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Lawmakers recommend changes to school recognition status process

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(WSIL) -- Illinois' Joint Committee on Administrative Rules met Tuesday to discuss the state's polarizing mask mandate.

The committee debated whether to make the mandate permanent in all schools and if it's an overreach of state government.

Lawmakers voted unanimously to recommend changes to the Illinois State Board of Education's school recognition status process. Members did not vote to make the mandate permanent.

RELATED: Vienna superintendent weighs in on state recognition process

Republican concerns on government overreach lay at the heart of Tuesday's discussions.

Sen. Don DeWitte (R-West Dundee) questioned ISBE's authority after it threatened to pull recognition from schools that didn't follow the mandate. Losing state recognition could result in a school's loss of state funding and ability to play sports.

ISBE officials argue the mandate is 'lawfully issued and enforceable' and strengthened by Illinois' three injunction victories against schools that refused to follow the mandate. But Republican members argued the mandate is a 'policy outside of rule'.

"I find it interesting that the bill was filed yet not heard or voted on," DeWitte said.

The committee is now recommending ISBE to expand and clarify school recognition status within 30 days. That includes providing a clearer definition of due process for schools before revoking recognition.

The committee's next meeting is Tuesday, October 19 at 10:30 a.m.

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Danny Valle

Danny Valle anchors News 3 This Morning on Saturday and Sunday and reports Monday-Wednesday at News 3 WSIL. He joined the team in 2017 as a morning producer, before becoming an anchor in 2018, and reporter in 2019. Danny graduated from SIU-Carbondale in 2015, earning a Bachelor’s in Electronic Journalism with a specialization in Sports Broadcasting.

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