News from Thrun Law

October 27, 2016

The holiday season is fast approaching, bringing with it a sleigh full of legal landmines. Ho-ho-ho! Despite decades of legal precedent and guidance, the holiday season can generate First Amendment lawsuits, as an Indiana school learned recently.

Freedom from Religion Foundation v Concord Com­munity Schools (ND Ind, 2016)

For many years, Concord High School’s annual “Christmas Spectacular” show ended with a 20-minute living nativity scene that included Bible readings...

October 27, 2016

Two federal courts recently dismissed unrelated Title IX claims against two Michigan school districts involving teacher-student sexual relationships. Irvin v Grand Rapids Pub Schs, Case No. 1:14-cv-1161 (WD Mich, September 27, 2016); Campbell v Dundee Cmty Schs, Case No. 15-1891 (CA 6, October 13, 2016). These decisions provide helpful guidance to school officials on how to respond to allegations of inappropriate teacher-student relationships.

Title IX prohibits sex-...

September 29, 2016

Public Act 249 of 2016 not only amended the state school aid budget and increased the pupil foundation allowance, it also appropriated funds for other school purposes and amended the State School Aid Act (SSAA) in ways that impose substantive requirements on schools. We want to highlight four important changes from PA 249.

Foundation Allowances

The State Maximum Guaranteed Foundation was increased to $8,229, and the Minimum Foundation was increased to $7,511. Despite...

September 29, 2016

Public Act 249 of 2016 not only amended the state school aid budget and increased the pupil foundation allowance, it also appropriated funds for other school purposes and amended the State School Aid Act (SSAA) in ways that impose substantive requirements on schools. We want to highlight four important changes from PA 249.

Foundation Allowances

The State Maximum Guaranteed Foundation was increased to $8,229, and the Minimum Foundation was increased to $7,511. Despite...

August 26, 2016

On July 19, 2016, the State School Reform/Redesign Officer (SRO) initiated meetings with school superintendents and board presidents who have underperforming buildings within their districts. Identified as “priority schools,” there are ap­proximately 184 underperforming school buildings targeted by the SRO.

The SRO requested that school officials meet by September 1 to discuss priority schools in their districts. In the meeting request, the SRO indicated that the following...

August 25, 2016

Below is a brief overview regarding the SRO, the recent appointment of a CEO in East Detroit Public Schools, and Public Act 192 of 2016.

Background on the State School Reform/Redesign Office

In 2010, the State School Reform/Redesign Office was created. At that time, the SRO reported directly to the State Board...

August 22, 2016

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued a published decision explaining that “granting” a request for public records under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) is separate and distinct from “fulfilling” a request. Cramer v Village of Oakley, No. 330736 (Mich App, 2016).

Brandi Cramer sent six FOIA requests to the Oakley police department seeking information about the village’s reserve police department unit. The village sent written notice to Cramer stating...

August 15, 2016

For school districts with a July tax levy, local tax-collecting units recently sent summer tax bills to district taxpayers. Those municipalities will collect school taxes on those districts’ behalf. Every year, however, some of our clients receive collected tax revenue late, causing unexpected cash flow problems. School officials should be aware that tax-collecting units have a statutory duty to timely transfer school tax revenues.

Township and city treasurers generally are...

August 8, 2016

As of 2006, roughly 88 percent of schools had at least one student with a food allergy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response to the increasing number of students with food allergies, the Michigan Department of Education recently developed and released Food Allergy Guidelines for Michigan Schools. The guidance encourages each school to have its own food allergy policy and provides a broad overview of many topics, including legal rights and...

August 1, 2016

In a June 2, 2016 memo to local and ISD superintendents and public school academy directors, the Michigan Department of Edu­cation announced the commencement of an “appeals window” for the five most recent years of educator evaluation data in the Registry of Education Personnel (“REP”).

Under Public Act 173 of 2015, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is prohibited from issuing an initial professional teaching certificate (effective July 1, 2018) or an initial or renewed advanced...

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