News from Thrun Law

August 28, 2020

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations, which took effect August 14, 2020. These regulations significantly amend schools’ obligations when addressing sex-based harassment complaints. To assist schools with meeting their obligations under the new regulations, Thrun Law Firm has developed a model Title IX policy package and is offering virtual comprehensive Title IX training.

The package consists of a model Board Policy for K-12 schools, a...

August 24, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic may prevent, or hinder, a party from fulfilling its contractual obligations. Failing to perform under a contract may constitute a contract breach, exposing the breaching party to liability, or relieving the non-breaching party of its obligations under the contract.

In determining whether to undertake efforts to enforce or avoid a contractual obligation, school officials should first review the contract language for applicable provisions, such as “force majeure”...

August 17, 2020

For districts with a July tax levy, local tax collecting units recently sent summer tax bills to school taxpayers. The municipalities will collect school taxes on behalf of those districts. Every year, however, some Thrun clients report belated disbursement of collected school tax revenue, causing unexpected cash flow problems. School officials should be aware that tax collecting units are required by law to timely transfer school tax revenues. While the flow of tax revenues may end up being...

August 10, 2020

On July 7, 2020, the Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education (MDE) issued Guidance to Address Foregone Learning for Students with IEPs as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which encourages schools to consider whether to provide IDEA-eligible students “recovery services” to address “foregone learning” resulting from the COVID-19 school closure. MDE’s FAQ-style document is non-binding and is not intended to provide legal advice. The guidance is available at:...

July 31, 2020

Following several deaths involving police use of excessive force against black citizens, there has been a resurgence in efforts to remove Confederate monuments and symbols from public places. Re­latedly, there has been an uptick in questions from school officials asking whether they can ban students from wearing Confederate flag apparel (e.g., shirts, hats, belt buckles, masks) at school. Since displaying the Confederate flag is an expressive activity, a school’s prohibition against the...

July 27, 2020

As school boards undertake the arduous task of adopting a budget for the 2020-21 school year, school officials should be mindful of the State School Aid Act’s reporting requirements. Within 15 days after a school district, ISD, or public school academy board adopts its annual operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year, or after a board adopts a budget revision, the school must post or provide a link to the budget on the school website’s homepage.

Schools must also post a summary of...

July 20, 2020

As reported in the April 30, 2020 edition of School Law Notes, a panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a groundbreaking decision, ruling 2-1 that stu­dents have a constitutional right to a basic minimum education (i.e., a right to foundational literacy). Gary B. v Whitmer, Case No. 18-1855/1871 (CA 6, 2020). The Sixth Circuit did not award the students their requested relief. Instead, it sent the lawsuit back to the federal district court for a determination...

July 13, 2020

Thrun Law Firm is hosting monthly policy implementation meetings for interested school officials to assist districts with adopting the Thrun Policy Manual. The monthly review consists of two 2.5-hour meetings and will cover all 5 policy series in the Man­ual. Virtual meetings are scheduled for July 16 & 17 and August 13 & 14 from 8:30 am to 11:00 am. Any school administrator or board member who is interested in the Policy Service or who has submitted a Policy Service Order Form may...

July 6, 2020

The CARES Act, a federal economic stimulus package enacted in response to COVID-19, allocated $30.75 billion in emergency relief funds for schools. On April 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) approved MDE’s application for the Elemen­tary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), one of several funds available to educational institutions under the CARES Act. As a requirement of receiving ESSER funds, a local educational agency (LEA) must provide equitable services...

June 26, 2020

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, ruling that Title VII’s protection against sex-based discrimination in the workplace applies to sexual orientation and gender identity. The decision consolidated three lower court cases in which employers admittedly terminated employees based only on the em­ployee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Those courts were split on the issue of whether Title VII prohibited such discrimination. Bostock v Clayton County...

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