Dear Extra Mile Readers:

We're coming into the home stretch of the school year. We also congratulate and welcome all the newly elected board members who will be joining the important work of school districts across the state. If you have new school board members who should receive our monthly newsletters and periodic school law alerts, please let us know so we can include them on our list. Also, our invaluable guide for new and experienced board members, "A School Board Member's Handbook," is in the final stages of a comprehensive update, and you can pre-order your set now.

This month's edition of the Extra Mile features several important updates, including the much-anticipated and long-awaited Seventh Circuit opinion on the intersection of teachers' rights and students' rights in the arena of transgender students. This case is now binding authority in Illinois, so it's an important read.

We also draw your attention to several upcoming speaking engagements by Hodges Loizzi attorneys Pam Simaga, Steve Richart, and Cindi DeCola. Find the details of those presentations below.

Finally, note that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to hear a case next fall about public officials' ability to block people from their personal social media accounts, if the public official is using the personal account to disseminate information about their role in the public entity. The case, O'Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier, presents interesting First Amendment questions that will have implications for public school board members and employees. We'll provide further information and monitor for the Supreme Court's opinion in the months ahead.

School District Not Required to Accommodate Teacher’s Refusal to Use Transgender Students’ Preferred Names and Pronouns

In a long-awaited opinion, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of an Indiana school district in its dispute with a teacher who refused to use the preferred names and pronouns of transgender students, rejecting the teacher’s argument that the school district was required to accommodate his religious beliefs under Title VII. Read more...

Chris Hoffmann

Board Agenda Language to Approve Severance Agreement Violated OMA

The PAC found that an Illinois public school board violated the Open Meetings Act when its posted meeting agenda failed to set forth the general subject matter of a vote to approve a severance agreement with an assistant superintendent. Read more...

Kerry Pipal

"Meet and Greet” Between Three Board Members and Staff Constituted a Meeting Subject to the Requirements of OMA

The PAC recently found that the board of a library district violated OMA by holding a “Meet and Greet” event involving substantive discussion between library staff and a majority of a quorum of the board without following OMA requirements. Read more...

Heather Brickman

Employee Surveys Exempt from Disclosure Under FOIA

The PAC recently found that a public school did not violate FOIA by partially withholding the results of a faculty survey. The survey results were exempt under Section 7(1)(f), which exempts drafts and other predecisional materials, because the surveys were used to as part of the deliberative process regarding employee performance. Read more...

Steve Richart


U.S. Department of Education Releases Proposed Change to Title IX Regulations for Transgender Student-Athletes

New OCR Resource Documents on Supporting Equal Opportunity in Athletic Programs Under Title IX


Steve Richart will be presenting May 3 at the IASBO conference on "Legal Updates on the Tax Levy and Procurement." (Peoria Civic Center - 9:10-10:10 AM) Onsite registration still available at the Peoria Civic Center beginning 5/2 at 4:00 PM.

Cindi DeCola will be presenting May 17 for IASPA on "Navigating the Uncharted Waters of Faith's Law: Parental Notice." (Live Webinar - 12:00-1:00 PM) Register here.

Pam Simaga will be presenting May 25 with the ISBA Law Ed Program on "Implications for Religious Speech in Public Schools After Kennedy v. Bremerton." (Live Webcast - 11:00-1:00 PM). Attorneys can register here.


Per Governor Pritzker's earlier announcement, the COVID disaster proclamation is due to end May 11. This will impact, among other things, the availability of paid administrative leave for COVID purposes under Section 10-20.83 of the School Code.

School districts have until May 31 to complete Timely and Meaningful Consultation meetings with representatives of private and home-schooled students with disabilities in order to determine special education proportionate share services for those students.

Our Student Handbook Checklist is updated for 2023. It outlines 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.


Latest figures: March 2023

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.