Supreme Court Summaries

Opinions filed October 18, 2013

Board of Education of Peoria School District No. 150 v. Peoria Federation of Support Staff, Security/Policeman’s Benevolent & Protective Association Unit No. 114, 2013 IL 114853

Appellate citation: 2012 IL App (4th) 110875.

      JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

      Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.

      Chief Justice Kilbride specially concurred, with opinion.

      The Board of Education of Peoria School District No. 150 employs 26 full-time and part-time individuals who work as security agents and guards. No other school district in Illinois has this type of employee. Pursuant to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, these employees were represented by a union certified by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board since 1989. The last collective-bargaining agreement pursuant to this certification expired June 30, 2010.

      On July 23, 2010, the statute took effect which is challenged here. It purported to remove these employees from the oversight of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board and redefine them as “public employees” subject to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the jurisdiction of the Illinois Labor Relations Board. This litigation raises the question of which board has jurisdiction.

      The Board of Education of Peoria School District No. 150, as plaintiff, filed an action in the circuit court of Sangamon County, seeking a declaration that its labor disputes with these employees were governed by the statute concerning educational employees, rather than by the one concerning public employees. Named as defendants were the union and both labor boards. The 2010 enactment was challenged as invalid as “special legislation,” which is forbidden by the Illinois Constitution. The circuit court dismissed.

      The appellate court reversed the dismissal and remanded for further proceedings, suggesting that the challenged legislation is, in fact, unconstitutional. The cause reached the Illinois Supreme Court on appeal by both boards.

      The supreme court held that the challenged statute is indeed invalid as forbidden special legislation because the statutory language does not apply prospectively to school districts which may, after the statute’s effective date, employ peace officers in their own police departments. Although a general law could have been passed which would have affected a generic class of individuals, here, the affected class was closed on the effective date of the enactment. The supreme court held that “it does not appear there would be much for the circuit court to do upon remand” and reversed the circuit court outright, without remand.