Chicago Principals & Administrators Association

SB3514

Your voice heard.

SUPPORT SB 3514
Special Education Staffing

 
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Three separate findings from WBEZ, the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, and a Coalition of special education legal advocates indicates CPS established an unlawful process for staffing special education programs that lacked clarity and transparency, overruled the legal authority of the Individualized Education Program (IEP), and left hundreds of special education programs understaffed with little recourse to remedy their situations. This bill creates a clear and transparent process for ensuring adequate special education staffing.


PROBLEM: Underfunded Position Costs

CPS determine staffing needs, but then underfunded the staff positions with strategies such as a 4% budget holdback and underestimates of position costs. As a result, schools could not hire all the staff their students needed

HOW THIS BILL FIXES THE PROBLEM

This bill mandates that CPS fund the full cost of each position needed at a school based on the cost of the full salary and benefits of the person staffed in each position.


PROBLEM: Secretive Discriminatory Appeals Process

CPS understaffed schools and instituted a secretive appeals process that was grossly discriminatory by race and class

HOW THIS BILL FIXES THE PROBLEM

This bill gives the principal and IEP Team the power to determine staffing, describes criteria by which staffing levels can be set, and puts restrictions on CPS’s ability to reduce those staffing levels.


PROBLEM: Illegal Criteria for Staffing Denials

CPS denied appeals based on criteria that violates federal law, such as a school having a “higher than average” number of special education classroom assistants, and unsubstantiated suspicion of IEP fraud, much like the American right wing uses unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud to pass laws intended to deny voting rights to certain segments of the population.

HOW THIS BILL FIXES THE PROBLEM

CPS can no longer fail to fund a position based on claims of IEP fraud. Instead they must fund the position until there is an investigation that proves such claims and then have the IEP reconvene to correct the IEP before pulling a position or service.


PROBLEM: Zero-Sum Budget Competition between Special Ed and General Ed

CPS forced principals to use general education funds to pay for special education obligations.

HOW THIS BILL FIXES THE PROBLEM

This bill prohibits incentives or protocols that would require a school to allocate funds from other parts of its budget to fund special education needs.


PROBLEM: Technological Impediments to IEP Services

CPS used automated computer functions and restrictive time windows to delay and deny services to students with a legitimate need for them.

HOW THIS BILL FIXES THE PROBLEM

●      This bill prohibits such practices.


How can you help?

This important bill has passed the Illinois State Senate. Now the fight shifts to the Illinois House of Representatives. Contact your Illinois State Representatives today and ask them to support this bill.

Click here to view the full text of SB 3514

The sponsor of SB 3514 is Senator Mattie Hunter. Click here to read Senator Hunter's statement after the Senate's 51-0 vote in favor of SB 3514.