News from Thrun Law

July 22, 2019

MERC recently held that a school district violated PERA by refusing to provide a union with the contact information for employees within a bargaining unit represented by the union. Lapeer Cmty Schs v SEIU Local 517M, Case No. C18 H-078 (2019). MERC’s decision clarifies that when an employer maintains contact in­formation for employees represented by a union, the employer generally has an obligation to share that information with the union upon request.

In this case, a union...

July 15, 2019

MDE’s Office of Special Education recently issued three guidance documents addressing shortened school days, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) reevaluation process, and special education discipline requirements. While the reevaluation and discipline guidance documents largely restate federal law, MDE’s guidance on shortened school days de­scribes the circumstances under which schools may shorten a school day for a student eligible for special education under the IDEA....

July 8, 2019

Schools are receiving an overwhelming number of sexual misconduct reports, including both student-to-student and staff-to-student sexual harassment, result­ing in an increase in Title IX investigations. Those inves­tigations vary slightly from general misconduct investi­gations because federal law requires school offi­cials to take specific steps during and after a Title IX investiga­tion. Knowing what triggers a Title IX investigation and what steps to take at the outset may protect your...

June 27, 2019

Thrun Law Firm recently finalized a guidance manual (Guidance) on the legal considerations related to the implementa­tion of Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 84, Fiduciary Activities (GASB 84). The Guidance focuses on legal re­quirements and practical recommendations related to the widespread changes in school operations after GASB 84’s July 1 implementation date. GASB released its Final Implementation Guide on June 17, 2019, thus our analysis is current and includes all...

June 24, 2019

A school’s legal obligations under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and now Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA), often depend on whether an employee is “non-exempt” under the FLSA. Improperly classifying employees as “exempt” may result in significant liability.

Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees must be compensated at a rate of time-and-one-half for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The FLSA also imposes recordkeeping requirements on employers for non-exempt...

June 17, 2019

As this school year wraps up, administrators should begin reviewing and revising student hand­books for the 2019-2020 school year. A comprehensive and well-written student handbook is an important tool to ensure compliance with state and federal law, uphold student discipline decisions, and defend against litigation and other disputes.

Board Policy

One of the most common student handbook mistakes is failing to align handbook provisions with board policy (and...

June 10, 2019

Section 1249a(1) of the Revised School Code states “a school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy shall not assign a pupil to be taught in the same subject area for 2 consecutive years by a teacher who has been rated as ineffective on his or her 2 most recent annual year-end evaluations.” Thrun Law Firm interprets this language to prohibit a school from assigning a student for two consecutive years in the same subject area to any teacher rated ineffective...

June 3, 2019

From March 13 to April 17, 2019, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) confirmed 43 cases of measles in Michigan, the highest in the state since 1991. Those infected ranged in age from 8 months to 63 years. School officials should look for guidance from MDHHS and their local commu­nity health department on how to handle the outbreak, including requirements to exclude certain people from school.

Measles is a highly contagious disease. It spreads through in-person...

May 23, 2019

The Michigan Finance Authority (MFA) 2019 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/mfa. For general powers school districts and ISDs, click on “State Aid Note Program (SAN)” located under the “Finance Programs” heading on the MFA’s homepage. The filing deadline to submit the application materials is Friday, June 28,...

May 20, 2019

In December 2018, Governor Snyder signed legislation aimed at making Michigan’s schools safer. Several of the new and amended laws, which went into effect at the end of March 2019, require schools to work with or report specific information to the Michigan State Police (MSP), its Office of School Safety (OSS), or the newly established School Safety Commission (SSC). MSP recently issued guidance to help school officials understand how to implement these new requirements. The guidance is...

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