News from Thrun Law

January 11, 2016

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (“OSERS”) recently issued a “Dear Colleague” letter reminding school officials that an individualized education program for a student with a disability must be “aligned with the State’s academic content stand­ards for the grade in which the student is enrolled.” Dear Colleague Letter, 66 IDELR 227 (November 16, 2015). The Department of Education has designated the letter a “significant guidance document.” The let­ter, which is...

January 4, 2016

Schools that have outstanding tax credit bonds must annually complete and file Form 1097-BTC with the IRS. For tax year 2015, Form 1097-BTC must be filed with the IRS on or before February 29, 2016 (or March 31, 2016, if filed electronically).

Tax credit bonds differ from conventional school bonds because the bond purchaser receives a tax credit in lieu of, or in addition to, periodic interest payments. The tax credit is based on the principal amount of the bonds. The tax credit rate...

December 28, 2015

With the first half of the school year ending, school officials should turn their attention to midyear progress reports for certain teachers. Section 1249 of the Revised School Code requires that teacher evaluations include a midyear progress report for two groups of teachers: (1) all first year probationary teachers; and (...

December 21, 2015

As reported in last month’s edition of School Law Notes, PA 173 of 2015 recently amended the teacher evaluation requirements in Section 1249 of the Revised School Code to better assure that they align with the teacher recall requirements of Section 1248 of the Revised School Code. School officials should ensure that their...

December 14, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently found that an Illinois school district violated Title IX when it prohibited a transgender high school student from using the girls’ locker room. Twp High Sch Dist 211, OCR Case No. 05-14-1055 (November 2, 2015).

The student, who was born male,...

December 7, 2015

Public Act 173 of 2015, effective November 5, 2015, amended the Revised School Code by adding and revising language for teacher and school administrator performance evaluations.

Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, schools may adopt and implement their own evaluation tool for both teachers and school administrators rather...

November 30, 2015

School officials must file the Municipal Finance Qualifying Statement form with the Michigan Department of Treasury by Thursday, December 31, 2015 to avoid late fees and other negative consequences.

The annual filing of the form is required to obtain “qualified status” for 2016.  Obtaining qualified status...

November 23, 2015

We are pleased to announce that Philip G. Clark has joined Thrun Law Firm as an associate attorney in the East Lansing office.  Phil graduated from the University of Michigan (B.A., 2012) and Michigan State University College of Law (J.D., 2015, cum laude), where he was an articles editor for Michigan State...

November 16, 2015

With the holidays fast approaching, our gift to school officials is guidance on how to acknowledge the holidays without violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The only thing worse than coal in your stocking is a federal lawsuit!

Because public schools may not sponsor religious practices, such as prayer or devotional Bible readings, it is important that your school’s holiday celebrations have an educational purpose. This does not mean that all religious overtones...

November 9, 2015

A federal court in Virginia recently dismissed a transgender student’s Title IX claim that the school board’s sex-segregated restroom policy amounted to sex discrimination. GG v Gloucester Sch Bd, Docket No. 4:15-cv-54 (ED Va, 2015). The court declined to re­quire the school to allow the student’s use of the re­stroom that...

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