News from Thrun Law

May 16, 2016

On November 5, 2015, the Legislature enacted PA 173 which requires school districts to take specific action during the summer months to remain compliant with Section 1249 of the Revised School Code. School administrators must plan ahead to effectively implement the new mandates, and should prioritize this project to have all...

May 9, 2016

Voluntary severance plans (“VSPs”) or early retirement incentive plans are a valuable tool schools can use to adapt to their changing workforce needs. Generally, VSPs offer a financial incentive to qualified employees in exchange for their resignation. VSPs are typically offered to individuals who meet contractually prescribed years...

May 2, 2016

As the end of the school year quickly approaches, school administrators are reminded that they must make important personnel decisions about the contin­ued employment of probationary teachers and follow the timelines and procedures to nonrenew a proba­tionary teacher’s contract. Acting outside of those timelines and procedures may...

April 28, 2016

High school graduation season is fast approaching. Because of the emotional and social significance at­tached to this important milestone, school officials should be prepared to prevent and resolve legal dis­putes. Appropriate policies and a general understanding of the applicable legal standard can guide school officials through graduation-related challenges.

Diplomas and "Walking"

School officials should not deny diplomas as a means of disciplining students who have...

April 2, 2016

School officials often encounter vendors offering seemingly simple financing packages to assist schools with paying for buses, copiers, or other school equip­ment. Those financing packages should be evaluated carefully because they may contain unfavorable or illegal provisions.

A financing package typically uses a lease purchase agreement (“LPA”) or other form of lease financing with a third-party financing company. Under an LPA, a school avoids creating a debt obliga­tion by pledging...

April 1, 2016

After returning from spring break, school administrators face the daunting task of wrapping up teacher evaluations and making difficult personnel decisions. Recent changes in the law will affect those decisions.

Wrapping Up Year-End Evaluations

The Revised School Code requires that a teacher’s annual year-end evaluation include specific perfor­mance goals that will assist in improving the teacher’s effectiveness for the next school year. To comply, ad­...

March 31, 2016

In a case handled by Thrun Law Firm, an administrative law judge for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission recently ruled that a school did not unlawfully refuse to bargain over sever­al expiring contract provisions containing prohibited bargaining subjects, including the prohibited subject of teacher discipline. Ionia Pub Schs v Ionia Ed Ass’n, Case No. C13 F-107 (February 22, 2016).

Based on recent MERC decisions, we now have a better understanding of the breadth of...

March 14, 2016

As the end of the school year approaches, schools planning to nonrenew an administrator’s employment contract must take steps to comply with the timelines and procedural requirements contained in Section 1229 of the Revised School Code. Failure to follow the statutory nonrenewal process (or provisions in an employment contract) may result in automatic contract renewal for an additional year.

Section 1229 provides that school districts and ISDs “may employ assistant superintendents,...

March 7, 2016

School board elections take place on even-year November general election dates. Candidates who plan to run for their local school board at the November 2016 election must file an Affidavit of Identity and ei­ther a nonpartisan nominating petition or a nonre­fundable fee with the County Clerk’s office by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Failure to file an Affidavit of Identity and the petition or fee by this deadline will bar the candidate from appearing on the ballot....

February 25, 2016

On February 5, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued a preliminary in­junction prohibiting the State of Michigan and the Secretary of State from enforcing Section 57(3) of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (“CFA”). Taylor v Johnson, Case No. 16-10256 (ED Mich, 2016).

Section 57(3) of the CFA was added by Public Act 269 of 2015, which, among other things, generally prohibits schools and other public bodies from refer­encing a ballot question...

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