Guidance for Developing Appeals Process of Unsatisfactory Ratings Under Public Act 101-0591
On August 27, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law Public Act 101-0591, which added Section 24A-5.5 to the School Code. Section 24A-5.5 requires school districts to create an appeals process for teachers who receive unsatisfactory summative evaluation ratings. It further requires school districts to work with their PERA Joint Committee and teachers’ union to develop the process, which must be in place “beginning” with the 2020-2021 school year. It is not clear whether the requirement to develop and implement the process “beginning” with the 2020-2021 school year means that the process must be in place at the start of the 2020-2021 school year, but at minimum the process should be in place before any teacher receives an unsatisfactory rating during the 2020-2021 school year. This requirement remains in effect despite the ongoing statewide suspension of in-person learning. Thus, districts should continue to work with their unions and PERA Joint Committees to complete this process.
We are prepared to assist clients in developing a bargaining strategy that limits bargaining to a closed end process and culminates in final contractual language tailored to fit each district’s circumstances. In particular, we have developed a guidance document, and a corresponding sample memorandum of understanding, to assist school districts as they negotiate the appeals process with their teachers’ union and PERA Joint Committee. The guidance document and MOU address in detail the topics on the following checklist for bargaining the appeal process and making the PERA Joint Committee determinations.