Author: Mark Sommaruga

New Laws Affecting Schools: Highlights of the 2014 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly

The 2014 session of the Connecticut General Assembly has just concluded.  The following are some highlights of the more relevant bills that were passed by the General Assembly and awaiting the signature of the Governor.  A more comprehensive listing and discussion of the enactments from the 2014 session will be forthcoming from this firm after…

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Special Education Legal Issues Forum: Thursday June 5, 2014

Attention Special Education Directors and Administrators: The next complimentary Pullman and Comley Special Education Forum will be held on Thursday, June 5, 2014.  School Law attorneys Michael McKeon, Mark Sommaruga and Susan Scott  will present on a variety of topics including the impact of new legislation, recent cases and trends, settlement agreements and Section 504 issues. Specific topics…

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Wager v. Moore: When May A College Have A Duty To Protect The Safety Of Its Students?

Generally speaking, from a legal standpoint, the courts have held that colleges and universities do not have a duty to safeguard the safety of their students.   However, in Wager v. Moore, 2013 WL 6989512 (Conn. Super. Dec. 18, 2013), the Connecticut Superior Court reminded us that there are exceptions to the general rule. In Wager,…

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Warning-Your E-mail Just Became a Meeting: Mauer v. Member, Board of Education, Regional School District No. 1 and The Dangers of Using The “Send”, “Reply“ and (Especially) “Reply All” Buttons

Often times, I will warn school board members against the use of e-mail to conduct board business.  My primary concern is that such e-mails could be deemed to constitute an illegal un-noticed/non-public meeting, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”].  A recent decision of the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] further highlights this…

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The FOIA and Superintendent Evaluations: Toensing and The Various Components of The Evaluation

When evaluating superintendents of schools, school boards usually seek to synthesize the views of individual board members into a collective voice for the board.  In Toensing v. Chairman, All Boards Chairs Committee, Regional School District #1, #FIC 2013-223 (February 11, 2014), however, the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] reminded us that there are Freedom of…

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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The Education Committee Speaks

Before the deadline for committee action, the General Assembly’s Education Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee a plethora of bills. Among the most noteworthy were: 1) a bill that would delay the implementation of the uniform regional calendar, 2) a bill giving greater discretion to school boards with regard to expunging an…

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SEMINAR: “Special Education Law in Connecticut”

Pullman and Comley School Law section attorneys Mark J. Sommaruga and Michael McKeonwill be speaking at a PESI Continuing Education Seminar.  They will discuss how to: avoid common procedural mistakes under the IDEA and Section 504, draft IEPs that comply with the law, limit potential liability for both the district and staff members and learn practical tips for compliance with the law. Friday, April 25,…

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OOPS and the FOIA, Part 2: Dacey v. Easton Board of Education and the Need For a Subcommittee to Comply With The FOIA

There are times where a public agency may get so caught up with solving an existing problem that it will lose sight of the need to comply fully with the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] and thus create what could potentially be an even bigger problem.  In this vein, a recent Freedom of Information Commission…

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Oops and the FOIA, Part One; Kadri v. Groton Board of Education and Protections From the Accidental Disclosure of Attorney-Client Privileged Documents

What happens when your agency’s lawyer sends out a confidential letter that is somehow leaked? A relatively recent decision by the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] appears to indicate that all is not lost, as “inadvertent” or “unexplainable” releases of otherwise privileged communication from your attorney will not destroy the attorney-client privilege. The FOIC’s decision…

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Latest Developments From The Connecticut General Assembly

The General Assembly’s Education Committee is conducting a public hearing on March 3, 2014.  The Committee will consider testimony on bills that, among other things: 1) require school districts to adopt policies or enter into memoranda of understanding with law enforcement agencies concerning the use of law enforcement personnel as school resource officers, 2) require…

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