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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 14, 2021 11:15 AM
From: Representative Curtis G. Sonney
To: All House members
Subject: Amending the Temporary Emergency Provision in the School Code
I plan to introduce legislation limiting a school district board (school board) of director’s temporary emergency powers from up to 4 years to 60 days.

Currently, Section 520.1 of the Public School Code allows for any school board dealing with an unforeseen emergency to put into operation temporary emergency provisions for a period of up to four years after they are first put into place. Under these temporary emergency powers, a school district is still required to provide a minimum of 180 days of instructions. However, they may reduce the length of time of daily instruction for various courses and classes. School districts utilized these powers during the 2020-2021 school year and some plan to do the same during the upcoming school year (2021-2022).

Specially, my legislation, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year and each school year thereafter will allow a school board of directors to put into operation temporary emergency provisions for 60 days when an emergency results in five consecutive days of being unable to provide in-person instruction. If an extension is necessary, after 60 days, it would require another two-thirds vote by the school board director’s and a public hearing.

The school board of directors have 60 days after the initial vote to implement their temporary emergency powers and must provide a written plan to the public with an explanation of why the temporary emergency provisions are necessary and how long they will be in effect.

The term "emergency" shall mean an event that prevents a school building from opening due to any of the following: (i) A communicable health issue or incident. (ii) A hazardous weather condition. (iii) A law enforcement emergency. (iv) The inoperability of school buses or other equipment necessary to the public school entity's operation. (v) Damage to a school building. (vi) Another temporary circumstance rendering any portion of a school building unfit or unsafe for use.

My bill does not impact a school entity’s ability to utilize Flexible Instruction Days.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1660