Author: Mark Sommaruga

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

The General Assembly’s Education Committee is beginning the process of approving bills.   The following is a listing (with a brief description) of the proposed bills that Education Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee at its March 8, 2017 meeting: H.B. No. 7157 AN ACT CONCERNING ONLINE AND BLENDED EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS…

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Undocumented Immigrants, The Schools And The Obligations To Cooperate With “ICE”

A lot of heat is emanating from Washington D.C. over enforcement of laws concerning “undocumented” immigrants. Especially controversial is the possibility of greater action by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [“ICE”] bureau, including bureau agents making visits to the schools.  This battle has led to competing visions, with Governor Malloy and Commissioner Wentzell issuing…

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Pullman & Comley’s Third Annual Statewide School Law Seminar – March 3, 2017

Pullman & Comley’s School Law Practice will host its third annual statewide School Law Seminar, “Learning Together: Recent Developments in the Law and Practical Solutions for Connecticut’s Public Schools” on March 3, 2017. This half-day program will cover trends in collective bargaining, student expulsions, special education, recent developments regarding school district job applications and other hot topics facing…

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They’re Back! What Can Schools Expect from the 2017 General Assembly Session?

On January 4, the 2017 session of the Connecticut General Assembly began.  The session is scheduled to adjourn on June 7, 2017.  One can assume that a plethora of proposed bills affecting Connecticut school districts will be unleashed during the session, most of which will never see the light of day. The Education Committee will be…

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Pullman & Comley’s School Law Practice Hosts Fall Special Education Legal Issues Forum

Attorneys Michael P. McKeon, Mark J. Sommaruga and Melinda B. Kaufmann of Pullman & Comley’s School Law Practice hosted the firm’s semi-annual Special Education Legal Issues Forum on October 28, 2016, at The Hartford Club.  This dynamic program is designed specifically for school district special education leaders and professionals and covers current legal developments affecting this…

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I Meant What I Said: Transgender Student Rights In Connecticut In The Face Of The Latest Federal Court Developments

As we have previously written, the United States Departments of Education and Justice issued joint guidance for school districts regarding transgender students via a May 13, 2016 “Dear Colleague Letter.” This guidance was based on their interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is a federal law prohibiting gender-based discrimination in…

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The Aftermath Of The CCJEF Ruling: What Is Next For Public Education In Connecticut?

On September 7, 2016, Superior Court Judge Thomas G. Moukawsher issued a lengthy decision in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell.  As its name would suggest, this case involved a challenge to inequities in educational funding in the State of Connecticut. But the court’s ruling has led to far broader consequences (and…

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Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may engage in “self-help” and copy a public record through the use of a “hand-held scanner”. Connecticut General Statutes §1-212(g).  A “hand held scanner”…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA (Part Three): Trying To Do The Right Thing Is A Good Thing Under The FOIA

In our latest posting on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], we confirm that the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has a heart, and may sometimes forgive technical non-compliance by public agencies and their employees. Honesty and good faith = highly moral and good FOIA strategy I often preach that honesty, common sense and an…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds And The FOIA (Part Two): Can You See My Notes (And Calendar)?

For those who still cannot get enough after my latest post on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], here are more nuggets from the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. Today, we focus on written notes and calendar entries. When are personal notes FOIA-able? Generally, but not always, one’s own personal notes may be exempt from…

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