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.

    Tags:    Board Governance






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 andindicators 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.