Topic: School District

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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New Legislation Attempts to Deal with Chronic Absenteeism

The Connecticut General Assembly is poised to act on a bill entitled “An Act Concerning Chronic Absenteeism.” This legislation requires a board of education to do two things: (1) establish a district school attendance review team when 10% or more of the district’s students (or 15% or more of the students of a single school)…

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Non-Tenured Teacher Non-Renewal – Notices Due By May 1

One of the less-pleasant rites of spring for Connecticut’s public school districts is determining whether to non-renew the employment of their non-tenured teachers.  Section 10-151 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which governs the employment of the state’s public school teachers, requires districts to provide non-tenured teachers with written notice of their non-renewal no later than May…

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Athletics For Disabled Students

In what seems a surprising move to many, particularly for the Obama Administration, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) has backed away from last year’s strong policy statement on access to extracurricular athletics for disabled students.  In a “Dear Colleague” Letter (“DCL”) issued on December 16, 2013, OCR announced that school districts…

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Separate and Unequal

Unlike people, not all schools are created equal. Anyone who doubts that need only review the results of the Civil Rights Data Collection [“CRDC”] for the 2011-2012 school year, which were released on March 21, 2014 by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”].   OCR uses the CRDC to gather information…

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Connecticut State Department of Education Due Process Hearing Decisions for the 2013 Calendar Year: A Summary

During 2013, the State Department of Education handled approximately 239 requests for due process hearings to resolve issues with student special education programs. Of those requests, only a small minority were resolved by a decision of a hearing officer after a full hearing on the merits, available online at: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=320712. The 2013 decisions are summarized…

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School District’s Refusal to Release Bullying Investigation Report Upheld

While the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally seeks to provide access to records created by public agencies, and while anti-bullying laws require that parents be notified by a school district with regard  to the district’s response to bullying complaints, federal laws protecting the privacy rights of students provide a countervailing block to unfettered access…

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Students and Electronic Cigarettes: Implications of Governor Malloy’s Proposed Legislation

Recently, there has been a lot of debate in the media about electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes.” E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that are used to ingest nicotine by inhaling a vapor. (For more detail, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has issued a factsheet available here.) The discussion around e-cigarettes focuses on some very basic…

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“Found (Fined?) in America”

In the 1985 film “Lost in America,” starring the comedian Albert Brooks, a high flying advertising executive loses his job and finds himself (after several mishaps) broke and working as a school crossing guard – his only revenue stream. It appears Mr. Brooks isn’t the only one to appreciate the potential revenue stream from school…

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Mirabilio v. Regional School District 16: Reduction in Hours v. Termination of Employment

In these fiscal times, school districts are confronted with difficult choices in restructuring their teaching workforce, with districts often having to consider the elimination of teaching positions.  A recent court case reminds us all that there is a middle ground, namely, the reduction of hours of teachers In Mirabilio v. Regional School District 16, 2013…

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