As we reported last month, recently enacted Public Act 098-0648 gives limited recall rights to honorably dismissed teachers placed in Group 2 who have one “needs improvement” rating. Effective July 1, 2014, Public Act 098-0648 provides that if a board has any vacancies that become available from the beginning of the school year following a teacher’s honorable dismissal through February 1 of that school year, such positions must be made available to any teacher placed in Group 2 who was honorably dismissed, so long as the teacher is qualified to hold the positions and, if two ratings are available for the teacher, that the teacher’s other rating is satisfactory, proficient, or excellent. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recently released non-regulatory guidance addressing some of the questions raised by these amendments.
For example, in the guidance ISBE states that vacancies that become available any time after a teacher receives his or her notice of honorable dismissal through February 1 of the following school term must be offered to eligible teachers in Group 2, not just those vacancies that become available after the beginning of the school year following the teacher’s honorable dismissal. ISBE also clarifies that Public Act 098-0648 did not change the order of recall for eligible teachers, and thus the order of recall must still be in the inverse order of dismissal (unless an alternative order is established in a collective bargaining agreement). Thus, before any vacancies are offered to eligible teachers in Group 2, vacancies must first be offered to eligible teachers in Group 4 and Group 3, respectively.
ISBE plans to update its existing non-regulatory guidance on the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) and Senate Bill 7 (last updated in January 2012) and will incorporate this new guidance into that revised version.