September 22, 2017: Important Change to Student Records Timeline

Effective September 22, 2017, the timeline has changed for responding to requests for student records in Illinois.   Under longstanding previous law, school districts had 15 school days following receipt of a request for records to provide the requested records.  Public Act 100-0532 (formerly known as Senate Bill 1483) – revises the Illinois School Student Records Act as follows:

  1. General Timeline:

School districts now have 10 business days from the date on which the request was received to provide the requested records.

  1. Extensions for Enumerated Reasons:          

School districts may extend the 10-business-day timeline for up to an additional 5 business days for any of the following reasons ~

  • Some or all of the records requested are stored in a location other than the office responsible for the records;
  • Records requested are substantial in number;
  • The request is couched in categorical terms and will require extensive searching in order to respond;
  • Records requested have not been found via routine searching and the school district is using “additional efforts” to find the records;
  • Records requested cannot be provided within the 10-business-day timeline without “unduly burdening or interfering with the operations of the school district”; or
  • Responding to the request requires consultation with another district or other public body (or among two or more components of a public body or school district) with a substantial interest in the request (in which case such consultation must be completed “with all practicable speed”).
  1. Extensions by Agreement:

The requesting party and the school district may agree in writing to extend the timeline for producing the records for an agreed-upon period.

The PA100-0532 changes outlined above will require prompt review of, and likely revision to, your board policies and procedures regarding student records.  If your district or joint agreement subscribes to the PRESS Policy Service, Policy 7:340 will not require revision but the administrative procedure (7:340-AP1) and, if you use it, annual notification template (7:340-AP1, E1) will need updating.

The new requirements of PA 100-0532 will also necessitate review of and, likely, changes to your district’s or joint agreement’s required annual notification to parents and eligible students regarding their student records rights (which are typically included in parent-student handbooks).  Given that parent-student handbooks have already been issued for the 2017-2018 school year, we recommend that districts and joint agreements send a notification to all families regarding the changes resulting from PA 100-0532.  We also recommend that districts and joint agreements provide this interim notification to newly-enrolling students and their families in 2017-2018.  Parent-student handbooks for 2018-2019 should be revised accordingly.

The full text of the PA 100-0532 is available at: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=100-0532.

Should you have any questions about Public Act 100-0532, how it impacts your student records policies and procedures, or needed follow-up to ensure compliance, please contact one of our attorneys at 630.313.4750.