REMINDERS TO START THE 2012-2013 SCHOOL YEAR

July 30, 2012

By John Fester

As the 2012-2013 school year approaches, we want to remind you of some new requirements that school districts must comply with for the first time this year: 

Principal and Assistant Principal Evaluations

Following the completion of ISBE’s evaluation training, superintendents and other administrators responsible for annual principal and assistant principal evaluations must comply with the following requirements:

1.        Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, no later than the start of the school term (i.e., the first day students are required to be in attendance), the school district must provide a written notice (either email or hard copy) to each principal and assistant principal that a performance evaluation will be conducted, or, if the principal or assistant principal is hired or assigned to the position after the start of the school term, then no later than 30 days after the contract is signed or the assignment is made. The written notice must include:

a) a copy of the rubric to be used to rate student growth and professional practice of the principal or assistant principal; and

b) a summary of the manner in which student growth and professional practice measures to be used in the evaluation relate to the performance evaluation ratings of "excellent", "proficient", "needs improvement", and "unsatisfactory".

2. On or before October 1 of each year, the evaluator and principal or assistant principal shall meet to set the student growth measurement models and targets to be used.  If the evaluator and principal or assistant principal fail to agree on the student growth measures and targets to be included, then the evaluator shall determine the goals to be considered.

3.        On or before October 1 of each year, the evaluator and principal or assistant principal shall establish professional growth goals, which shall be based on the results of the performance evaluation conducted in the previous school year, if any.  If the evaluator and principal or assistant principal fail to agree on the professional growth goals to be included, then the evaluator shall determine the goals to be considered.

Teacher Evaluation Plans

As of September 1, 2012, the district’s teacher evaluation plan must have the following four ratings:   “Excellent”, “Proficient”, “Needs Improvement” and “Unsatisfactory”. Your plan also needs to reflect that while remediation periods are unchanged in duration (still 90 student attendance days), there is only one 45-day midpoint evaluation instead of the 30-day and 60-day evaluations that were previously required.

IMRF Posting Requirements

Public Act 97-0609 requires that within six business days of an IMRF-participating employer having approved its budget, that employer must post on its website the “total compensation package” for each employee having a “total compensation package” exceeding $75,000 per year.   Under the law, “total compensation package” is defined as salary, health insurance, housing allowance, vehicle allowance, clothing allowance, bonuses, loans, vacation days granted, and sick days granted.

Despite the title of this new statute being, “Duty to post information pertaining to benefits offered through the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund,” IMRF has taken the position that this requirement applies to “all IMRF employers and their employees (including those not participating in IMRF).” Moreover, the Illinois Attorney General has agreed and advised that employers should abide by such an interpretation.

Although we strongly disagree with IMRF’s and the Attorney General’s stance on Public Act 97-0609, for now, the safest course of action is for school districts to post on their websites the “total compensation package” for all employees, including teachers and administrators, who have a “total compensation package” that exceeds $75,000. We appreciate the extra burden this places on school districts that have to include teachers in this report, but legislative relief did not occur this year. There is no time limit for how long this information must remain posted.

Please note that an employer may choose to post a physical copy of this information at its principal office rather than posting the material online, provided the employer posts directions on its website on how to access the information.