Author: Mark Sommaruga

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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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON EDUCATION RELATED LEGISLATION (AND A MARCH 8TH PUBLIC HEARING)

On Thursday, March 8, 2018, the General Assembly’s Education Committee will conduct a public hearing on the following proposed bills: S.B. No. 364 AN ACT CONCERNING SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING. This bill would lower the special education “excess cost” grant threshold from four and one-half times to two times the average per pupil educational costs of…

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SILENCE MATTERS: SCHOOL SAFETY, SECURITY PLANS AND THE CT FOIA

In the aftermath of another senseless and tragic school shooting, school districts are understandably looking inwards as they contemplate the need to adjust their security measures. I am frequently asked how school districts can consider their options while still complying with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”].  Fortunately, the FOIA contains protections for schools…

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THE LATEST ON ALTERNATIVE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPELLED STUDENTS: THE GOOD, THE NOT SO GOOD, THE UNKNOWN, AND “FINAL” THOUGHTS.

We have previously written in these pages about the development of “guidelines” or “standards” by the State Board of Education for the provision of educational opportunities for expelled students.  Click here to read Part 1 & Part 2.  Having had just a (teeny) little bit of time to ponder the final version of these guidelines, which were…

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