HB 363 passes Senate: CPS Facilities Task Force in the making

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The Illinois Senate today passed a modified version of a bill that creates a Chicago Education Facilities Task Force to review the city’s school closing and construction policies and recommend new rules to govern facility decisions by Chicago Public Schools leaders.

Community groups have long been frustrated and confused by the district’s criteria for closing and reconstituting schools, and they want a “master facilities plan” to guide future closings, rehabs and new construction.

The Senate voted 53-0-5 on the measure (HB363); the House version passed 118-0 in April.

The Illinois Senate today passed a modified version of a bill that creates a Chicago Education Facilities Task Force to review the city’s school closing and construction policies and recommend new rules to govern facility decisions by Chicago Public Schools leaders.

Community groups have long been frustrated and confused by the district’s criteria for closing and reconstituting schools, and they want a “master facilities plan” to guide future closings, rehabs and new construction.

The Senate voted 53-0-5 on the measure (HB363); the House version passed 118-0 in April.

Don Moore, one of the bill’s architects and executive director of Designs for Change, expects the House to accept the Senate’s changes soon, possibly by next week. The governor would then have 60 days to sign or veto the bill.

The Senate version, according to Moore, differs in two main ways. First, lawmakers changed the member appointment rules—giving Republicans a clear say in who will sit on the 15-member task force. Also, lawmakers moved back to Oct. 30 – from Sept. 30 – the due date for the task force’s final recommendations.

The task force would consist of eight lawmakers, two appointed by the Speaker of the House, two by the Senate President and two each by leaders in the minority party. The Speaker and Senate President would also appoint four representatives—two appointments each—from community groups with expertise in facilities issues. The School Board, the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Principal and Administrators Association would also appoint one representative each.

Read the Senate amendment on the General Assembly website.