More Changes to the Length of the Instructional Day May Be Coming for Illinois Schools
As we reported in December 2018, changes to the length of the instructional day for students in Illinois brought confusion and concern. Public Act 100—0465, or the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act, removed Section 18-8.05 of the Illinois School Code, which stated that an instructional day must be a minimum of five hours to be considered a day of attendance. More uncertainty may be on the horizon as an amendment to the law works its way through Springfield. A recent amendment to the proposed legislation, Senate Bill 0028, would amend the School Code to again require a minimum of five hours of instruction per day. The amendment would include a number of important exceptions, however, including an allowance to use e-learning days on inclement weather and other emergency days.
As reported in the most recent ISBE Superintendent Message, Senate Amendment 1 would amend the School Code to require 5 clock hours of school work per day to count a day as a day of pupil attendance. Days of attendance by pupils through verified participation in an e-learning program adopted by a school board and verified by the regional office of education or intermediate service center for the school district can also be considered as full days of attendance. The law includes exceptions for students in dual credit programs, supervised career development expenses, youth apprenticeships, and blended learning programs. The amendment also would return the allowance for two of the 176 school calendar days required each year to be utilized for parent/teacher conference days.
Although the proposed bills are not yet law, because this amendment is receiving significant attention and many schools are planning calendars for next year, these are important bills to watch. We will continue monitoring this bill and provide additional information when it is available.