Priority Briefings

Beware Topic Creep in Closed Session

School board members, administrators, attorneys: we have all been there. The school board has voted correctly to go into closed session to talk about a topic which is a proper one, say employment of specific personnel, the sale price of district-owned property, or collective bargaining matters. But after a few minutes, board members’ comments and […]


June School Board Meeting Agenda Reminders

As school district officials prepare the agenda for their June school board meetings, it is best to remember two routine but essential annual actions which should be on that agenda. Prevailing Wages. The Illinois Prevailing Wage Act (820 ILCS 130/0.01 et seq.) establishes a policy under which school districts and other public bodies must require […]


U.S. Department of Education Reminds All Schools to Designate a Title IX Coordinator

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs receiving federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all federally funded education programs and requires school districts, colleges, […]


Delegation of Educational Rights Form Gives Parents Right to Sue

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the federal circuit that includes Illinois and two other states, issued an opinion, Stanek v. St. Charles Community Unit School District #303, on April 9, 2015, interpreting Illinois special education law regarding a parent’s ability to file suit on behalf of their adult child under the Individuals […]


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 […]


Email Access to Board Members Must be Posted

Last year, the General Assembly enacted an amendment to the Local Records Act (P.A. 98-930) which imposes a new posting mandate on all school districts, as well as other local governmental units, which maintain a website. No later than April 1, 2015, every district must post to its website a mechanism for members of the […]


Student Privacy and Online Educational Service Providers: New Guidance

The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as a resource for schools and school districts to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems.  As we discussed at our 2014 Fall Legal Breakfast, in February 2014, PTAC issued guidance entitled Protecting Student […]


Same Sex Spouses Now Covered by FMLA

By Final Rule published February 25, 2015, and effective March 27, 2015, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) definition of spouse is amended to include persons in legally married same-sex couples.  The change was made to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and […]


Supreme Court on Tax Objections: No Harm, No Foul, Part 2

            In October, we reported on the Illinois Appellate Court decision in G.I.S. Venture v. Novak (“G.I.S. Venture II”) concerning school district financial practices. While noting that the decision was still subject to possible Illinois Supreme Court review, we observed that the biggest takeaway on the opinion is that taxpayers cannot obtain monetary relief simply […]


ENGLISH LEARNER STUDENTS: NEW FEDERAL GUIDANCE

         On January 7, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ) issued a joint Dear Colleague Letter regarding English Learner (EL) Students and Limited English Proficient (LEP) Parents to assist schools in meeting their legal obligation to ensure that these students can […]