News from Thrun Law

January 10, 2022

This month’s Back to Basics article focuses on school officials’ responsibility to comply with the “child find” requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. School officials must exercise vigi­lance to identify students with disabilities residing within the school’s boundaries.

IDEA Requirements

The IDEA and its implementing regulations impose an affirmative duty on public schools to ensure that all...

January 3, 2022

Over the last two years, schools have received funding through the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) programs. These funds are re­stricted to certain allowable uses, which generally relate to preventing, preparing for, or responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released guidance on using these funds to address an­other pandemic-related obstacle: the bus driver short­...

December 27, 2021

It is a heavy time for Michigan public education. The COVID-19 pandemic and a strained political environment have made this school year beyond challenging. The recent tragedy in Oxford seems almost unbearable. Like you, our hearts ache for the Oxford victims and their families and for the entire Oxford community, including its teachers and staff, students, administrators, and board of education.

We know that the challenges of this year, now compounded by renewed school safety concerns...

December 13, 2021

In last month’s edition of School Law Notes, we discussed the importance of annually filing the Municipal Finance Qualifying Statement form with the Michigan Department of Treasury by December 31. A successful Qualifying Statement submission gives a school “qualified status” for the upcoming year. Obtaining qualified status...

December 8, 2021

Robert M. Thrun (1931 – 2021)

We at Thrun Law Firm are saddened to inform our clients that on December 2, 2021, Robert (“Bob”) M. Thrun, 90, passed away at his winter home in Estero, Florida.

For 68 years, Bob was married to Marjorie, 89, who preceded him in death in August 2021. Together, they raised one son, Richard, and two daughters, Susan (who died in 2019), and Karen. Four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren also survive.

Born on May 30, 1931...

December 6, 2021

If your school has outstanding bonds, it likely entered into a “continuing disclosure agreement” when the bonds were issued. That agreement requires the school to submit certain “continuing disclosure” documents and information annually to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s Electronic Municipal Market Access System (EMMA),...

November 29, 2021

Each year, we receive questions about what schools may do to celebrate the holidays. Those celebrations - whether musical performances, decorative displays, or curricular activities - often involve religious content that implicates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Under the Establishment Clause, the...

November 22, 2021

Public schools across Michigan find themselves in an unfamiliar budgetary situation – more short-term revenue than usual due to the Elementary and Second­ary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds and unexpectedly robust state revenues. Labor unions will quickly recognize this circumstance, and will likely pro­pose significant wage increases during contract negotiations and wage reopeners. School negotiators must be prepared to oppose costly legacy increases that the district may not be able...

November 15, 2021

If a school wants to borrow money, obtaining “qualified status” each year from the Michigan Depart­ment of Treasury is critical. Before issuing most types of debt, a school must either have: (1) qualified status; or (2) Treasury’s prior approval. This article provides a brief overview of the two processes and describes the steps a school must take to ensure it obtains qualified status.

Obtaining Treasury’s prior approval is the more costly and time-consuming option. This process often...

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