Priority Briefings

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 […]

Transgender Student Rights. . . A Little More Clear?

On May 13, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice issued a joint Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students. The Dear Colleague letter cemented in policy what the agencies had previously determined through a series of decisions and settlements.  The letter asserts that a school that fails to comply with Title IX, […]

New Special Education Rules

Effective January 13, 2016, regulations governing special education in Illinois have been updated by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). In the new special education rules, codified within Title 23 of the Illinois Administrative Code, ISBE made several significant alterations to the special education process and has also addressed minor changes in terminology and […]

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 […]