Class Size Bill Vetoed; Facilities Bill Signed

Bad news alert! Governor Rauner vetoed our simple class-size bill yesterday, HB5481. This is a bill many parents helped advocate for as it would have required the state to have goals around class-size and it would have required districts to report on actual, individual class size for the current school year versus a grade-level average for a previous year.

The bill offered transparency to parents and taxpayers on what class-size is at their schools, and it codifies that the state values smaller class-sizes, in conjunction with the evidenced-based model that passed last year, which placed smaller class size as one of 27 essential practices. It seems the governor or his aides did not read the bill carefully. The veto message incorrectly states that the state’s annual report cards report the same class-size information that the bill requires. First, schools only report grade-level averages; the bill would have districts report the actual class size by teacher. Second, the annual report card reports last year’s class sizes; the bill would report the current year’s class size. The message also wrongly states that the bill would “limit” or “require” smaller class sizes. The bill recommends class-size targets; it does not mandate them.

It’s unfortunate that Gov Rauner doesn’t value smaller class sizes but there’s not much we can do to change his mind. So what can we do?

Call your state legislators and tell them to override the governor’s veto.

The Senate passed this w/ a veto-proof majority but the House did not, so we need to put pressure on House members who voted no. Who are those people? Here’s the list:

And the good news! The Governor signed HB5721, the ed facilities bill, that requires CPS to develop a list of potential steps to help under-enrolled schools. It also requires improved community engagement on facilities planning and decisions. RYHA worked on this with Blocks Together who were the main proponents with Rep Sonya Harper on the bill.


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