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Governor Signs Law Requiring Collectively Bargained Appeals Process for “Unsatisfactory” Ratings

K-12 Education Publications

On August 27, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law Public Act 101-0591 (formerly Senate Bill 1213), creating an appeals process for teachers who receive unsatisfactory summative ratings as reported here. Beginning with the first school year following the effective date of the Act (August 27, 2019), each school district must, in good faith cooperation with its teachers or through good faith bargaining with its teachers’ exclusive bargaining representative, develop and implement an appeals process for “unsatisfactory” performance evaluation ratings. The appeals process must include, but is not limited to, an assessment of the original rating by a panel of qualified evaluators agreed to by the PERA joint committee to revoke an “unsatisfactory” rating deemed erroneous. The joint committee must determine the criteria for successful appeals. If an appeal is successful, the issuance of a rating to replace the “unsatisfactory” rating must be determined through bargaining between the exclusive bargaining representative and the school district. The Act is effective immediately.

The Act does not require retroactive application of the appeals process to ratings issued prior to its effective date. While the Act also does not include a specific date by when the appeals process must be developed, districts should begin considering how to best coordinate the development of the steps required under the Act with its PERA joint committee and bargaining teams. Districts should then begin working with their teachers’ unions to develop the required appeals process, and with its joint committees to determine which qualified evaluators will serve on the appeal panel and the criteria to be used for successful appeals.