Author: Mark Sommaruga

So You Want To Hire A New Superintendent: What Does The FOIA Permit (And Require)?

We are approaching a time of year where a board of education may have to deal with its long time and (hopefully) beloved superintendent deciding to retire or otherwise move on to another chapter in his or her life. Any feelings of sadness (or any other emotions) must be replaced by the fact that the…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Education Committee Continues to Speak

At its March 25, 2019 meeting, the General Assembly’s Education Committee continued its hyperkinetic work by approving another flurry of bills.  The following is a brief summary of the bills that the Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee at that meeting. CLASSROOM SAFETY AND SCHOOL CLIMATE: House Bill No. 7110 (“An Act…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Education Committee Begins to Speak

At its March 6, 2019 and March 15, 2019 meetings, the General Assembly’s Education Committee began the process of approving bills.  The following is a brief discussion and summary of the bills that the Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee. UNEXPENDED SCHOOL BUDGET FUNDS: House Bill No. 7112 (“An Act Increasing The…

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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY: MARCH 1ST PUBLIC HEARING (REGIONALIZATION AND CONSOLIDATION)

On Friday, March 1, 2019, the General Assembly’s Education Committee will conduct a public hearing, which will take place at 11:00 A.M. in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building.   A particular focus of this hearing will be bills that may require the regionalization and consolidation of school districts and programs.    There are two skeletal/concept bills regarding this issue…

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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY: FEBRUARY 22ND PUBLIC HEARING

On Friday, February 22, 2019, the General Assembly’s Education Committee will conduct a public hearing on numerous proposed bills.  The hearing will take place at 11:00 A.M. in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building.   Of note is another bill attempting to address “classroom safety” issues; without commenting on the bill’s merits, this year’s version may not raise as many…

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UNDERSTANDING CONNECTICUT’S FOIA: Electronic participation by board members at meetings: When and how it can be “legal”?

A common problem for boards of education is getting enough members in attendance at a board meeting in order to have a quorum (usually, a majority of the board).  There may be times when a board member wishes to participate in the board’s business (and vote) at a particular meeting, but the member may be…

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PERSONNEL MATTERS, THE CONNECTICUT FOIA AND COMMON MISTAKES

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) generally provides access to both meetings and records of public agencies.  The FOIA does provide an exception to the open meetings requirements for certain “personnel matters,” namely, discussions “concerning the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that such individual may require…

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Developments From The 2018 Session of The Connecticut General Assembly: New Laws Affecting The Schools (and Public Employers)

On August 1, 2018, our firm posted on its website a summary of relevant legislation enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly during its 2018 regular session that will impact Connecticut schools.  Among other things, the General Assembly passed bills that: (1) revise the Student Data Privacy Act; (2) address budgetary issues stemming from attempts at…

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME on “agency” or “service” fees for non-union members: What public sector employers must (immediately) know

As was discussed in our prior blog post and alert, the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME,  585 U.S. ____ (June 27, 2018) just issued a ground breaking decision with respect to the collection of agency fees from non-union members, holding that the involuntary withholding of such monies violates the First Amendment “free speech”…

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