Priority Briefings

FIRM CHANGE

Dear Friends: We would like to announce some major changes taking place at our law firm. Our relationship with 3 of our attorneys – Alan Sraga, Teri Engler, and Cynthia Baasten – has ended.  We wish them all well in their future plans.  If you have any questions about how this change affects your representation […]


SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE FILING LOCATIONS

          The April 7, 2015, consolidated election will be the first one for which school board candidates must file their petitions with county election officials instead of with the local school district office.  Provided herein are those filing locations in various counties.  The filing period begins on December 15 and ends on December 22, 2014. […]


APPELLATE COURT ON TAX OBJECTIONS: NO HARM, NO FOUL

The Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, issued a decision on September 30, in G.I.S. Venture v. Novak (“G.I.S. Venture II”) with an opinion favorable to school district financial practices. The same court in G.I.S. Venture I (2009) had ruled that, when school districts abate their working cash funds, the abated funds must be transferred only […]


SCHOOL DISTRICTS SUBJECT TO ZONING REGULATIONS

          For the first time, the Illinois Appellate Court has ruled without condition that school districts are subject to the zoning regulations of local municipalities. The ruling was announced this month in the case of Gruba vs. Community High School District 155, 2014 Ill App 2d 140098.            The facts of the case are relatively […]


MORE PUBLIC ACCESS GUIDANCE: SPEAKER ADDRESSES, EMPLOYEE PHOTOS, LATE RESPONSES, AND STUDENT RECORDS

            We periodically provide updates on recent legal opinions from the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (“PAC”) regarding the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”) and the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Here are summaries of recent PAC opinions of interest to school districts.  OMA – PAC Binding Opinion 14-009: Speaker Addresses             The Attorney General’s […]


UPDATE ON RECALL RIGHTS FOR 2013-14 RIFS

          On July 18, 2014, we reported on new recall rights made effective July 1, 2014, by P.A. 98-0648. Our Priority Briefing stated that any teacher who was in Grouping 2 of the sequence of honorable dismissal list as a result of one “needs improvement” rating and a second “satisfactory”, “proficient” or “excellent”, and who […]


EMPLOYEE PHYSICALS: SCHOOL CODE AMENDMENT EXPANDS AND ALTERS REQUIREMENTS

Public Act 98-0716, effective July 16, 2014, amends Section 24-5 of the School Code.  The amendments add a broad definition of who is an “employee” under this section that expands its applicable scope.  Now under the Act, new “employees” who are subject to the foregoing requirements include: Any new employee of a school district Student […]


IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED: NEW RECALL RIGHTS EFFECTIVE FOR 2013-14 RIFS

            Effective July 1, 2014, limited recall rights have been extended by P.A. 98-0648 to certain teachers receiving a “needs improvement” performance rating.  Prior to this Act, Senate Bill 7 had deprived all teachers in Grouping 2 of the sequence of honorable dismissal list of any recall rights in the event of a reduction in […]


SEARCHING SMART PHONES: DIGITAL CONTENT SUBJECT TO 4TH AMENDMENT PROTECTION

          The United States Supreme Court has recently issued opinions restricting law enforcement searches of the digital content of smart phones.  Those decisions should have implications for school officials’ searches of student phones, as well.            The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects our right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers […]


NEW ANTI-BULLYING LEGISLATION REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO EXPAND EXISTING POLICY AND PROCEDURES

            Governor Quinn has signed into law Public Act 98-0669, which amends Section 5/27-23.7 of the Illinois School Code by requiring schools to expand their existing anti-bullying policies based on collaboration with a range of school stakeholders, including students and parents/guardians.  The new law covers public elementary and secondary school districts, as well as charter […]