Governor Quinn recently signed into law P.A. 98-0648, which, among other things, impacts recall rights following a reduction in force (“RIF”). The new law became effective on July 1, 2014, and it applies retroactively to RIFs conducted during the 2013-2014 school year.
Before the new law, only teachers in Groups 3 and 4 had the right to be recalled to fill vacant positions following a RIF. However, the new law also gives limited recall rights to certainGroup 2 teachers, as well.
To qualify for recall under the new law, a Group 2 teacher must have received a Needs Improvement on either of his or her last two evaluations and, if two ratings are available, at least a Proficient rating on the second evaluation. All other Group 2 teachers still have no recall rights.
A Group 2 teacher’s right to recall only applies to vacancies available through February 1 of the following school term, though there is some flexibility to alter this recall period through collective bargaining. The new law also provides that no more than one evaluation rating each school year can be used in creating sequence of honorable dismissal (“SOHD”) lists. If multiple performance evaluations are conducted in a school year, districts can only use the rating from the last evaluation before the SOHD list was created.
The law also prohibits averaging ratings from multiple evaluations, unless it has been agreed to in a collective bargaining agreement. Once SOHD lists are created, the law now requires that districts provide exclusive bargaining representatives with copies of the lists showing each teacher by name and categorized by positions and groupings.
Unrelated to the RIF procedure, the new law also permits school districts to use an alternate survey of learning conditions instrument in lieu of the State-selected instrument and establishes a process by which the State Superintendent must approve between 2-3 alternate survey instruments.
Please contact Terry Hodges, Cindi DeCola, Ellen Rothenberg, Tina Christofalos, Jeff Goelitz or Chris Hoffmann with any questions about the new law or its effect on 2013-2014 RIFs.