October 15, 2014
By Jacqueline M. Litra
School districts are acutely aware of the looming implementation deadlines for PERA compliant teacher evaluation plans and the 180-day timeline for the PERA joint committee to reach agreement on incorporating student growth into the teacher evaluation plan. However, some may not realize that the Illinois State Board of Education’s Rules require that the first meeting of a school district’s PERA joint committee occur by November 1 of the school year immediately preceding the school district’s implementation date.
School districts whose student performance ranks in the lowest 20% must implement a PERA compliant teacher evaluation plan by September 1, 2015. Those school districts should have their first official PERA joint committee meeting no later than Friday, October 31, 2014. School districts in the bottom 20% of the student performance list should have been informed by the Illinois State Board of Education of that placement on or around September 22, 2014.
PERA joint committees must reach agreement on the use of data and indicators on student growth as a significant factor in rating teacher performance within 180 calendar days of the committee’s first meeting. Accordingly, a PERA joint committee that has its first meeting on October 31, 2014 has until April 29, 2015 to reach agreement.
All remaining school districts are required to implement a PERA compliant teacher evaluation plan by September 1, 2016. Those school districts should officially convene their PERA joint committees by Friday, October 30, 2015. A PERA joint committee that has its first meeting on October 30, 2015 has until April 27, 2016 to reach agreement because 2016 is a leap year.
If you have any questions regarding the requirements of PERA and the responsibilities of the PERA joint committee, we are available to guide you through this difficult process.