Recent Case Highlights Changes to Detachment Proceedings

Aug 1, 2018

Last month, Tueth Keeney attorneys Rob Jackstadt and Chad Watkins successfully argued before the Williamson County Circuit Court that that a regional board of school trustees”™ decision should be reversed. (See In the News for more information about this case.)

The Circuit Court’s decision further elucidates the meaning of recent changes to the factors that must be weighed by a regional board of school trustees when deciding whether to grant a petition to detach from a school district’s territory. As explained in another recent case, Shephard v. Regional Board of School Trustees of De Kalb County, 2018 IL App (2d) 170407, the prior version of the law allowed regional boards to weigh the relevant factors simultaneously to determine whether to grant the detachment petition. Id. at ¶ 23.

After the changes to the law, however, there appears to be a hierarchy in how these factors should be weighed. Regional boards must first make the determination that there would be a significant direct educational benefit to the petitioners”™ children if the petition were granted. Other factors, such as the whole-child and the community-of-interest, can now only be considered if the regional board first determines that there would be a significant direct educational benefit. Id.  

Going forward, we believe regional boards should ensure their final orders include the board’s determination on the question of whether there would be a significant direct educational benefit if the petition were granted. And, if this is not answered affirmatively, then the petition should not be granted. If it is answered affirmatively, then the order should also include the board’s analysis of the other factors, such as whole-child and the community-of-interest.

Illinois Education – Tueth Keeney is proud to be one of the state’s largest Illinois education law practices. The firm has one of the most experienced groups of attorneys in Central and Southern Illinois dedicated to serving public schools. We regularly represent nearly 150 public school districts, including many districts in Central and Southern Illinois. Our Firm is also regularly appointed by insurers of educational institutions to represent districts in complex or difficult cases involving school or civil rights laws.

Robert L. Jackstadt practices in the areas of commercial, construction and education litigation. Rob has tried to a conclusion numerous jury and bench trials in federal and state courts located in Illinois and Missouri. Rob has tried and/or handled hundreds of different civil litigation matters involving a wide variety of complex matters including construction defects, employment contracts, retaliatory discharge, railcar leases, letters of credit, minority shareholder claims, unfair labor practices, condemnation, products liability, non-competition agreements, mechanic’s liens, tax increment financing districts, and securities.

Rob also has extensive experience negotiating construction contracts and providing advice to public entities on public construction projects. He has been selected by his peers as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in the area of Construction Law. Rob has also received an AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell in both St. Louis and Edwardsville, the highest rating available.

Rob is a founding Shareholder of the Firm. Prior to co-founding this Firm, Rob was a partner at Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin (now Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP) for eight years. In addition to his private practice, Rob serves as the Mayor of Glen Carbon, Illinois ““ a part time position.   Rob serves on the Firm’s three-person Management Committee.

Chad Watkins practices primarily in Illinois education law. Prior to joining the firm, Chad taught high school in Washington, D.C. and received his master’s degree in special education.