IASB Amicus Program Supports School District in Illinois Supreme Court Decision
Date PostedApril 17, 2020
IASB files Amicus Curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs in a limited number of important appellate-level cases that will have statewide significance. IASB member board of education Wood Dale SD 7 reached out to IASB General Counsel Kimberly Small and Executive Director Tom Bertrand for support before the Illinois Supreme Court through IASB’s Amicus Program. IASB invited the Illinois Association of School Administrators to join the effort. Both associations filed an Amicus Brief to provide “a unique perspective or specific information that can assist the court beyond what the parties can provide.”
The issue in Dynak v. Board of Education of Wood Dale School District was whether the School Code’s sick leave provision, 105 ILCS 5/24-6, permits a teacher who gives birth at the end of one school year to use her accumulated paid sick leave at the start of the next school year for that same birth.
The Wood Dale Board of Education, represented before the Illinois Supreme Court by attorney Adam Dauksas with the law firm of Himes Petrarca & Fester (HPF), argued that the teacher may not use accumulated sick leave at the start of the next school year for a birth that occurred at the end of the previous school year. For more about the specific arguments made by Wood Dale attorney Dauksas during oral argument, see HPF’s article.
The Amicus Brief supporting the Wood Dale Board of Education, written by attorneys Stanley B. Eisenhammer, Jennifer Donnelly, and Katherine LaRosa with the law firm of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP (HLERK), provided the following overall perspective that:
- The true intent of 105 ILCS 5/24-6 comes into focus after reviewing the evolving treatment of pregnant teachers by the courts, the legislature, and school boards over the past 50 years.
- Once the legislature’s intent is understood, it is clear that the most simple, straightforward reading of 105 ILCS 5/24-6 is the correct interpretation of the statute.
- The intent of 105 ILCS 5/24-6 was not to grant, in some convoluted manner, paid parental leave unrelated to disability related to childbirth.
The Supreme Court held that 105 ILCS 5/24-6 does not afford teachers such a right, clarifying that the law allows teachers to use up to 30 days of accumulated paid sick leave during the six-week period immediately following the birth; however, when that six-week period has elapsed, a teacher cannot use paid sick days for birth unless a physician’s certificate is provided as set forth in the law.
IASB encourages school boards to contact their attorneys to assess the implications of this decision in their districts, especially if the existing collective bargaining agreements do not specifically address the issue in this case. The Illinois Council of School Attorneys (ICSA) directory is available here.
Special thank you to Wood Dale SD 7, its attorney Adam Dauksas of HPF and IASB’s Amicus attorney Stanley B. Eisenhammer of HLERK for their collaboration to benefit all IASB members across Illinois.