Priority Briefings

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 […]


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 […]