Priority Briefings

CEREMONIAL PRAYER PERMISSIBLE AT LOCAL BOARD MEETINGS

           Last month, in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, the United States Supreme Court extended its precedent permitting a ceremonial prayer at the beginning of a legislative session to a local government town council meeting.  Although that case concerned a municipal governing board and the justices provided varying opinions to support their […]


STATE’S ATTORNEYS SUBJECT TO FOIA

          Reversing the decision of the Appellate Court last year, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the office of the State’s Attorney in each county is indeed subject to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).           FOIA, which requires the disclosure of most state and local governmental records upon request from any member of […]


COURT DELAYS EFFECTIVE DATE OF PENSION REFORM LAW

The Circuit Court of Sangamon County issued a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on Wednesday, May 15, that delays the effective date of the Pension Reform Law until underlying litigation contesting the validity of the law is decided.  The Law was scheduled to take effect on June 1, 2014. Two immediate questions raised by […]


Confidentiality Issues in Online Educational Services: Guidance and Best Practices from U.S. Department of Education

          With the increased use of technology by school districts to enhance student learning comes challenges with regard to student privacy and security practices. These challenges prompted the U.S. Department of Education to create the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (“PTAC”) as an informational resource to help educators, online educational service providers, and parents.  On February […]


Hot Off The Presses: Federal School Climate and Discipline Guidance Package

          On January 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJ) issued a joint “School Climate and Discipline Guidance Package” to assist schools with creating positive, safe environments and understanding civil rights obligations.  OCR noted that schools continue to struggle with creating […]


Round-Up of New Public Acts Affecting Special Education

Public Act 98-0219 (effective 8/09/13):  Initial IEPs and Part-Time Student IEPs Must Be Implemented Within 10 School Attendance Days Section 14-6.01 of the School Code has been amended to provide that initial IEPs and IEPs for part-time students must be implemented no later than 10 school attendance days after prior written notice is given to […]


New Law Addresses Right to Access Students’ Social Network Accounts

On January 1, 2014, the Illinois Right to Privacy in the School Setting Act, Public Act 09-0129, will go into effect.  The Act addresses school officials’ ability to obtain access to the “pages” of students’ social network accounts.  The new law covers both public elementary and secondary school districts, as well as nonpublic schools “recognized […]


Naming Names: PAC Issues an Opinion Requiring Employee Names in Board Actions

The Office of the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) has issued a decision finding that a school board violated the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when it took final action on an employment matter without identifying the employee by name. In the case reviewed by the PAC, the school board held a dismissal hearing […]


Amendments to ISSRA Regulations

Effective June 19, 2013, the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA) regulations are amended to provide for revised definitions of “health-related information,” “permanent record,” and “school student record,” as well as a revised definition of the responsibilities of the designated “official records custodian.” The regulatory amendments add that “health-related information” also includes documentation regarding the […]


New Guidance on Braille Instruction

In response to concerns voiced by parents and advocates about a significant decrease in Braille instruction, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has issued guidance to reaffirm the importance of Braille and Braille instruction for blind and visually impaired students. OSEP reiterates in this Dear Colleague Letter that Braille instruction […]