August 19, 2018
To the Honorable Members of
The Illinois House of Representatives,
100th General Assembly:
Today I veto House Bill 5481
which mandates that information regarding class sizes be reported to ISBE
within 60 of the start of the academic year with the intention of setting
goals to limit the number of students per class.
The link between smaller class size and
improved student outcomes has indeed been proven. However, information about
classroom populations is already published on an annual basis in school report
cards, thus making the bill’s proposed reporting requirement redundant.
Additionally, current class size averages in Illinois do not differ vastly from
the goals set forth in the legislation. As written, the bill limits kindergarten
class sizes to 18 students while the current average is 19.1 students. It
requires classes in grades 1-5 to be 22 students and classes in grades 6-12 to
be 25 students, even though Illinois’ overall average class size is 20.5. We
are well on our way to universally achieving these standards, and do not need
to create additional mandates on our schools in order to reach them. This bill
would be yet another unnecessary directive from the General Assembly at the
expense of local authorities who are in a better position to determine
appropriate class sizes given local conditions.
Therefore, pursuant to Section 9(b) of Article
IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby return House Bill 5481,
entitled “AN ACT concerning education,” with the foregoing objections, vetoed
in its entirety.