New Laws for 2016

Hello,

Each year, the Illinois General Assembly passes new legislation that impacts schools, and each year I try to provide you with a synopsis of the legislation that most profoundly affects District 100. Some of the legislation is important to schools and students; much of the legislation, however, is politically driven. My article this month highlights just a few of the sixty-four new laws enacted in 2015 that take effect at different times in 2016. As always, you can judge for yourself which are the most important.

Boards of Education:

1) HB0152 requires that carbon monoxide alarms or detectors be located within 20 feet of a carbon monoxide emitting device. The new law requires that the devices be inspected annually and that the school create protocols on how to respond if a device is activated.

2) HB0800 adds to the high school graduation requirements at least one semester of civics education which must be a separate class, but part of a two-year social studies requirement.

3) HB1498 allows for an Open Meetings Act exemption for school boards to discuss building safety and security.

4) HB3527 substantially prohibits an elementary or secondary school from requesting or requiring a student to provide a password to gain access to the student’s account on a social media website.

5) SB0007 requires school boards to appoint a concussion oversight team to establish return-to-play protocol for a student’s return to interscholastic athletics in HS or JH, and return to classroom activities after a student is believed to have suffered a concussion.

6) SB0100 requires a school board to provide with the written expulsion or suspension decision, specific reasons why removing the pupil from school is in the best interest of the school and the rationale as to the specific duration of the expulsion or suspension. It also prohibits the use of zero-tolerance policies and limits out of school suspensions to three days unless the student’s continued presence in school would pose a threat to school safety or a disruption to the learning environment. The new law also requires that students suspended in excess of three days be provided appropriate support services and that those students be permitted to make up work for equivalent academic credit.

7) SB0672 adds the subjects of consumer debt, higher education student loans, and identity theft security to the list of subjects required to be included in the consumer education curriculum.

Personnel:

1) HB2657 is intended to facilitate teacher license reciprocity with other states.

School Safety and Health:

1) HB0001 allows school administration of an opioid antagonist by a school nurse or trained personnel, if it is believed that a person is having an opioid overdose.

2) HB1453 creates the offense of aggravated special speed limit while passing schools. A person commits the offense when he or she drives a motor vehicle at a speed of 26 mph or more in excess of the applicable speed limit.

3) SB0009 prohibits any person from selling, offering to sell, giving away, or providing free samples of powdered pure caffeine to any person under the age of 18.

State Board of Education:

1) HB2683 requires the ISBE to develop recognition standards for school improvement for all school districts and their individual schools which must be an outcome-based, balanced accountability measure. The act requires that 30% of the measure be based on student outcomes and that 70% of the measure be based on best practices.

2) SB1455 provides that one of the state assessments for HS students shall include tests in the areas of English language arts, reading, math and science for the purpose of student application to public institutions of higher learning.

Students:

1) HB0165 allows students in public schools to voluntarily engage in individual or collectively initiated, non-disruptive prayer or religious-based meetings during non-instructional time.

2) HB0806 allows a student enrolled in grade 7 or 8 to enroll in a course offered by the high school but taken where the student attends school.

3) HB3428 provides that a student who takes a College Board Advanced Placement Exam and receives a score of three or higher is entitled to post-secondary level course credit at a public institution of higher learning.

4) SB1410 provides that children of parents or legal guardians who object to health, dental, or eye exams, immunizations, or to vision and hearing screening tests on religious grounds shall not be required to undergo such exams if they present the school with a signed certificate of religious exemption detailing the grounds for objection.

Taxation:

1) SB0792 requires that Truth in Taxation notices be posted on a district’s website.

This is just a sample of the new school laws that go into effect at various times in 2016. If you are interested in a comprehensive list of new laws, or if you have any questions about these new state mandates please feel free to give me a call at the District Office.

Jerry Klooster, Supt.