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News from Thrun Law

Posted 10.15.2018

In a memorandum dated September 17, 2018, the Michigan Department of Treasury notified all public employers of the “hard cap” contribution limits under the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act for medical benefit plans renewing on or after January 1, 2019. The 2018 cap amounts were increased by 1.9%. The adjustment is based on the change in the medical care component of the consumer price index for the previous 12-month period.

Posted 10.08.2018

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decisions are binding in Michigan, recently ruled in favor of the parents of a special education student who privately placed the student and sought reimburse­ment from the public school. L.H. v Hamilton Co Dep’t of Ed, Nos. 17-5989/18-5086 (CA 6, August 20, 2018).

Posted 10.01.2018

Does your school currently have a summer tax levy of either 50% or 100%? Does your school wish to continue levying summer taxes for the 2019 tax year? If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then your school’s board of education must adopt a resolu­tion to continue the summer tax levy and file a copy of that resolution with each city and township within your school’s boundaries on or before December 31, 2018. A suggested resolution form is attached to this news­letter.

Posted 09.27.2018

One area commonly addressed by board policies and administrative guidelines is student discipline procedures, includ­ing suspension and expulsion hearings. Many schools, however, have administrative guidelines for student suspension and disci­pline hearings that violate Section 7(2) of the Open Meetings Act (OMA). These problematic guidelines state that a student has a right to receive a transcript of a student discipline hearing upon a parent’s or the student’s request, regardless of whether the hearing occurred in an open session.

Posted 09.24.2018

Vaping, a phenomenon in which an individual uses an e-cigarette or other electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) device to inhale vapor, has surged in popularity among students in recent years. The FDA’s definition of “tobacco product” now includes ENDS devices, but many board policies and handbook lan­guage on the use of tobacco products do not encompass ENDS devices or their component parts.

Posted 09.01.2018

On July 3, 2018, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education jointly released a new “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) withdrawing the following previously released guidance documents:

Posted 08.30.2018

Public Act 256 of 2017, effective March 28, 2018, amends many parts of the Child Care Organizations Act. One of the most signifi­cant changes is the new requirement that all child care center staff who have unsupervised access to children (employees, contractors, and volunteers) must undergo a newly created “comprehensive background check,” which includes an FBI fingerprint records check. All child care center staff who will be unsupervised with children must have these new background checks completed by September 30, 2018.

A comprehensive background check includes:

Posted 07.23.2018

Section 1274a of the Revised School Code authorizes schools to undertake energy improvement projects and finance them through a variety of meth­ods. Under Public Act 23 of 2017, the Michigan Legislature previously amended Section 1274a to allow school energy improvement projects to include “operational improvements” in addition to traditional energy conservation measures, such as lighting retrofits or HVAC upgrades. Because that amendment did not define “operational improvements,” there had been some uncertainty about the permissible scope of ener­gy im­provement projects.

Posted 07.16.2018

Following a trend set by several federal courts in the past year, two more federal courts recently issued opinions supporting transgender students’ rights to access restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. Grimm v Gloucester Co Sch Bd, Case No. 4-54 (ED Va, May 22, 2018); Doe v Boyertown Area Sch Dist, Case No. 17-3113 (CA 3, May 24, 2018).

Posted 06.28.2018

In a case handled by Thrun Law Firm, the Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed a Michigan Employment Relations Com­mission decision, finding that the MEA committed an unfair labor practice by demanding to arbitrate a district’s decision to not recall a teacher. MEA v Vassar Pub Schs, COA Docket No. 337899 (May 22, 2018).

Posted 06.18.2018

As the school year comes to a close, school districts must act soon to enroll schools of choice students for the 2018-2019 school year.

Posted 06.11.2018

On May 9, 2018, Governor Snyder signed a package of three laws aimed at protecting student sexual assault victims who attend school with the perpetrator. These laws, which will take effect on August 8, 2018, may have significant implications for our clients.

Posted 06.01.2018

As the school year winds down, we recommend contacting your favorite Thrun Law Firm attorney to get back-to-school professional development sessions on the calendar! Back-to-school is a busy time, and many schools have already scheduled professional development. We recommend considering professional development in the following areas:

Posted 05.14.2018

On March 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its new case processing manual (“CPM”), which details its proce­dures for investigating, resolving, and dismissing complaints. The updated procedures contain many important changes, some of which are highlighted below.

Complaints

Posted 05.07.2018

With high school graduation fast approaching, we are providing several recommended strategies for ad­dressing common graduation-related legal issues.

Diplomas and “Walking” at Graduation