School Districts

News & Analysis as of

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

School Districts Seeing Stars Over New Concussion Legislation

Last week, Governor Rauner signed into law the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act (Public Act 99-0245) which includes a number of new requirements relating to student concussions for school districts, charter schools, and...more

PAC Rules Collective Bargaining Preparatory Meetings are Subject to OMA

In a non-binding opinion, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) held that a school district violated the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when the board’s negotiations team, which included three board members, held a meeting to discuss...more

TRB Issues New Guidance Concerning the Reemployment of Retired Teachers

On June 17, 2015, Connecticut’s Attorney General issued an opinion concerning the “statutory limits on the compensation provided to reemployed teachers (including superintendents and other administrators) pursuant to Conn....more

Courts Will Go Above and Beyond to Award Attorneys’ Fees for Unreasonably Withholding Public Records

In a novel and somewhat convoluted fact pattern, the California Court of Appeal yet again sent a loud and clear message: The purpose of the California Public Records Act ("CPRA") is to monitor governmental activities despite...more

Illinois Court Finds Special Property Tax Exemption Unconstitutional

A property tax exemption designed to benefit a single aviation company was recently found unconstitutional by the Illinois Appellate Court. The exemption was only for fixed base operators (FBOs) providing aeronautical...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Addresses Public Records, Closed Session and "Personnel Matters"

In The Times News Publishing Co. v. The Alamance-Burlington Bd. of Education, No. COA15-99 (July 21, 2015), the Court of Appeals considered the intersection between the State's Open Meetings Laws (N.C.G.S. 143-318.9, et seq.)...more

Deliberate Indifference to Bullying Can Amount to Massive Liability – Lessons from the Pine Bush Settlement

$4.48 million. That’s how much the Pine Bush School District in central-New York just agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit brought by a group of current and former students who alleged that school administrators were...more

PAC Upholds Board Action: No OMA Violation for Private Emails

In June, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued a non-binding opinion holding that board members of a school district did not violate the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when partaking in intermittent private email exchanges...more

Amendments Clarify Employers’ Background Check Obligations Under Pennsylvania Law

On July 1, 2015, Governor Tom Wolf signed into law Act 15 (House Bill 1276), which amends Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) to clarify the requirements of employers and volunteer-based organizations to...more

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