April 26, 2017

Organization Meeting

With the results of the April 4th consolidated general election mostly certified by now, school boards in Illinois are reorganizing to seat new board members. No later than May 2, 2017, all school boards must hold their organization meeting where the oath of office will be taken, the new board will be seated, new board officers elected, board committees appointed and a schedule of regular board meetings will be approved.

Board Member Training

New board members must complete two kinds of mandatory training sessions and we recommend that a third type of training be taken as well.

Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”), new board members must complete OMA training within 90 days of taking the oath of office. The board member has the option of completing either:

  1. The online training tutorial provided by the Attorney General’s Office of the Public AccessCounselor (PAC); or


  2. OMA training provided by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB). See for registration information.

    Once the OMA training has been completed, the board member must file a certificate of completeness with the school district’s administrative office.

    New board members must also complete professional development leadership training (PDLT) which is mandated by the School Code. Compliance with this provision is required within one year of the board member being seated to the board. School districts must indicate on their website which of its board members have completed the PDLT training.

    A third type of training is required under Performance Evaluation Review Act (PERA) for any board member who will be called upon to vote on a teacher dismissal based upon an optional alternative evaluation dismissal process. So while that training is not legally mandated for all school board members, it is necessary as a practical matter. The PERA training must be completed before a board member can vote on a PERA dismissal – which can arise during the first year of office. Accordingly, we recommend that the training be accomplished sooner than later.

    The trainings detailed above are required only once per board member. A board member who has been reelected to office and who has received these training previously has the option of attending the trainings, but is not legally required to do so.

    Following past elections, Scariano, Himes and Petrarca has provided direct training to new school board members in the areas of PDLT and PERA, while the IASB provided the same training. Instead of duplicating the efforts of our colleagues at IASB, this year we have partnered with IASB to provide the PDLT and PERA board member training. On June 16, 2017, Lynn Himes and James Petrungaro will be presenters for the PERA and PDLT training sessions at IASB’s New Board Member Workshop at the Tinley Park Convention Center. See for registration information. IASB will also be providing the mandatory OMA training on that day, allowing for board members to complete all three mandatory trainings in a single day.



April 26, 2013

With election season behind us, school boards are contemplating what must be done to get on with business.  Topping the list of post-election governance matters is the reorganization meeting and completing mandatory training for new board members. Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd. is prepared to help boards accomplish these tasks.

Before holding a reorganization meeting, school boards must ensure that those members elected as write-in candidates conform to certain requirements.   Upon election to the school board, write-in candidates must file with the board secretary a Statement of Candidacy and a receipt for the Statement of Economic Interest.  The board secretary must notify the election authority when these documents have been properly filed.

Once all members have met the requirements for seating, a reorganization meeting must be held within 28 days of the election, which this year is May 7, 2013.  No requirement exists as to when that meeting must take place within the 28- day window.  At this meeting, the board will select a president pro tem and a secretary pro tem. The president pro tem will then call the meeting to order, at which point boards will elect a president, vice president, and secretary.  A treasurer will also be elected, or will be appointed if not a member of the school board.  Dates and locations for regular meetings will be determined and other business to be conducted will be listed.

School board members are also required to undergo two types of training during the first year after an election.  Training regarding the Open Meetings Act (OMA) must be completed within the first 90 days after taking the oath of office.  The training requirements include OMA general applicability, procedures, and legal requirements.  Once OMA training is complete, board members must file a copy of their certificate of completion with the school board.

A minimum of four hours of professional development and leadership training also must be completed.  Board members must complete this training within the first year of their first term.  These four hours consist of training in education and labor law, financial oversight and accountability, and fiduciary responsibilities. School districts must post on their website the names of all board members who have successfully completed this training.

Further, under the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), board members who will undertake evaluations are required to complete a pre-qualification program approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  The Firm is certified by the ISBE to deliver this training.

While the training requirements may seem cumbersome, the Firm is here to help.  As part of the five hours of free in- service training we annually provide to our clients, we offer to provide instruction on these and other board governance related matters.  We urge you to take advantage of this free service and to contact an attorney Scariano, Himes and Petrarca with any questions about newly elected school board members or newly constituted boards.