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ASK THE STAFF

July/August 2012

Using old Law Survey may cost more than the book
by Linda Dawson

Linda Dawson, IASB director/editorial services and Journal editor, answers the question for this issue.

Question: We have a copy of the last Illinois School Law Survey that came out in 2010. Isn’t that enough or do we need a new copy?

Answer: While much of the information in your old edition of the Law Survey may still be correct, changes in the Illinois School Code in any two-year period can make it nearly imperative to buy a new edition just to keep pace with the Illinois legislature.

If you have watched as issues develop and new laws are passed, you know that plenty has changed in the statutes affecting public education in the past two years. Not keeping up with those changes, both through legal reference materials and district policy manuals, can land school districts in serious trouble if they are not in legal compliance on new issues.

When considering whether to buy the newest edition of this invaluable school law reference book, here are just a few of the changes since the last edition was published in 2010:

  • Probationary teachers and how they acquire tenure
  • The sequence of dismissals in staff reductions and reduced importance of seniority
  • Role of “joint committees” in reducing staff
  • Alternate routes to teacher certification
  • Revoking a teaching certificate
  • Requirements for substitute teachers
  • Training requirements for school board members
  • Trespassers in “safe school zones”
  • Required care for students with diabetes
  • Education of military children
  • Dealing with drop-outs and truancy
  • Instruction for students hospitalized or ill at home
  • Responding to threats over the Internet
  • Privacy of individual cell phone records
  • Sharing services among school districts
  • Caps on IMRF pension earnings
  • Changes to the Freedom of Information Act

These represent just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the tidal wave of changes that were swept in with the passage of the Illinois Education Reform Act (SB7).

Brian A. Braun, an attorney who specializes in education law, writes the Illinois School Law Survey, a convenient, all-in-one legal resource. He uses a question-and-answer format, written in plain English, for educators as well as laymen. A CD version that accompanies the book provides quick computer access to common questions about the laws that govern Illinois public schools.

Answers are based on state and federal statutes and case law in force and reported as of January 1, 2012, and administrative rules and regulations current as of December 15, 2011.

The 12th edition includes 58 new questions and 95 answers that either have been updated and/or expanded, and 21 others that have been revised. That’s in addition to 60 new court decisions that alter the application of existing laws.

Two other features enable a reader to find information quickly:

  • A Quick Reference Index provides a detailed listing of topics and sub-topics arranged alphabetically with a list of the questions where the matter is discussed in the book.
  • Court cases are compiled in a table in alphabetical order by name of plaintiff. Each court decision is listed in the table with full legal citations and a note as to where the decision is referenced in the book.

Having the newest information available can help a district avoid costly penalties or possible law suits for not being complaint.

The Illinois School Law Survey is available through the IASB Online Bookstore at: https://www.iasb.com/shop/.

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