Illinois law allows some exceptions for school boards to hold closed meetings as stipulated under the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

The board and board committees may meet in a closed meeting to consider the following subjects:

  1. The appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees, specific individuals who serve as independent contractors in a park, recreational, or educational setting, or specific volunteers of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee, a specific individual who serves as an independent contractor in a park, recreational, or educational setting, or a volunteer of the public body or against legal counsel for the public body to determine its validity. However, a meeting to consider an increase in compensation to a specific employee of a public body that is subject to the Local Government Wage Increase Transparency Act may not be closed and shall be open to the public and posted and held in accordance with this Act. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(1). 

  2. Collective negotiating matters between the public body and its employees or their representatives, or deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of employees. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(2).

  3. The selection of a person to fill a public office, as defined in the Open Meetings Act, including a vacancy in a public office, when the public body is given power to appoint under law or ordinance, or the discipline, performance or removal of the occupant of a public office, when the public body is given power to remove the occupant under law or ordinance. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(3).

  4. Evidence or testimony presented in open hearing, or in closed hearing where specifically authorized by law, to a quasi-adjudicative body, as defined in the Open Meetings Act, provided that the body prepares and makes available for public inspection a written decision setting forth its determinative reasoning. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(4).

  5. Evidence or testimony presented to a school board regarding denial of admission to school events or property pursuant to Section 24-24 of the School Code, provided that the school board prepares and makes available for public inspection a written decision setting forth its determinative reasoning. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(4.5).

  6. The purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body, including meetings held for the purpose of discussing whether a particular parcel should be acquired. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(5).

  7. The setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(6).

  8. The sale or purchase of securities, investments, or investment contracts. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(7).

  9. Security procedures, school building safety and security, and the use of personnel and equipment to respond to an actual, a threatened, or a reasonably potential danger to the safety of employees, students, staff, the public, or public property. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(8).

  10. Student disciplinary cases. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(9).

  11. The placement of individual students in special education programs and other matters relating to individual students. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(10).

  12. Litigation, when an action against, affecting or on behalf of the particular public body has been filed and is pending before a court or administrative tribunal, or when the public body finds that an action is probable or imminent, in which case the basis for the finding shall be recorded and entered into the minutes of the closed meeting. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(11).

  13. The establishment of reserves or settlement of claims as provided in the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, if otherwise the disposition of a claim or potential claim might be prejudiced, or the review or discussion of claims, loss or risk management information, records, data, advice or communications from or with respect to any insurer of the public body or any intergovernmental risk management association or self insurance pool of which the public body is a member. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(12).

  14. Self-evaluation, practices and procedures or professional ethics, when meeting with a representative of a statewide association of which the public body is a member. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(16).

  15. Discussion of minutes of meetings lawfully closed under the Open Meetings Act, whether for purposes of approval by the body of the minutes or semi-annual review of the minutes as mandated by Section 2.06. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(21).

  16. Meetings between internal or external auditors and governmental audit committees, finance committees, and their equivalents, when the discussion involves internal control weaknesses, identification of potential fraud risk areas, known or suspected frauds, and fraud interviews conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards of the United States of America. 5 ILCS 120/2(c)(29).

The board may hold a closed meeting, or close a portion of a meeting, by a majority vote of a quorum taken at an open meeting. The vote of each board member present, and a citation to the specific exception authorizing the closed meeting, will be publicly disclosed at the time of the vote and clearly stated in the meeting minutes. 5 ILCS 120/2a.

A motion to close a meeting can be as simple as, “I move that the board hold [go into] a closed session to discuss [state one of the closed meeting grounds with reference to the specific section authorizing the closed meeting].”

No final board action may be taken at a closed meeting. 5 ILCS 120/2(e).

This is provided for information purposes only. For a legal opinion or legal advice, please contact the board attorney.

Copyright © 2023 Illinois Association of School Boards. All Rights Reserved. Revised 9/2019. Reviewed 11/2022. Revised 9/2023.