Action Alert: Support Illinois Bills for Students with Disabilities

 

March 22, 2021 | by Amber Smock

 

Chris Yun

Education Policy Analyst

cyun@accessliving.org

(312) 640-2134

Action Alert: Support Illinois Bills for Students with Disabilities

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

We need your help TODAY to support TWO special education bills in the Illinois General Assembly. The Senate and House Education Committees will hear both bills and vote on them this week.

SB 1821 COVID-19 Recovery for Students with Significant Disabilities

SB 1821 offers COVID-19 learning recovery for students with significant disabilities in transition programs statewide. These are the young adults whose transition training matters most for their adult life, but their educations were abruptly cut short due to COVID-19 before they developed essential skills or a plan for moving forward. Our ally, Senator Koehler, introduced the bill with support from Access Living, Legal Council of Health Justice, and numerous special education and disability rights advocates. The key provisions of SB 1821 are:

  • Students who were enrolled in school up to their 22nd birthday-primarily students with intellectual or developmental disabilities- but turned 22 during the pandemic (the end of the 2021-22 school year) will have an option to receive an additional year of transition services in the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Participation is completely voluntary.
  • The costs of providing these COVID-19 recovery transition services may be funded through available federal COVID-19 relief education funds (over $8 billion) allocated to the State of Illinois.
  • It does not take away any of the procedural rights that students already have if they choose not to opt into the continuation of services.
  • Students who opt in to this additional transition year waive any claims for compensatory services due to events that occurred between March 17, 2020 and the resumption of services in the 2021-2022 school year.


TAKE ACTION: We are expecting strong opposition to SB 1821 because of the cost of providing additional transition services to students. Each slip to support SB 1821 matters. Please file an electronic witness slip at this link to show that you support SB 1821! Please be sure to sign as a “proponent” (supporter) and to check “Record of Appearance Only.”

Slipping Due Date/Time: Tuesday March 23rd 1pm.

HB 2425 Give CPS Families the Opportunity to Seek Educational Remedy

You may remember the 2017-18 Public Inquiry and the State’s finding that Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) massive special education cuts were in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). HB 2425 will provide over 10,000 CPS families entitled to compensatory education for their children with time to evaluate the adequacy of the district’s proposal and seek further compensation if they deem it to be insufficient. Rep. Crespo, who has been relentlessly protecting the rights of students with disabilities introduced the bill to support our students in CPS. The key provision is:

Parents/Guardians whose children were harmed by CPS delays or denials of special education services in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years will have an extended due date, Sept. 30, 2022, to file a state complaint. An extra year will provide thousands of families with time to evaluate CPS’s compensatory education proposal and determine the best way to seek further remedy, if necessary.


TAKE ACTION: Please file an electronic witness slip at this link to show that you support HB 2425! Please be sure to sign as a “proponent” (supporter) and to check “Record of Appearance Only.”

Slipping Due Date/Time: Wednesday March 24th 8:30am

*For witness slips: when you go to each link to file your slip, fill out the info about who you are and who you represent. If you do not represent a group, you can say “self”, “parent/guardian/family of a student with a disability” or any occupational title which would represent you, such as “teacher, therapist, supporter, etc.” in Section II, Representation. In Section III, Position, check “proponent,” which means you support the bill. In Section IV, Testimony, check “record of appearance only” to show that you are only filing electronically.

Please share this with your fellow disability advocates and families and friends of students with disabilities in Illinois! If you have any questions, please contact our education policy analyst, Chris Yun, at 312-640-2134 or cyun@accessliving.org.