Our BRCSM Education Law team was pleased to present to school administrators from Central Falls, East Providence, and Lincoln on August 15th. Presentation topics included federal and state law updates as well as strategies for effectively handling unreasonable complaints.
Ben Scungio led the presentation team with BRCSM colleagues Lori Miller and Stephanie Cote for the full-day program at the East Bay Educational Collaborative in Warren.
Highlights of our federal law update included:
• A summary of the widely discussed US Supreme Court opinion in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 which held that states cannot require public employees to contribute dues and fees to unions that represent them;
• The US Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair that allows states to require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax from customers, even if they do not have a physical presence in the state. This decision clears the way for more sales tax revenue from internet purchases, hopefully resulting in more funds available for aid to education.
• Modifications to the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Case Processing Manual designed to promote efficiency in investigations.
Our state law discussion covered a wealth of new and updated statutes and RIDE regulations and decisions that impact schools every day.
Finally, in our last session on unreasonable complaints, we discussed:
• Strategies frequently used by unreasonable complainants
• Negative impacts of unreasonable complainants on school districts and strategies for limiting the impact
• Legal risks in dealing with unreasonable complainants
The overarching takeaway was that the school law landscape is constantly evolving on both the state and federal levels. It is critically important that school leaders are equipped to manage and adapt to the increasing range of legal matters that impact school policies and practices.