News from Thrun Law

October 24, 2022

MDE recently published the 2022-23 Pupil Accounting Manual, which is available here. As re­ported in the August 25, 2022 edition of School Law Notes, fall count day is Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Be sure to review the updated Pupil Accounting Manual and...

October 17, 2022

In a memorandum anticipated in the coming days, MDE will announce the new competitive bid threshold. MDE adjusts this threshold annually to account for inflation as measured by the average consumer price index.

For the 2022-23 fiscal year, $28,048 is the threshold amount at which school districts, ISDs, and public school academies must competitively bid for:  (1) labor and materials for construction projects (RSC Section 1267), and (2) the purchase of supplies,...

October 10, 2022

A Michigan federal court recently dismissed a claim that a school district violated the First Amendment when it suspended a student for impersonating his teacher on Instagram and posting violent and sexual content about other teachers. Kutchinski v Freeland Comm Sch Dist, Case No. 19-13810 (ED Mich, 2022).

H.K., a Freeland High School student, created an Instagram account pretending to be his teacher. The account’s profile identified the teacher by full name, high school, and...

September 30, 2022

As reported in the July 28, 2022 edition of School Law Notes, Public Act 184 of 2022 significantly amended the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Act (MPSER). As of July 25, 2022, retirees may return to work without earnings limitations or pension forfeitures so long as they had a bona fide termination and retired at least nine consecutive months earlier. While PA 184 may eventually help combat teacher shortages, it is important to consider the immediate impact and...

September 26, 2022

Don’t forget to get your school year off to a safe start by complying with state safety drill obligations. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about these requirements.

Q: Which schools are required to conduct safety drills each school year?

A: Michigan’s Fire Prevention Code requires every local school district, intermediate school district, and public school academy operating any of grades K-12 to conduct fire,...

September 19, 2022

With the new school year upon us, now is a good time to review school websites and board policies for compliance with current Title IX requirements. Below are important obligations that are frequently overlooked.

Title IX Coordinator

All educational institutions receiving federal funds must have at least one employee serving as Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for: (1) ensuring that all employees involved in the Title IX process are trained...

September 12, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted all aspects of school operations, including school services contracted out to independent contractors. As school officials renegotiate or execute new service agreements (e.g., with transportation, custodial, or other contractors), they should be mindful about establishing contract terms that offer flexibility and tolerance for changing circumstances that may be beyond their control.

Scope of Services and Payment Terms

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September 5, 2022

The Michigan Supreme Court recently held that under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), sexual orientation discrimination is discrimination “because of sex” and is therefore prohibited. Rouch World, LLC v Michigan Dep’t of Civil Rights, Docket No. 162482 (July 28, 2022).

The case arose from two separate allegations of discrimination. The first allegation was made by a same-sex couple against a company that denied the couple’s request to get married in one of...

August 25, 2022

As the school year kicks off, school officials must ensure that their teachers and administrators are properly certificated. After a lull during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has resumed issuing state aid penalties to schools that employ uncertificated teachers and administrators. Executive orders and legislative amendments that relaxed teacher and administrator certification requirements during the pandemic have expired or been rescinded including the...

August 22, 2022

The rules for religion in public schools shifted recently when the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the “praying coach,” permitting a public school employee to publicly pray during his work day. Kennedy v Bremerton Sch Dist, Docket No 21-418 (June 27, 2022). The Court found that the school violated the coach’s Free Speech and Free Exercise constitutional rights when it sanctioned him for kneeling and praying at the 50-yard line after high school football games.

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