School Districts

News & Analysis as of

Real Estate and Land Use - September 2015 #2

Use It or Lose It: San Clemente Required to Refund $10 Million in Unused Impact Fees: Walker v. City of San Clemente (August 28, 2015, G050552) - Why It Matters: In a strict reading of a local agency’s...more

Alert: Student Data Privacy: States Keep Up the Momentum

While Congress continues to consider (but not act on) nationwide student data privacy initiatives, the states continued to lead the charge in 2015. Earlier this year, we reported that, in 2014, 36 states introduced 110...more

When Is A School District “Deliberately Indifferent” To Student Discrimination Claims?

When a student alleges discrimination within the school environment, the school district may be held liable if it was “deliberately indifferent” to the discrimination. Three recent cases involving allegations of sexual...more

Illinois Supreme Court Says School District’s Subject to Municipal Zoning

On September 24, 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court reaffirmed the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” in holding that Community High School District No. 155’s bleacher construction project is subject to and must...more

Seventh Circuit Finds School District Not Liable in Bullying Case

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the federal appellate court with jurisdiction over Illinois, recently rejected an Indiana student’s claims against two school districts for allegedly improperly responding to...more

Can an Employee Decline FMLA Leave Simply by Checking a Box on a Form?

Do you require your employees to fill out a form or an application to request leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act? If not, are you thinking of changing to such an approach? Either way, pay attention to this story...more

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Local Land Use Codes Apply to School Districts

In a long-anticipated decision, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled on September 24, 2015, that school districts are subject to municipal zoning and land use regulations. The decision in Gurba v. Community High School District...more

SEE YOU IN COURT! - September 2015

The members of the Nutmeg Board of Education are a conscientious group, and they want to know everything about the operation of the Nutmeg Public Schools. For his part, Mr. Superintendent has tried to keep up with their...more

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Regardless of what type of legal or physical custody a parent exercises, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), all parents are provided with certain rights surrounding their ability to access their...more

Back To The Chalk Board: School District’s Math Fails To Justify CEQA Categorical Exemption For School Closures

In a published opinion filed September 2, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal (Division 2) reversed the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging a school district’s determination that its closure of...more

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Explains and Applies Active Interference Exception to No Damage for Delay Clause

John Spearly Constr., Inc. v. Penns Valley Area Sch. Dist., 2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 337 (Pa. Commw. Ct. July 24, 2015) - This action arose out of the construction of a biomass boiler system for the Penns Valley Area School...more

New Legislation Leaves Illinois Schools “Locked Out” of Student Social Media Accounts

Recent amendments to Illinois law draw back on rights of post-secondary, secondary, and elementary schools to request or require access to student social networking accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. School districts and...more

Illinois Passes Legislation Curbing Out-of-School Disciplinary Practices

On August 24, 2015, Governor Rauner signed into law Public Act 99-456. The Act requires school districts and charter schools to overhaul their discipline policies and is aimed at reducing the incidence of out-of-school...more

Supreme Court Affirms Ruling That School District Has Duty To Transport Student To And From Father’s And Mother’s Separate...

Watts v. Manheim Central School District, 112 MAP 2014 (Pa. 2015). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed an earlier ruling of the Commonwealth Court that, when a school district provides transportation, it must transport a...more

Another Circuit Court Recognizes Schools’ Right to Discipline Students for Off Campus, Online Misconduct

In a recent case, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit joined four other circuits in recognizing the right of school districts to discipline students for at least some off-campus, online speech if the speech reasonably...more

School Districts and Charter Schools Must Address Student Data Privacy Concerns in Contracts

In working with school districts and charter schools, our firm has learned that many clients may have entered into agreements that lack key contract terms necessary to protect student data privacy. In other cases, we have...more

Delaware Changes Online, Student Privacy Protection Laws

Four pieces of legislation intended to improve online privacy and protections for Delaware residents were signed into law by Governor Jack Markell on August 7, 2015. Collectively, this legislation will impact a broad range of...more

School Buses Exempted from Property Tax

While children sing the “Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” as they head to school, it is highly doubtful that they ponder who has to pay the taxes for those wheels. Yet, this very question arose recently in the New...more

Court Rejects “Gotcha” Theory of Waiver Under Public Records Act

A California appellate court has ruled that inadvertent disclosure of documents containing attorney-client communications in response to a Public Records Act request does not result in a waiver of the privilege. Newark...more

IRS auditor loses flash drive exposing SSNs of almost 12,000 people

Katy Independent School District (ISD) was randomly audited by the IRS on August 5th. In order to conduct the audit, the IRS auditor had a flash drive with the names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers of...more

California Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Public Entity Employer: No Forum Shopping for California Public Entity Employees

In a recent unpublished case, the California Court of Appeal ruled a public civil service commission decision on a worker’s employment claims precluded him from relitigating his claims in a civil action. According to the...more

OSEP Dear Colleague Letter Reminds Districts to Consider Speech/Language Needs for Students with Autism

The Office for Special Education Programs (“OSEP”) within the U.S. Department of Education recently issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” indicating its concern that students with autism may not be receiving necessary speech and...more

New Vaccine Requirement for Illinois Students Creates Confusion

Students, parents, and school districts should be mindful of new immunization requirements that go into effect for the 2015-16 school year. The changes include a requirement imposed by Public Act 98-0480 and related...more

Mother & Daughter’s Challenge to Ten Commandments Monument Dismissed for Lack of Standing

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissed an Establishment Clause challenge to a Ten Commandments monument located on the lawn outside a local high school, in Freedom From Religion Foundation...more

Taking The “Due” Out of Due Process – OSERS and Compliance Complaints

During a brief altercation in Dashiell Hammett’s classic novel, The Maltese Falcon, the protagonist, Sam Spade, warns one of his antagonists that “when you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it.” That is much the same...more

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