By Kelly Youngblood
While many students in the Champaign-Urbana area are enjoying their share of summer fun, area school boards are finalizing calendars for the upcoming year.
Families may notice those calendars will include a day off from school on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022.
Election Day became an official holiday after Governor JB Pritzker signed Public Act 102-0015, declaring it an observable state holiday for schools and public state offices.
Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of Monticello CUSD #25, said Nov. 8, 2022 is now “a required school closure day.”
“No school or teacher institutes allowed,” Zimmerman added.
For some districts, that meant removing another holiday from the calendar.
Katherine Tellez, director of marketing and communications at Urbana School District, said board members discussed the issue at their last meeting before approving the 2022-23 calendar.
“The Election Day holiday replaced one of our fall holidays,” Tellez said.
The calendar approved by the Unit 4 board at the end of February didn’t include Election Day as a school holiday. The original calendar had the 2022-23 school year ending on May 24; the updated final calendar, approved by the board at its June 13 meeting, has the last day of school falling on May 25 (barring any use of emergency snow/cold days).
The new law reads:
Sec. 2A-1.1c. 2022 Election Day State holiday. Notwithstanding any other provision of State law to the contrary, November 8, 2022 shall be a State holiday known as 2022 General Election Day and shall be observed throughout the State. November 8, 2022 shall be deemed a legal school holiday for purposes of the School Code and State Universities Civil Service Act. Any school closed under this amendatory Act of the 102nd General Assembly and Section 24-2 of the School Code shall be made available to an election authority as a polling place for 2022 General Election Day.
Districts may opt to use an E-learning Day if their school was selected to be a polling place under the election code. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the number of E-learning days was not increased and no more than five E-learning days can be used each year.
Another new holiday effective Jan. 1, 2002, is Juneteenth National Freedom Day. Public Act 102-0014 declares June 19 of each year a state holiday. While districts are not required to observe Juneteenth when it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, they may choose to do so and code the day as a “Not in Attendance Day” in the calendar.