News from Thrun Law

April 30, 2021

Year-end school events often present legal landmines. Those annual challenges are now heightened by COVID-19. With the recent changes to indoor and outdoor gathering restrictions, many school officials have asked whether prom or a commencement ceremony is possible this year and, if so, what those year-end events might look like.

1.     What gathering restrictions currently apply to year-end school events?

On April 16, 2021, the...

April 26, 2021

An Indiana federal court recently refused to dismiss a school employee’s lawsuit against her school district after she was disciplined and transferred to a new job for complaining to her principal, filing a com­plaint with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA), and posting on Facebook about an odor in a school building. Trinidad v Sch E Chi, Case No 2:19-CV-90 (ND Ind, 2021). Although not bind­ing on Michigan courts, this Indiana decision may be...

April 19, 2021

Even under normal circumstances, prom season requires school officials to navigate a dance floor filled with legal landmines. This year, the challenges are heightened by COVID-19. With the recent loosening of gathering limits, school officials are considering whether prom is possible this year and, if so, what it might look like. Here are a few new (and old) considerations.

MDHHS, Local Government, and Health Department Orders

On March 19, 2021, the Michigan Department...

April 12, 2021

As the school year winds down, we remind school officials of Revised School Code Section 1236 and how it affects a substitute teacher’s rights to continued em­ployment, compensation, and fringe benefits. The Michigan Court of Appeals has interpreted “substitute teacher” to mean, for purposes of Section 1236, a teacher who serves in place of a regular teacher. Nota­bly, this interpretation does not apply to a substitute teacher retained through a third-party contractor.

Under Section...

April 5, 2021

As the end of the school year approaches, school officials must follow applicable timelines and procedures if they wish to non-re­new a probationary teacher’s contract, which apply notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic. Failing to comply with the required time­lines and procedures may result in an unintended contract extension or a teacher acquiring tenure.

Probationary Period

Typically, teachers hired on or after July 19, 2011, must serve an initial five-year...

March 26, 2021

As part of our service to retainer clients, Thrun Law Firm typically hosts annual client spring seminars across the state. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pan­demic, we are doing something different this year: Tuesdays with Thrun. Our firm will offer a series of 1‑hour webinars on Tuesdays this spring at no charge to our retainer clients. Each webinar will conclude with an attorney Q & A panel to address pertinent client questions.

Webinars will be held on the following dates and...

March 22, 2021

The Internal Revenue Code’s (IRC) arbitrage rules govern how tax-exempt bond proceeds, as well as rev­enues for debt service payments, may be invested. Gen­erally, the investment earnings on tax-exempt bond proceeds that earn a higher interest rate than the inter­est rate on the original bond issue are called “arbitrage” earnings. Bond issuers may be limited in the arbitrage they can earn and keep without the related bonds becoming taxable.

When a school district levies taxes to make...

March 15, 2021

Have the collective bargaining agreements with your school’s labor unions been reviewed recently? Are they consistent with recent legal changes with respect to the school calendar, prohibited bargaining subjects, health insurance contribution limits, and the Affordable Care Act’s prerequisites for cash-in-lieu distributions? Teacher collective bargaining agree­ments are multi-million dollar agreements – generally 50-60% of school costs. Personnel costs are usually 80‑85% of a school’s budget...

March 8, 2021

On August 14, 2020, new Title IX regulations went into effect, significantly changing schools’ obligations when addressing sex-based harassment and discrimi­nation complaints. Those regulations include a sweep­ing overhaul to the Title IX investigation process, including a requirement to draft a comprehensive in­vestigation report. In response to client inquiries, Thrun Law Firm will conduct a Title IX Investigator Workshop on Tuesday, March 16, from 1:00–3:00 p.m.

This workshop is...

February 26, 2021

Eligibility for extended school year (ESY) services for students with disabilities is likely to be a topic of significant discussion in many IEP Team meetings. But IEP Teams should not assume ESY is required simply due to the past 12 months of COVID-related school closures and remote or hybrid learning modes. Instead, decisions about whether and what type of ESY is required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a student should be based on data and a student’s individual...

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