Priority Briefings

Mandate Relief to Illinois School Districts

One of the lesser known aspects of the school funding legislation signed into law by Governor Rauner on August 31, 2017, (known as SB 1947, or Public Act 100-465) is that it provides much-needed relief from some of the mandates historically imposed upon school districts statewide. Importantly, the School Code previously permitted waivers of mandates […]


OCR Provides Instructions on Transgender Student Investigations

As we have reported in previous Priority Briefings, the rights of transgender students have yet to be resolved. In the last several months, the federal government withdrew guidance that existed under the Obama Administration and federal courts have dismissed cases that could have clarified transgender students’ rights nationwide.  In light of these events, on June […]


Transgender Student Rights Recognized by U.S. Court of Appeals

As we have previously reported, the rights of transgender students have been unsettled.   A recent Federal decision may clarify this issue for Illinois students.  On May 30, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a 17-year old transgender boy in Kenosha, Wisconsin, must be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom despite the school’s […]


Courts Rule on Applicability of FOIA to School-Related Private Organizations

The Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court recently issued two important opinions clarifying when documents must be produced, not only by public bodies, but also by nongovernmental school-related organizations in response to an Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. These cases should guide such organizations in how they conduct business and preserve […]



Hospital Tax Exemptions: Major Developments But No Resolution

In three opinions issued within days of each other, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court signaled that the ongoing controversy concerning whether hospitals owned by non-profit corporations are entitled to exemption from local property taxes will continue for some time to come. The vast majority of hospitals in Illinois are owned by […]


U.S. Supreme Court Raises the Bar on FAPE

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The decision tackles a thirty-five-year-old question stemming from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley: what standard is used to determine […]



Reminder About Board Organizational Meetings

Pursuant to law, every school board must hold its organizational meeting no later than 28 days after the consolidated election. Further, new board members cannot be seated until after the official canvass of the results by the county election authority. The deadline for the canvass is not until 21 days after the election. Therefore, the […]


Restraint and Seclusion of Students with Disabilities: U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued Dear Colleague Letter: Restraint and Seclusion of Students with Disabilities on December 28, 2016.  In this Guidance, OCR states that its Civil Rights Data Collection indicates that schools restrain and seclude students with disabilities at higher rates than students without disabilities and that this […]