Priority Briefings

Racial Inequality in Special Education: U.S. Department of Education Releases Regulations and Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a Dear Colleague Letter: Preventing Racial Discrimination in Special Education on December 12, 2016.  In this Guidance, OCR states that it continues to find (1) over-identification of students of color as having disabilities; (2) under-identification of students of color who do have disabilities; and […]

Appellate Court: Student Handbooks are not Contracts and Administrators Afforded Discretion to Manage Bullying

In Mulvey v. Carl Sandberg HS,  2016 IL App (1st) 151615, two sisters brought claims against their high school, the school district, and various school officials and coaches alleging that they had suffered bullying at the hands of their basketball teammates.  They claimed that they were ignored, harassed, humiliated, physically assaulted, injured, and intimidated by […]

Illinois Supreme Court Clarifies Role Of The School Board In Tenured Teacher For Cause Dismissal Hearings After Senate Bill 7

On December 1st, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion in a case eagerly anticipated by Illinois school attorneys, administrators, and school board leaders.  In Beggs v. Board of Education of Murphysboro Community Unit School District No. 186, the Illinois Supreme Court for the first time addressed the modifications to Section 24-12 of the Illinois […]

Nationwide Injunction Halts New Department of Labor Overtime Rule (for now)

On November 22, 2016, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing its final rule updating the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The injunction is effective on a nationwide basis […]

Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment

Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment:  Possible Impact on School District Levies On the ballot for next week’s general election is a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution which would limit how certain revenues from transportation sources are used. Referred to by its supporters as the “Safe Roads Amendment” – this proposal defines certain transportation-related […]

Travel Expenses of District Officials to be Regulated

The General Assembly recently enacted the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act (Public Act 99-0604). The Act, which takes effect on January 1, 2017, requires “public agencies” (including school districts, community college districts, and units of local government other than home rule units) to either adopt a resolution or pass an ordinance regulating the reimbursement […]

Search of Student Cell Phones: Recent Decision Favoring Schools

One difficult issue facing public school officials is under what circumstances are searches of the personal items of students legally permissible. Nowhere is this more difficult than when the personal item in question is the content of electronic messages and images on a cell phone. The law in this area is still evolving, as a […]

Student Residency: HB 4606 Would Make Significant Changes in Hearing Procedures

Student residency has long been a concern of school districts in Illinois. The current process for determining disputed residency issues is performed under the authority of the board of education and the final decision rests with the board.  School Code Section 10-20.12b specifically states that, “[t]he board of education’s decision is final.”  Courts could review […]

Fund Transfer Authority Extension Bill Approved

One of the most useful tools for school district fund management has been the power of school boards to transfer money between the major operating funds under Section 17-2A of the School Code. While that section still contains the significant limitation that any such transfer be for “one-time, non-recurring expenses”, for several years the General […]