Monday, July 24, 2017

Waiver request deadline nears

An overview of the waiver process is available
on this Illinois State Board of Education website.
Applications for waivers from Illinois School Code mandates need to be postmarked and mailed to
the state by Aug. 11 in order to be considered this fall. Applications must be sent to the Illinois State Board of Education to be included in the Fall 2017 Waiver Report, which will be submitted to the state legislature by Oct. 1.

For a waiver or modification of administrative rules or a modification of School Code mandates, a school district must hold a public hearing and demonstrate it (1) can meet the rule or School Code’s intent in a “more effective, efficient, or economical manner,” or (2) is necessary to boost student performance. If school leaders are applying for a modification of School Code mandates (such as for attendance days), or a waiver or a modification of administrative rules, there is no submission deadline. But approval must be granted before the modification can be made. The process is the same as applying for a waiver of a School Code mandate.

For a waiver of a School Code mandate, a school district must demonstrate that the waiver is necessary to stimulate innovation or improve student performance.

Any requests the state board fails to disapprove are deemed granted, and even rejected waiver requests may be appealed to the legislature, which sometimes reverses the agency ruling.

By law, waivers cannot be allowed from laws, rules, and regulations regarding special education, township treasurers, or teacher tenure, certification, or seniority, nor can they be granted if they pertain to ESSA requirements. Waivers are no longer needed for legal school holiday requests, and most parent-teacher conference schedules.

State law (105 LCS 5/2-3.25g) limits terms of physical education waivers. It provides that an approved physical education waiver or modification may remain in effect for up to two school years and may be renewed no more than two times.

IASB led the charge for adoption of the waiver law, and nearly 6,000 waiver requests have been approved since the law went into effect in March 1995, with over 100 new requests approved each year.

Before beginning the waiver process, ISBE suggests each applicant carefully review requirements outlined in the “Overview for Waiver Process” found here.

Application forms and instructions for waivers and modifications are provided by the state board and can be downloaded from the agency website