Recently, a fair map initiative was filed in the Illinois House for this General Assembly and Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) signed on as a co-sponsor. House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA) 43 was filed to amend the Illinois Constitution in order to put an end to Congressional and legislative gerrymandering in the Land of Lincoln. Representative Bourne has pushed for years to put an end to the unfair political remapping process in Illinois and she is calling for the Illinois General Assembly to take up the issue to ensure fair districting maps so that every Illinoisan truly has a voice.

CHANGE Illinois, as a part of the Illinois Redistricting Collaborative, spent months drafting this amendment and worked with Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) to get it filed in the Illinois General Assembly.

“Our redistricting reform amendment establishes an independent redistricting commission to draw Illinois’ maps and make it clear that the public not politicians should control the process,” said Brad McMillan, Co-Chair of CHANGE Illinois and the Illinois Redistricting Collaborative. “With this amendment now filed, Illinois voters around the state can ask their members of the Illinois House and Senate if they’ll support this specific, concrete solution to end gerrymandering.”

“For years, Illinois politicians from both parties have proliferated gerrymandering for their own party’s advantage. It’s time to end this rigged political process where the majority party picks districts for politicians. This is a major concern of people in my district and reform on this issue is long overdue. This constitutional amendment will bring fair representation to Illinois and will return power back to the people,” said Representative Bourne. She added, “Redistricting reform is what the people want and it must be called for a vote.”



In response to the teacher and substitute teacher shortage in Illinois, State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) signed on as Chief Co-Sponsor of House Bill 5627. The legislation will make it easier for educators coming from other states to teach in Illinois and to make it simpler for substitute teachers to meet licensure requirements.

Representative Avery Bourne stated that the bill is the result of recommendations brought forward by the Illinois State Board of Education in an attempt to address the shortage and said, “With this change in state law, the amount of red tape will be cut significantly. Our rural school districts are suffering and this will alleviate the struggles and allow many qualified teachers and substitutes the freedom to do what they were trained to do-educate.”

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, there are currently 2,013 unfilled positions in the state. The total includes teachers, administrative staff, and school support staff. If this bill becomes law, it will address this deficiency by making the following changes:

·       Creates full reciprocity of out-of-state applicants for a Professional Educator License (PEL). This will allow out-of-state licensed educators to teach in Illinois without meeting additional requirements.

·       Makes an individual with a PEL eligible to substitute teach without a Substitute Teaching License, enables an individual with a lapsed PEL to be able to substitute teach, and provides that any individual who has completed 60 credit hours of coursework is eligible to receive a Substitute Teaching License.

·       Provides that an Alternative Educator Licensure Program should be a one-year program instead of a two-year program.

·       Clarifies that professional development may be completed at any time during after issuance of the license.

On April 6th, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 863 into law. It is another piece of legislation that will address the teacher shortage by making it easier for teachers with out-of-state credentials to get licensed in Illinois.

The new law also alleviates an immediate problem for a significant number of schools who hired out-of-state Speech Language Pathologists (SLP), only to find that the state’s licensing process was prohibitively burdensome. As a result, many of the SLPs could not begin work.

The two provisions allow for out-of-state teachers to become licensed in-state by [1] providing evidence of completing a comparable state-approved educator prep program, or [2] holding a comparable and valid license with similar grade and subject credentials from another state.

 
Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) is proud to announce the winners of her Illinois Bicentennial Themed Art Contest that had over 150 submissions this year. The art contest was open to all children who live or learn within Illinois’ 95th House District and was held to promote the arts and recognize the artistic talents of local students.

Rep. Bourne said, “Our annual Art Contest just keeps growing. This year we had a record number of entries and I was extremely impressed by the talent of these local students.”

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners were selected in two groups; kindergarten through 4th grade and 5th through 8th grade. The first place winners in each group will have the opportunity to attend a regular session day at the Statehouse on the day that their artwork is presented in the House Chambers. Additionally, all 1st through 3rd winners in each group will be invited to Rep. Bourne’s District Office in Litchfield for pizza.

Winners are announced by name, grade, school, and title of their work:

K-4th Grade Winners
1st - Anna Cloninger, homeschooler from Plainview in 4th grade, “Beaver Dam”
2nd - Klaire Cole, 4th grade at North Mac Intermediate School, “Abe Lincoln”
3rd - Makenna Harding, 2nd grade at Carlinville Primary School, “Happy Birthday Illinois”


5-8th Grade Winners
1st - Malerie Eyer-Mayberry, 6th grade at North Mac Middle School, “Birthday Cake”
2nd - Mady Landreth, 6th grade at Wolf Ridge School in Bunker Hill, “US Flag in Illinois”
3rd - Ryan Kleckner, 5th grade at Zion Lutheran School in Staunton, “Illinois Flag”
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) announced that The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is issuing vouchers today to the Illinois State Comptroller, paving the way for the new tier funding portion of fiscal year 2018 Evidence-Based Funding to flow to the State’s most under-resourced districts. ISBE issued the vouchers, concluding months of partnership with school districts and lawmakers to deliver accurate and on-time distributions.

“This funding was secured with the passage of bipartisan legislation that I co-sponsored in the House this General Assembly. This rework of an antiquated formula will fundamentally alter the way we fund our schools and, as a result, improve the lives of millions of schoolchildren throughout Illinois,” said Rep. Bourne. She added, “Downstate schools will benefit greatly from the new funding formula and will finally receive the resources they need for success.”

Representative Bourne explained that in the past Illinois operated on a decades-old formula that perpetuated an education funding system that did not send state dollars to the school that need it most first. Lawmakers came together this General Assembly to remedy the broken formula, reached a compromise, and on August 31, 2017, the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act became law.  Since the passage of that landmark legislation, the State Board of Education found fixes that needed to be made legislatively before the full model could be implemented. Bourne also co-sponsored that fix to the formula which now makes full implementation possible.

“Implementing a radically new funding formula required extraordinary effort by ISBE staff and school districts,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I deeply appreciate Governor Rauner and the General Assembly’s commitment through the passage, cleanup, and distribution of this historic first year of Evidence-Based Funding.”

“The EBF numbers show staggering inequity,” Smith said. “We now have common language to talk about the needs of our students and the situated-ness of our schools within communities. We have a common understanding of what all of our children deserve.”

You can learn more about the Evidence-Based Funding formula at https://www.isbe.net/ebf2018.