Illinois Updates: New Statutes of Note
Concealed Carry and District Duties: Public Act 98-0063 allows for the concealed carry of firearms with specified restrictions. It specifically prohibits carrying a concealed firearm in "any building, real property, and parking area under the control of a public or private elementary or secondary school". It also contains a provision that states that it is the duty of the principal to report to the Department of State Police "when a student is determined to pose a clear and present danger to himself, herself, or to others, within 24 hours of the determination". In addition to the details of your district's specific reciprocal reporting agreements with law enforcement, please build this new duty into your reporting procedures.
Interfund Transfers: Public Act 98-0036 is now in effect, extending the "sunset provision" from 2013 to 2016 to maintain the ability of school districts to transfer monies from one fund to another among the Education Fund, Transportation Fund, and Operations and Maintenance Fund. Please consult legal counsel to ensure your district follows the appropriate statutory procedures if such a transfer is necessary for your District.
Law Enforcement Resource Requirements: Another statute requires school principals to utilize resources of law enforcement agencies when the safety and welfare of students and teachers are threatened by illegal use or possession of weapons, or by illegal gang activity. Public Act 98-0032 will be effective January 1, 2014. The interplay of this statute with each District's reciprocal reporting agreement and requirements already in effect from the above concealed carry legislation seem to overstate the importance of maintaining a good relationship with state and local law enforcement agencies and practicing consistent reporting, reviewing your District's current reciprocal reporting agreement (RRA) with these new statutes can ensure compliance with the law.
Student Athlete Insurance Coverage: Public Act 98-0166, effective as of August 5, 2013, requires public and non-public school districts that have a high school to provide catastrophic accident insurance coverage, with aggregate benefit limits of $3 million or 5 years, whichever occurs first, for student athletes who sustain an accidental injury while participating in school-sponsored athletic events sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) that results in medical expenses in excess of $50,000. These benefit limits are to be in excess of any and all other insurance, coverage or benefit, in whatever form or designation. Any public school that requires students participating in these events to be covered under an individual or group policy of accident and health insurance is exempt from the requirements of this law. Under the law IHSA is charged with providing a group policy providing the coverage necessary to meet compliance, and the District can demonstrate compliance by securing coverage from the IHSA group policy or by obtaining the necessary coverage from other providers, so long as you submit a certificate of insurance from the providing demonstrating compliance at least 60 days before the coverage inception.
* Special thanks to Donna M. Davis, who contributed substantial work to the research and drafting of this article.