Governor Rauner recently signed into law changes to the Illinois School Student Records Act. The changes in P.A. 100-532 create new procedures for responding to parents’ requests to inspect or copy their child’s permanent and temporary school records. These changes went into effect immediately on September 22, 2017 and both shorten the time frame for responding to requests and set forth allowable reasons for extending the deadline. The changes apply to school districts, charter schools, and special education cooperatives.
First, schools now have only ten (10) business days to produce student records after a request to inspect or copy a student’s school records is received. Previously, schools were permitted fifteen (15) school days to respond.
Second, schools may extend this time by up to an additional five (5) business days for any of the following reasons:
- the records are stored in whole or in part off-site;
- the request requires collecting a substantial number of specified records;
- the request is categorical in nature and requires an extensive search for responsive records;
- the records cannot be located by a routine search and additional efforts are being made to locate them;
- the request cannot be responded to without unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the school district; or
- there is a need for consultation with one or more other public bodies or school districts that have a substantial interest in the request.
The requestor and the school may also agree in writing to extend the response time to a period determined by both parties. If an agreement is reached, a failure by the school to comply with any previous deadlines will not be treated as a denial of the request.
These changes may require modifications to both board policies and the student handbook. Questions about implementing these changes should be directed to your attorney.