto removed equity for Chicago by stripping Chicago Public Schools of nearly $500 million in funding and created uncertainty for districts across the state.

 

In his veto, the governor tied funding to enrollment, which would negatively impact districts that are already struggling. He also removed the minimum funding level and pitted economic development against education by punishing areas with Tax Increment Financing districts and property tax caps. Under the governor’s plan, the assessed value of TIF districts would be included in the overall assessed value of the district, which is used to calculate how much state funding a school district receives. Most TIF revenue is not available to schools.

 

Though most school districts have stated that schools will open this fall, some have indicated that without state aid, they may close as soon as October. This would have a devastating impact on our communities and classrooms.

 

The motion to override now moves to the House, which may take up the measure as soon as Wednesday. In order to pass, three-fifths of members must vote to override the governor’s veto. I will keep you updated on how this legislation progresses.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

Backpack and school supply drive

 

Our annual sponsor-a-student backpack drive has been extended until August 18. Please click here to review the list of supplies we are collecting and click here to sign up for the drive.

Backpack and school supply drive flyer

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

 

Senator Steans

July 27, 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Join my office this evening at 6 p.m. at the Gale Community Academy auditorium, 1631 W Jonquil Terrace, to watch a live stream of Senator Andy Manar’s school funding town hall. Senator Manar is the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 1, which replaces Illinois’ worst-in-the nation school funding formula with one that adequately and equitably funds schools for the first time in decades. This is an opportunity for you to get the facts directly from the source.

 

Under Senate Bill 1, no school district would receive less funding than it did in Fiscal Year 2017. Despite this, the governor is threatening to use his amendatory veto power to make CPS the only school district in the state to lose money in the new school funding formula. Find out tonight how you can help encourage him to support Illinois students and Senate Bill 1.

 

Speakers tonight will include Senator Manar, Rep. Christian Mitchell, three school superintendents from central Illinois and Teresa Ramos from Advance Illinois. They will provide an overview and update on Senate Bill 1.

 

What: Live stream of school funding town hall with Senator Manar

When: 6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 27

Where: Gale Community Academy auditorium, 1631 W Jonquil Terrace, 60626

 

For those of you who are unable to attend the watch party, tune in to Senator Manar’s Facebook page for a live broadcast of the event.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather A. Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

Upcoming events


Annual backpack drive

As we head into fall, please consider sponsoring a student in the district with school supplies. I am working in partnership with local elected officials and community organizations to provide a variety of supplies for elementary and high school students. We are looking for donors to sponsor a student or contribute individual supplies. Click here to review the supplies list and click here to sign up for the drive. The drive is now open and ends on August 11.

 

Annual backpack drive flyer

 

 

Rogers Park Community Pet Day

I hope you will join me on August 12 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Pottawattomie Park, 7340 N. Rogers, for the Rogers Park Community Pet Day. There will be free microchips for the first 100 pets and low-cost vaccines available. The City of Chicago will also have staff on hand to register dogs.

 

Rogers Park Community Pet Day flyer

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

Unsubscribe

www.SenatorSteans.com

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Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
623 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492