Proposed Amendments to Part 240 (Alternative Learning Opportunities Program)
P.A. 97-495, effective January 1, 2012, amended Sections 10-22.6 and 13B-20.25 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/10-22.6 and 13B-20.25) to authorize school districts to "administratively transfer" students who have been expelled or suspended “in excess of 20 school days” to an Alternative Learning Opportunities Program (ALOP). The law further requires that a school district may not deny a "transfer" of a suspended or expelled student to the ALOP program except in cases in which that student's enrollment in the ALOP "is deemed to cause a threat to the safety of students or staff".
Under Article 13B of the School Code, school districts are authorized to establish ALOPs as a way in which to broaden the academic, behavioral and social/emotional supports available to a student who is at risk of academic failure or who may fail to graduate from elementary or high school. ALOPs may be operated by a single school district or in collaboration with other districts, regional offices of education or intermediate service centers.
The proposed amendments in new Section 240.20(p) acknowledge that a school district may enroll a student who has been suspended or expelled from one of the district's schools into its ALOP and that the provision of both educational and other support services must meet the requirements of Article 13B and Part 240. Additional changes in Sections 240.20(p), and 240.30(d) and (e) further recognize that while a parent of the suspended or expelled student may withdraw consent for the child's enrollment in the ALOP or the ALOP may determine the student has met the goals of his or her student success plan, that student cannot be returned to or be re-enrolled in his or her home school until the term of the suspension or expulsion is completed.
Finally, a change is being proposed in Section 240.30(a)(4), which defines a "recognized entity" for purpose of a non-profit or for-profit educational entity providing an instructional program for an ALOP. This change is needed since approval of private business and vocational schools and of state-chartered charter schools is no longer the responsibility of the State Board of Education but rather of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the State Charter School Commission, respectively.
The proposed amendments also respond to P.A. 97-607, effective August 26, 2011, which changed the current system of teacher, administrator and school service personnel certification set forth in Article 21 of the School Code to a licensure system (Article 21B of the School Code). References to certification and related terms are being changed to align Part 240 rules to the licensure system, which became effective July 1, 2013.
Initial Review by State Board of Education: November 2013