News from Thrun Law

June 6, 2016

Since January of this year, our Thrun Evaluation Tracker articles have addressed the performance eval­uation system under Section 1249 of the Revised School Code. As the school year comes to a close, administrators may receive an appeal or protest from a teacher regarding a teacher’s evaluation. Section 1249 provides a narrow appeal procedure for certain teachers. Outlined below are the appeals process and common mistakes to avoid during the evaluation process.

Evaluation...

May 23, 2016

Michigan law requires that public schools adopt their budgets before the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1). A taxing entity, including a school district or ISD, must follow a “truth-in-taxation” process if its tax revenue will exceed what it collected in the prior fiscal year (with exceptions for certain taxable additions). This process includes a newspaper notice, a truth-in-taxation public hearing, and resolutions proposing and adopting additional millage rates. A school district or...

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,...

Pages