In December, we reported on ISBE’s published guidance on the eliminated 5-hour minimum for an instructional day under the School Code. By eliminating the 5-hour minimum, the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) law provided school districts significantly more flexibility to be creative with their instructional days, but the law also impacted which days could count toward the 176 days of student attendance each year. As various constituent groups begin to recognize and witness the impact this law may have (e.g., e-learning days instead of snow days, impact on staffing and work hours), criticism of the change emerged.
Recently, two bills, SB 28 and HB 247, have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to effectively rescind the instructional-day changes from the EBF law. In the meantime, ISBE has issued its “Public School Calendar Guidelines: 2019-2020 School Year” and is expected to issue additional guidance on the current law (presumably unless additional guidance becomes moot because of the new legislation).
Particularly given school districts’ need to approve a 2019-2020 school calendar and begin negotiating any labor issues stemming from the current law, we will continue to monitor this legislation and ISBE’s related guidance and will alert you as there is any breaking news on the issue.
In the meantime, feel free to contact Jeff Goelitz with your instructional day inquiries.