Principal Evaluations and School Polling Places

IMPORTANT FEBRUARY ISSUES

January 11, 2008

Changes to the School Code and Criminal Code present deadlines and challenges for school districts. The School Code requires an evaluation of principals, while the Criminal Code prohibits registered sex offenders from entering school building polling places.

1. PRINCIPAL EVALUATION

The School Code requires evaluation plans for principals. For principals with a one-year contract, the principal must be evaluated by February 1 of each year.

Principals with multi-year contracts must be evaluated by February 1 of the final year of the contract.

The evaluation is to be completed in writing by the Superintendent or designee (with a Type 75) and must do all of the following:

      1.         Consider the principal's duties, responsibilities, management, and competence as principal;

      2.     Specify the principal's strengths and weaknesses with supporting reasons; and

      3.     "Align with the Illinois Professional Standards for School Leaders or research-based district standards". A copy of the evaluation must be provided to the principal and a copy must be placed in the principal's personnel file.

Failure to provide at least one evaluation during the contract period, prior to February 1 presumes satisfactory performance and automatically extends the contract for one year, under the same terms and conditions.

Please contact A. Lynn Himes (312-565-3100, ext. 233 or ahimes@edlawyer.com) with any questions you may have regarding this topic.

2.CHANGES IN THE ELECTION CODE/CRIMINAL CODE

The Illinois Criminal Code has been amended to prohibit registered child sex offenders from entering a school polling place. Thus, the Election Code has been amended to permit registered sex offenders whose polling place is a school to either vote absentee OR at a location mandated by the local election commission.

The offender must file a request with the local election commission for an absentee ballot or vote early at another location. The local election commission must designate a place at which a registered sex offender can vote.

Practically, we are advising that you contact your local election commission and request it to provide to its election Judges a list of voters who are registered sex offenders. The Illinois State Police is responsible for notifying the local election commissions with the names of registered sex offenders in the area. Finally, if your school has on site security personnel, it may be worthwhile to advise the security staff of the situation and be ready to enlist their support in removing individuals who are prohibited from entering your buildings. In the alternative, you may wish to consult with your local law enforcement agency to discuss how this new prohibition will be enforced locally. Please contact Kevin P. Camden (312-565-3100, ext. 255 or kcamden@edlawyer.com) with any questions you may have regarding this topic.