News from Thrun Law

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...

October 30, 2015

The importance of obtaining “qualified status” each year from the Michigan Department of Treasury cannot be overemphasized. School districts, intermediate school districts, and public school academies that obtain qualified status are able to issue new bonds and notes more swiftly and pay lower filing fees to the State of Michigan. Schools that do not obtain qualified status may experi­ence significant delays in issuing bonds and notes during calendar year 2016. Those delays may be especially...

September 29, 2015

In a matter handled by Thrun, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission recently offered additional guidance on the treatment of prohibited bargaining subjects contained in section 15 of the Pub­lic Employment Relations Act.  Ionia Pub Schs and Ionia Ed Ass’n, MERC Case Nos. C12 E-094, CU12 C-013 (December 18, 2014)...

September 5, 2015

School officials must proactively protect public property from “squatters.” The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that the statutory protection from adverse possession or acquiescence claims ap­plies only when the municipal corporation initiates a lawsuit to protect public property, and not as a de­fense to a claim brought against the municipal corporation. Waisanen Family Trust v Superior Twp, 305 Mich App 719 (2014).

In 1971, Ken Waisanen bought property that abutted...

August 27, 2015

The Michigan Supreme Court recently issued an order denying the MEA’s applica­tion for leave to appeal in Baumgartner v Perry Pub Schs, Docket No. 151479 (July 10, 2015). The Court’s order lets stand the Court of Appeals’ ruling that the State Tenure Commission lacks jurisdiction to hear layoff and recall cases.  We first reported on the Baumgartner decision in the March 26, 2015 edition of School Law Notes.

The Baumgartner decision is now a final...

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