School Law Advisor Blog

Update on Pension Reform

On July 3, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that health care for retired state workers is a pension benefit protected by a state constitutional provision prohibiting the diminishment or impairment of those benefits.  In Kanerva v. Weems the court held 6-to-1 that under the Illinois State Constitution's Pension Clause, any benefit of an Illinois retirement system "cannot be diminished or impaired," with no exceptions for health benefits.

Illinois Appellate Court Overturns Board's Dismissal of Tenured Teacher on Due Process Grounds

The First District Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth Division, recently decided a case where a tenured teacher claimed that her 14th Amendment due process rights had been violated when she was dismissed after 20+ years of service with only hearsay evidence to support the charges against her. Courts have long held that tenured employment is a protected property interest and therefore cannot be removed without sufficient process. Bd. Of Ed. Cmty. Consol. Sch.

Rich Township High School - Employee Free Speech Case

In December 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a decision balancing the First Amendment rights of a school counselor against the public school district's interest in providing effective counseling services - deciding that the school's interest in providing effective counseling outweighed the First Amendment rights of the employee.

Board of Education of City of Chicago v. IELRB - Student Records / Labor Relations

In a December 2013 decision, the First District Appellate Court of Illinois limited a union's ability to request information about students as a part of the duty to bargain in good faith. Educational employers' statutory duty to bargain in good faith includes an obligation on the part of the employer to provide the union with information upon request.