Election Day clarification; Education omnibus bill signed

By David Wood posted 16 days ago

We have received clarification about how Illinois school districts should treat the November 3, 2020 election now that Gov. Pritzker has signed SB 1863, which expands voting by mail and makes the day a state holiday for schools.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, since the day is deemed a state holiday, all schools shall be closed. 

ISBE made clear school districts will not be allowed to waiver out of the holiday nor hold teacher institute days. Therefore, districts will need to adjust their calendars accordingly. This change applies only to the Nov. 3, 2020 election.

Furthermore, the legislation requires schools to be used as a polling place, if requested by the local election authority. People 16 or older can now also serve as election judges. 

We also just learned today Gov. Pritzker signed SB 1569, the education omnibus bill passed during special session. The bill expands emergency use of remote learning and makes changes to school code in response to COVID-19.

Some important components of the bill are that school districts will be allowed to use remote learning during a declared public health emergency. In addition, the legislation allows up to five remote learning planning days to be considered attendance days. ISBE will waive student assessment requirements if a waiver is received from the U.S. Department of Education.

Other measures include a year-long licensure extension for those with teaching and education support professional licenses set to expire on June 30, 2020. The law mirrors the governor's executive order regarding teacher evaluations that were not finished before schools were closed in March. The default evaluation is "proficient" for unfinished evaluations, though those teachers whose last evaluation was rated "excellent" will be evaluated "excellent" for 2019-20.

To support educator recruitment, modifications to the School Code include:

  • Makes licenses endorsed for visiting international educators valid for five years (currently three).
  • Allows career and technical education teachers to renew their licenses with a test of workplace proficiency, not solely educators whose license was issued July 1, 2015 or after.
  • Updates language to conform with current licensure nomenclature.
The law also affirms that constitution exams can be administered remotely.

We believe the signing of SB 1569 paves the way for ISBE to release its much-anticipated transition guidance for the 2020-21 school year. I know each of you are eagerly awaiting its release to help you plan for the fall. Today's news release on the bill signing included a statement from State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala.

“The Illinois State Board of Education will release guidance in the coming days to support a safe transition back to in-person learning this fall,” Ayala said. “We emphasize in-person learning for all students to the greatest extent possible, while realizing that may not be feasible in all situations. Senate Bill 1569 creates a Blended Remote Learning Day option that gives schools additional flexibility as they develop plans for fall. Schools that plan to utilize Blended Remote Learning Days should consider equity and prioritize in-person learning for our students with greater needs.”

Thanks for reading. 

Diane Hendren 
Director of Governmental Relations 
Illinois Association of School Administrators 

Reposted with permission from IASA
1 comment



10 days ago

I have a question.  Our year round support staff have a floating day every year that we usually add after Labor Day to give them a four day weekend.  However, with the new election day holiday, we were going to use that as the floating day.  We. are getting push back from our support staff union that they should get the election day plus the floating day.  What are your thoughts on that?