January 2021
Happy 2021, intrepid Extra Mile readers! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward with a glimmer of hope as COVID vaccines are beginning to reach the educator ranks, restrictions are easing in regions around the state, and athletics are returning sooner than we may have thought.

At Hodges Loizzi, we celebrated the holidays with each other in a virtual Escape Room competition. Suffice it to say that everyone “escaped” and had a great time!
In other news, we are thrilled to announce that Frazier Satterly and Jessica Nguyen have been promoted to partners in the firm. Frazier will continue to head up the firm’s Peoria office, and Jessica will continue to handle all things Students/Special Education for clients around the state. These two dynamos bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and add a spark to every conversation. Look for their formal partner announcements in the very near future.
Frazier Satterly
Jessica Nguyen
Finally, under the category of “Hard to Believe but Hilarious,” ISBE has a new proposed special education rule pending JCAR approval. The proposed rule defines “preferred language” for purposes of a parent’s interpretation request. Lest there be any confusion, ISBE has helpfully clarified that a preferred language does not include “artificial or constructed languages, including, but not limited to, Klingon, Dothraki, Elvish, or Esperanto.” As they say in Klingon, “buy’ ngop!” (That’s great news!).
Now, onto some serious legal updates…
New Form 1099-NEC Requires Reporting Changes
Many questions are being raised by the new IRS Form 1099-NEC. Beginning with tax year 2020, Form 1099-NEC (rather than Form 1099-MISC) should be used to report most nonemployee compensation of $600 or more in a year, including consulting services and payments to an attorney or law firm for legal fees for legal services.

Click HERE to read the full article and access instructions for forms 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC. 
Records of Private Corporation Contracted to Operate Navy Pier Are Subject to FOIA
An Illinois appellate court reaffirmed that when a private company is contracted to provide a governmental function on a public body’s behalf, its records are subject to FOIA. This case involved the operation of Navy Pier, but the lesson is equally important for vendors that contract with public school districts. 

Click HERE to read the full article.
Tenured Teacher’s Dismissal for Sexual Harassment of Students Upheld
An Illinois appellate court agreed that a tenured teacher’s touching of and comments about track athletes was irremediable and justified his dismissal. The court further rejected the teacher’s allegations that the school board failed to carry out all of the necessary dismissal procedures.

Click HERE to read the full article.
School Social Worker’s ADA and Title VII Claims Fail
A federal appeals court rejected a school social worker’s disability and gender-discrimination and retaliation claims because the court agreed that the denied accommodations were unreasonable or not feasible and that the employee had failed to produce evidence of discrimination or retaliation.

Click HERE to read the full article.
ADA Does Not Require Extended Unpaid Leave for Employee Who Was Medically Unable to Perform Essential Functions
An employee who was not medically cleared to perform any essential functions for several months failed to establish that she was entitled to protection under the ADA. 

Click HERE to read the full article.
Biden Revokes Executive Order Prohibiting “Divisive” Race and Diversity Training 
In one of his first official acts, President Biden revoked a Trump Executive Order barring the promotion of “race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating” by federal contractors and in certain federal grant programs. The revocation of the Executive Order indicates a significant shift in priorities from the Trump administration.  

Click HERE to read the full article.
  • For districts considering implementing COVID-19 testing for students or staff, please contact an HLERK attorney to discuss testing agreements, consent forms, and any other questions related to testing.

  • Remember your statutory and CBA deadlines for reductions-in-force and end-of-year dismissals of teachers and educational support employees. Contact Ellen Rothenberg, Tina Christofalos, or Jeff Goelitz with your evaluation, dismissal, or RIF inquiries.

  • Review the need for non-renewal of employment contracts or administrative reclassifications to teaching positions. Be aware of possible impact on the RIF process.

  • Remember to complete Principal and Assistant Principal evaluations by March 1, and give any reclassification notices to Principals and Assistant Principals by April 1.

  • Prepare and share your support staff seniority list with your union by February 1, or any earlier date set in your CBA. Also check whether your teachers’ CBA still includes a February 1 deadline for your teacher seniority list and sequence of honorable dismissal list; if not, the statutory deadline is 75 calendar days before the end of the school term.

  • Our annually updated Student Handbook Checklist has been updated for 2021, outlining the topics that are legally required (and recommended) to be in your student handbook and/or provided to parents/guardians in some manner. This publication is an invaluable guide for those working on handbook updates. Order your copy here.

  • The IAASE Winter Conference has been cancelled this year, but a series of webinars will be offered to IAASE members. Visit www.iaase.org for more information.

The Extra Mile is intended solely to provide information to the school community. It is neither legal advice nor a substitute for legal counsel. It is intended as advertising but not as a solicitation of an attorney/client relationship. 

Arlington Heights
3030 Salt Creek Lane, Suite 202
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Peoria, IL 61602
P 309.671.9000
804 West US Hwy 50, Suite 220
O’Fallon, IL 62269
P 618.622.0999