Welcome to BRCSM’S Education & Municipal Law Practice

The education law team at BRCSM is comprised of a deep bench of seasoned attorneys who are known for their practical, problem-solving approach to resolve legal conflicts in a manner that achieves the best outcomes for all parties involved.

REPRESENTING SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND EDUCATIONAL COLLABORATIVES IN RHODE ISLAND

Our team of attorneys has a wealth of education-specific experience in both general and special education law. We represent numerous school districts and educational collaboratives throughout Rhode Island.

Over the years, we have been involved in several precedent-setting decisions; we are often on the front-lines of issues related to the most current and pivotal topics in education law. For instance, we were recently successful in upholding terminations of two school professionals by one of Rhode Island’s largest school districts based on poor performance, as opposed to disciplinary infractions.

We work with our clients to create comprehensive policies and develop data to support vital decision-making.

See the first in our three-part series of Rules for Schools on “Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse. Recognize. Record. Report” by attorney Benjamin Scungio.

REPRESENTING PARENTS OF STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Our team of attorneys in our Taunton office understand the rights of disabled children and how school systems in Massachusetts must accommodate those rights. They leverage our firm’s deep understanding of education law to help parents advocate for their children when something goes wrong, advising parents on options available under the law, and how to effectively navigate the Massachusetts school systems.

See our recent blog post entitled: “He Didn’t Mean To Do It: How The Law Treats Discipline for Students With Special Needs” by attorneys Brian Hughes and Michael Polak.

COUNSELING AND ADVOCATING FOR MUNICIPAL SERVICE DISTRICTS AND BOARDS

The firm represents numerous municipalities and quasi-municipal service districts in a variety of contexts such as civil rights defense work, wastewater treatment facility user fees, inter-municipal compacts, and pension disputes. We represent municipal boards — including planning boards, zoning boards, town councils, and school departments — in arbitration and administrative settings.

SHARING OUR KNOWLEDGE IN THE COMMUNITY

Our attorneys develop and provide professional development opportunities tailored to the needs of our education and municipal clients and are frequent speakers on topics of collective bargaining, policy-making, student discipline, harassment and other emerging issues in education and special education law for superintendents, school district business managers, school committees and other groups.

Practice Highlights
  • Represented a major matter in RI Supreme Court in 2014 involving non-renewal of a school administrator for one school district which helped define school districts’ management responsibilities across the state.
  • Represented a school district in a major matter in RI Superior Court which upheld the privatization of custodial services for the school district.
  • Performed an investigation on behalf of a school district to clarify critical facts and help it overcome political allegations of misuse of public funds.
  • Developed customized professional development presentations intended to clarify rights and responsibilities for school committee members, superintendents, administrators and other teaching professionals.
  • Developed a bank of statewide negotiation data made available to firm client districts for use in local certified and non-certified negotiations.
  • Concluded negotiations with one RI school district’s certified union which saved the district approximately $20 million in “Other Post-Employment Benefits” (OPEB) liability.
  • Developed a comprehensive school district policy — which later became a statewide model — enabling the State’s dual enrollment initiative.
  • Represented one school district in a major matter before the RI Supreme Court upholding the concept that coaching positions were not part of a collective bargaining unit, and ultimately, preserving that district’s management rights.
  • Negotiated and instituted changes in several school districts’ retirement benefits offerings for retired certified staff, resulting in substantial long-terms savings for those districts.