Families throughout school districts in Illinois are still waiting to see official calendars for the 2019-2020 school year due to changes in state legislation that have backed up the process by about three months.
But now that a recent bill has passed, school calendars should be set in the coming weeks.
Dr. Jane Quinlan, regional superintendent and chief administrative officer of ROE 9, says the calendars are typically approved in the spring; however, school districts and the Illinois State Board of Education were waiting to see if a proposed bill that would affect instructional days passed.
Public Act 101-0012 passed at the end of May and Governor JB Pritzker signed the bill on June 7; following the bills passage, the ISBE opened up their online calendar portal for districts to submit calendars for approval.
The new law, which goes into effect July 1, 2019, “reinstates the requirements that a school day consists of five hours of instructional time, a provision that previously sunset in 2017”, according to the ISBE website. It also allows districts throughout Illinois to develop a plan for e-learning days which can be utilized for emergency snow days or other non-attendance days.
Quinlan says although school calendars have been delayed, she doesn’t anticipate any major changes from previous years.
“I think, in general, the school calendars around here will look very similar to what they have been in the past. It will just be approved at a later date,” says Quinlan.
Quinlan says any significant variation in school calendars would only occur if a district decides to incorporate e-learning days into it schedule. As part of the new bill, e-learning days are available for all districts in Illinois to utilize as of July 1, 2019.
Districts have until the first day of school to get calendars approved but Quinlan believes most will finish before then.
“I imagine most districts are wanting to get them approved as soon as possible so they can let families know,” says Quinlan.
Once submitted, Quinlan says it’s “usually a fairly fast process” with approvals completed within a week. “It’s all online so unless there’s some other snag, it shouldn’t take a long time.”