Priority Briefings

Hospital Exemption Law Held Unconstitutional

In an opinion issued on January 5, 2016, the Illinois Appellate Court has held that the law which allows hospitals to obtain property tax exemptions under easy-to-meet standards is invalid as inconsistent with the terms of the Illinois Constitution. The decision in the case of The Carle Foundation v. Cunningham Township is significant for school […]

Board Enters Settlement Agreement with OCR to Resolve Claims of Transgender Discrimination

Last month, we reported on the findings made by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the closely-watched investigation into a suburban high school District’s treatment of a transgender student (Unsettled: Transgender Student Civil Rights, The Student, a biological male, identifies as a female.  The Student’s OCR complaint alleged the […]

40th Anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the IDEA (November 29, 1975), the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has released new guidance clarifying its expectation that a child’s annual IEP goals are to be aligned with state academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled. Under the IDEA, a child with […]

Unsettled: Transgender Student Civil Rights

In a case garnering significant national attention, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has determined that an Illinois district has violated the civil rights of a transgender high school student. Over the last several years, Township High School District 211 has permitted transgender students to use the bathroom of their identified […]

Broadening Educational Opportunities: New Federal Resources on English Learners and on Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs

English Learners Tool Kit In January, we reported on newly released joint guidance from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, which outlined a school district’s obligation to ensure that English Learners have equal access to a high-quality education. (English Learner Students: New Federal Guidance, In support of that guidance, the Office of English […]

Senate Bill 100 and Recent Student Discipline Cases

Illinois Legislature Dramatically Reforms Out-Of-School Disciplinary Procedures Governor Rauner signed Senate Bill 100 into law as Public Act 99-456 on August 24, 2015. The bill, which aims to address the school-to-prison pipeline, dramatically reforms the circumstances under and the processes by which a school district can impose out-of-school discipline. School districts do not need to […]

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 […]