By: Brittany Flaherty Theis

On July 22, 2016, Governor Rauner signed the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act (the “Act”), which was previously known as House Bill 4379. Beginning January 1, 2017, school board members will be subject to new requirements regarding travel expenses. The Act applies to school districts, community college districts, and all other units of local government, all of which are referred to as local public agencies in the Act.

Under the Act, the local public agencies must regulate, whether by resolution or ordinance, the reimbursement of all travel, meal, and lodging expenses of its officers and employees. The regulations must provide the types of official business for which travel, meal, and lodging expenses are allowed, the maximum allowable reimbursement for travel, meal, and lodging expenses, and a standardized form for submission of travel, meal, and lodging expenses. The Act prohibits reimbursement for entertainment expenses.

The Act states that the minimum documentation must include:

1) an estimate of the cost of travel, meals, or lodging if the expenses have not yet been incurred, or a receipt if the expenses have already been incurred;
2) the name of the individual requesting reimbursement;
3) the title or office of the individual requesting reimbursement; and
4) the date(s) and nature of the official business in which the expenses were, or will be, incurred.

All documents and information submitted pursuant to the Act are public records under the Freedom of Information Act. Beginning March 2, 2017, reimbursement for expenses that exceed the maximum allowed under the regulations adopted by the local public agency and requests for reimbursement submitted by a member of the governing board must be approved by roll call vote at an open meeting of the governing board.

As it relates to school districts that subscribe to the Illinois Association of School Board’s (“IASB”) policy service, the IASB has indicated that the school district policy regarding such expenses will be updated in the IASB policy service PRESS Issue 93 for school districts to consider this fall. Please contact Whitt Law Attorney Brittany Flaherty Theis if you have questions regarding the Act or would like an attorney at Whitt Law to review any of your school district’s policies.

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