(a) Workers' Compensation Act Applicable to School Employees. - The provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act shall be applicable to all school employees, and the State Board of Education shall make arrangements necessary to carry out the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act applicable to these employees paid from State school funds. Liability of the State for compensation shall be confined to school employees paid by the State from State school funds for injuries or death caused by accident arising out of and in the course of their employment in connection with the state-operated school term. The State shall be liable for this compensation on the basis of the average weekly wage of the employees as defined in the Workers' Compensation Act, to the extent of the proportionate part of each employee's salary that is paid from State funds. The State shall also be liable for workers' compensation for all school employees employed in connection with the teaching of vocational agriculture, home economics, trades and industries, and other vocational subjects, supported in part by State and federal funds, which liability shall cover the entire period of service of these employees, to the extent of the proportionate part of each employee's salary that is paid from State funds. The local school administrative units shall be liable for workers' compensation for school employees, including lunchroom employees, whose salaries or wages are paid by the local units from local or special funds. The local units may provide insurance to cover this compensation liability and to include the cost of this insurance in their annual budgets.
The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any person, firm, or corporation making voluntary contributions to schools for any purpose, and the person, firm, or corporation shall not be liable for the payment of any sum of money under this Chapter.
(b) Payment of Awards to School Bus Drivers Pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act. - In the event that the Industrial Commission shall make an award pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act against any local board of education on account of injuries to or the death of a school bus driver arising out of and in the course of his employment as such driver, the local board of education shall draw a requisition upon the State Board of Education for the amount required to pay such award. The State Board of Education shall honor such requisition to the extent that it shall have in its hands, or subject to its control, available funds which have been or shall thereafter be appropriated by the General Assembly for the support of the school term. It shall be the duty of the local board of education to apply all funds received by it from the State Board of Education pursuant to such requisition to the payment of such award. Neither the State nor the State Board of Education shall be deemed the employer of such school bus driver, nor shall the State or the State Board of Education be liable to any school bus driver or any other person for the payment of any claim, award, or judgment under the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Act or of any other law of this State for any injury or death arising out of or in the course of the operation by such driver of a public school bus. Neither the local board of education, the local school administrative unit, nor the tax levying authorities for the local school administrative unit shall be liable for the payment of any award made pursuant to the provisions of this subsection in excess of the amount paid upon such requisition by the State Board of Education, nor shall the local school board of education, the local school administrative unit, nor the said tax levying authorities be required to provide or carry workers' compensation insurance for such purpose. (1955, c. 1292; c. 1372, art. 18, s. 9; 1979, c. 714, s. 2; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1995, c. 324, s. 17(b).)