(105 ILCS 5/21B-75)
Suspension or revocation of license, endorsement, or approval.
(a) As used in this Section, "teacher" means any school district employee regularly required to be licensed, as provided in this Article, in order to teach or supervise in the public schools.
(b) The State Superintendent of Education has the exclusive authority, in accordance with this Section and any rules adopted by the State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board, to initiate the suspension of up to 5 calendar years or revocation of any license, endorsement, or approval issued pursuant to this Article for abuse or neglect of a child, sexual misconduct as defined in subsection (c) of Section 22-85.5 of this Code, immorality, a condition of health detrimental to the welfare of pupils, incompetency, unprofessional conduct (which includes the failure to disclose on an employment application any previous conviction for a sex offense, as defined in Section 21B-80 of this Code, or any other offense committed in any other state or against the laws of the United States that, if committed in this State, would be punishable as a sex offense, as defined in Section 21B-80 of this Code), the neglect of any professional duty, willful or negligent failure to report an instance of suspected child abuse or neglect as required by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, or other just cause. Negligent failure to report an instance of suspected child abuse or neglect occurs when a teacher personally observes an instance of suspected child abuse or neglect and reasonably believes, in his or her professional or official capacity, that the instance constitutes an act of child abuse or neglect under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, and he or she, without willful intent, fails to immediately report or cause a report to be made of the suspected abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Family Services, as required by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. Unprofessional conduct shall include the refusal to attend or participate in institutes, teachers' meetings, or professional readings or to meet other reasonable requirements of the regional superintendent of schools or State Superintendent of Education. Unprofessional conduct also includes conduct that violates the standards, ethics, or rules applicable to the security, administration, monitoring, or scoring of or the reporting of scores from any assessment test or examination administered under Section 2-3.64a-5 of this Code or that is known or intended to produce or report manipulated or artificial, rather than actual, assessment or achievement results or gains from the administration of those tests or examinations. Unprofessional conduct shall also include neglect or unnecessary delay in the making of statistical and other reports required by school officers. Incompetency shall include, without limitation, 2 or more school terms of service for which the license holder has received an unsatisfactory rating on a performance evaluation conducted pursuant to Article 24A of this Code within a period of 7 school terms of service. In determining whether to initiate action against one or more licenses based on incompetency and the recommended sanction for such action, the State Superintendent shall consider factors that include without limitation all of the following:
(1) Whether the unsatisfactory evaluation ratings
When initiating an action against one or more licenses, the State Superintendent may seek required professional development as a sanction in lieu of or in addition to suspension or revocation. Any such required professional development must be at the expense of the license holder, who may use, if available and applicable to the requirements established by administrative or court order, training, coursework, or other professional development funds in accordance with the terms of an applicable collective bargaining agreement entered into after June 13, 2011 (the effective date of Public Act 97-8), unless that agreement specifically precludes use of funds for such purpose.
(c) The State Superintendent of Education shall, upon receipt of evidence of abuse or neglect of a child, immorality, a condition of health detrimental to the welfare of pupils, incompetency (subject to subsection (b) of this Section), unprofessional conduct, the neglect of any professional duty, or other just cause, further investigate and, if and as appropriate, serve written notice to the individual and afford the individual opportunity for a hearing prior to suspension, revocation, or other sanction; provided that the State Superintendent is under no obligation to initiate such an investigation if the Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the same or substantially similar allegations and its child protective service unit has not made its determination, as required under Section 7.12 of the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. If the State Superintendent of Education does not receive from an individual a request for a hearing within 10 days after the individual receives notice, the suspension, revocation, or other sanction shall immediately take effect in accordance with the notice. If a hearing is requested within 10 days after notice of an opportunity for hearing, it shall act as a stay of proceedings until the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board issues a decision. Any hearing shall take place in the educational service region where the educator is or was last employed and in accordance with rules adopted by the State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board, and such rules shall include without limitation provisions for discovery and the sharing of information between parties prior to the hearing. The standard of proof for any administrative hearing held pursuant to this Section shall be by the preponderance of the evidence. The decision of the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board is a final administrative decision and is subject to judicial review by appeal of either party.
The State Board of Education may refuse to issue or may suspend the license of any person who fails to file a return or to pay the tax, penalty, or interest shown in a filed return or to pay any final assessment of tax, penalty, or interest, as required by any tax Act administered by the Department of Revenue, until such time as the requirements of any such tax Act are satisfied.
The exclusive authority of the State Superintendent of Education to initiate suspension or revocation of a license pursuant to this Section does not preclude a regional superintendent of schools from cooperating with the State Superintendent or a State's Attorney with respect to an investigation of alleged misconduct.
(d) The State Superintendent of Education or his or her designee may initiate and conduct such investigations as may be reasonably necessary to establish the existence of any alleged misconduct. At any stage of the investigation, the State Superintendent may issue a subpoena requiring the attendance and testimony of a witness, including the license holder, and the production of any evidence, including files, records, correspondence, or documents, relating to any matter in question in the investigation. The subpoena shall require a witness to appear at the State Board of Education at a specified date and time and shall specify any evidence to be produced. The license holder is not entitled to be present, but the State Superintendent shall provide the license holder with a copy of any recorded testimony prior to a hearing under this Section. Such recorded testimony must not be used as evidence at a hearing, unless the license holder has adequate notice of the testimony and the opportunity to cross-examine the witness. Failure of a license holder to comply with a duly issued, investigatory subpoena may be grounds for revocation, suspension, or denial of a license.
(e) All correspondence, documentation, and other information so received by the regional superintendent of schools, the State Superintendent of Education, the State Board of Education, or the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board under this Section is confidential and must not be disclosed to third parties, except (i) as necessary for the State Superintendent of Education or his or her designee to investigate and prosecute pursuant to this Article, (ii) pursuant to a court order, (iii) for disclosure to the license holder or his or her representative, or (iv) as otherwise required in this Article and provided that any such information admitted into evidence in a hearing is exempt from this confidentiality and non-disclosure requirement.
(f) The State Superintendent of Education or a person designated by him or her shall have the power to administer oaths to witnesses at any hearing conducted before the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board pursuant to this Section. The State Superintendent of Education or a person designated by him or her is authorized to subpoena and bring before the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board any person in this State and to take testimony either orally or by deposition or by exhibit, with the same fees and mileage and in the same manner as prescribed by law in judicial proceedings in civil cases in circuit courts of this State.
(g) Any circuit court, upon the application of the State Superintendent of Education or the license holder, may, by order duly entered, require the attendance of witnesses and the production of relevant books and papers as part of any investigation or at any hearing the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board is authorized to conduct pursuant to this Section, and the court may compel obedience to its orders by proceedings for contempt.
(h) The State Board of Education shall receive an annual line item appropriation to cover fees associated with the investigation and prosecution of alleged educator misconduct and hearings related thereto.
(Source: P.A. 101-531, eff. 8-23-19; 102-552, eff. 1-1-22; 102-702, eff. 7-1-23