News from Thrun Law

July 25, 2022

In Sawicki v Bangor Twp Sch Dist (21-8), the State Tenure Commission (STC) upheld the school district’s discharge of an insubordinate teacher. Thrun Law Firm successfully represented the school district in bringing tenure charges.

During his 29-year employment with the District, Sawicki was placed on several different individual development plans (IDPs) for performance issues. During remote instruction in the 2020-2021 school year, Sawicki failed to create and follow...

July 18, 2022

Michigan schools have struggled to determine their obligations to students and staff under the 2020 Title IX regulations. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court whose decisions are binding in Michigan, recently issued an opinion that provides important Title IX guidance for school officials. Doe v Metro Gov’t of Nashville and Davidson Cty, Tennessee (CA 6, 2022).

The case encompasses lawsuits for Title IX violations brought by two female high school...

July 11, 2022

As school boards adopt their budgets for the 2022-23 school year, school officials should be mindful that State School Aid Act Section 18 mandates a deadline for posting the school’s annual budget and required financial information. Within 15 days after a school board adopts its annual operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the school must post or provide a link to the budget on its or its ISD’s website homepage.

Within the same timeframe, schools must also post a summary of...

June 30, 2022

This month’s Back to Basics article focuses on the hearing process to contest worker unemployment claims. School officials must be mindful of the applicable timelines and procedures to contest claims.

Denying & Contesting Claims

Unemployment compensation is paid to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If a worker becomes unemployed because of his or her own actions, such as by quitting or being fired for misconduct, he or she should be...

June 27, 2022

The Michigan Finance Authority’s (MFA) August 2022 state aid note program materials, including the loan application, cash flow form, instructions, and calendar, are now available on the MFA’s website at www.michigan.gov/treasury/finance/mfa/note.

The gen­eral powers school district and ISD filing deadline to file application materials with the MFA is Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

Public school academies...

June 20, 2022

With an increasing number of unemployment claims filed by unemployed or underemployed workers, school officials must be mindful of the statutory timelines and procedures when contesting claims.

Generally, unemployment benefits are provided to mitigate the impact from the sudden loss of income due to unemployment. The right to such benefits is governed by the Michigan Employment Security Act (MESA), which is administered by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). MESA’s...

June 13, 2022

Many school officials have reported a new challenge related to COVID-19: fewer vendors are submitting bids on requests for proposals (RFPs) for construction projects and materials, supplies, and equipment. Some vendors appear reluctant to take on school construction projects due to the limited availability and rising costs of building materials.

When Are Bids Required?

Michigan law requires schools to engage in competitive bidding in the following...

June 6, 2022

School officials continue to navigate legal, political, and familial issues when responding to a transgender student’s request to use the student’s preferred name and pronouns at school and to access facilities consistent with the student’s gender identity. Although no Michigan or federal statute expressly prohibits discrimination based on a person’s transgender status or gender identity, federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have interpreted Title VII, Title IX, and the Equal...

May 27, 2022

As this academic year winds down, many school boards are in the process of hiring a new superintendent. We remind boards that they must comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when evaluating, interviewing, and selecting a new superintendent.

The OMA’s intent is to facilitate public access to official governmental decision-making and to promote transparency in government. To further that interest, the OMA requires that all school board meetings be open to the public, except for...

May 23, 2022

As this school year wraps up, school officials should begin reviewing and revising student handbooks for the 2022-23 school year. A comprehensive and well-written student handbook is an important tool to ensure compliance with state and federal law, support student discipline decisions, and reduce the risk of litigation and other disputes.

Disclaimer Language

School officials should consider including language at the beginning of the student...

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