Legislative Update

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What Does SB 1947 Mean for K-12 Physical Education?
September 4, 2017 

The main purpose of SB 1947 is to create an equalized system for providing school funding in Illinois.  Reaching a compromise on budgetary issues was an ongoing battle throughout the legislative session.  The General Assembly finally passed a budget in early July but had not addressed the school funding packaged.  The lack of a funding agreement left many school districts in Illinois uncertain whether they would be able to remain open for the entire school year.  When a compromise was finally reached on SB 1947 several components were added:  school vouchers, individual tax credits, a reduction of PE requirements and outsourcing drivers education were last minute add-ons. 

Drastic changes have been made to the Physical Education mandate.  The key components include:  instructional time allotted for PE, exemptions from PE, waivers for PE, and  a streamlined waiver process.  The components of SB 1947 that directly impact PE are outlined in this document.

Instructional Time Allotted for Physical Education

The daily requirement has been removed from the law.

The local school board may determine the frequency of physical education courses.  Student must participate in a minimum of 3 days per week of physical education.

Exemption from Physical Education

A school board may also, on a case-by-case basis, excuse pupils in grades 7 through 12 who participate in an interscholastic or extracurricular athletic program from engaging in physical education courses.

Physical Education Waiver

Approved waiver may remain in effect for a period not to exceed 5 school years and may be renewed by the eligible applicant.

The 2 year limit on PE waivers has been removed from the law.

The limit on the number of PE waivers has been removed from the law.

Waiver Requests Streamlined

The process for waiver requests to be reviewed and approved or disapproved by the General Assembly has been streamline.  The purpose is to reduce the number of waiver requests going before the General Assembly.  Changes to the waiver request process are outlined below.

The waiver report will now be reviewed by the four leaders: 

  • the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
  • the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives;
  • the President of Senate; and
  • the Minority Leader of the Senate

The four person panel shall review the waiver report that is submitted by the State Board of Education (ISBE).  The four person panel shall provide the ISBE within 14 days notice of any waiver request that will require further consideration.  If 3 or more of the four leaders submit notice of further consideration, the ISBE shall submit the waiver request to the General Assembly.  If fewer than 3 submit the request for consideration the request shall be denied.  If the ISBE does not act on a waiver request within 10 days, then the waiver request is approved.  If the waiver request is denied by the ISBE, it shall be submitted to the General Assembly.

If you have forgotten how to locate your State Senator or Representative the information below should help you. Locate your State Representative and Senator (the one with a Springfield office) phone numbers and email addresses Legislator Look Up. Follow the link by typing in your home address. This will direct you to your state legislators (not the folks with a Washington D.C. address)