Momentum in Springfield for Healthy Schools

May 07, 2007

by Mark Bishop, HSC Deputy Director

So much activity related to school health is going on in Springfield this year that it’s hard to keep it all straight.

HSC’s Green Clean Schools Act (HB895) sailed through the Senate Education Committee with comments from senators such as, “This is a great bill” and “I’m proud to put my name on this piece of legislation.” Sen. Iris Martinez is our Senate sponsor.

Now it seems as if we have the momentum to get this bill passed, but we can’t let up yet –- we still have our work ahead of us to let other senators know about the importance of green cleaning before the bill is brought to a vote before the full Senate.

If the Senate approves the Green Clean Schools Act, Illinois will become only the second state to require green cleaning in schools. (Right now, New York is the only state with this requirement.)

Check out a few of the other bills related to healthy schools that are really moving in Springfield:

Energy Efficient School Construction Grants (SB505) 
This bill from HSC and our allies would provide schools with additional funding through the school construction grant program to build to sustainable and energy efficient standards. After an overwhelmingly positive 48-8 vote in the Senate, the bill has moved to the House. On May 8, the House Education Committee will hold a hearing on the bill. 

School Recess Bill (HB1335)
This bill would require CPS to offer at least 10 minutes of recess to students in grades K-6. On April 24, Parents United for Healthy Schools brought more than 40 parent leaders and 15 students to Springfield to lobby for this bill. The very next day we had nine more co-sponsors (up from just one sponsor) and this week the House approved the bill! On Tuesday, Parents United is holding a press conference at Mitchell School to announce this victory and keep the momentum going as the bill moves to the Senate.

School Health Center Act (SB715)
This bill requires IDHS to open twenty new school heath centers over 5 years and build capacity at existing centers. On May 2, the Senate passed this bill. The bill, championed by Sen. Donne Trotter, will now head to the House with the support of the lead sponsor, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers is leading the efforts on this bill.

School Renewable Energy Grants (HB0285)
This bill will establish a renewable energy grant program at ISBE to assist school districts with building renewable energy sources in the public schools. This bill was approved by the House and is on final reading in the Senate.

We’ll keep you posted as these bills progress!