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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A Reprieve To Mandatory Implementation Of The Uniform School Calendar

On May 3, 2014, the Connecticut General Assembly passed House of Representatives Bill No. 5559, amending, inter alia, General Statutes Section 10-66q  (the bill, as amended and passed, also creates a new apprenticeship grant program under the Standardized Training and Employment Program and expands an existing child day care licensing exemption to apply to any…

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General Assembly Passes Campus Sexual Assault Bill

On April 29, 2014, the State Senate unanimously passed House Bill 5029, An Act Concerning Sexual Assault, Stalking and Intimate Partner Violence on Campus. Two weeks earlier the House of Representatives passed the same version of the bill, so the bill now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature. (To date, Governor Malloy has not indicated whether or…

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(Academic) Freedom Is Free(r)

Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, observed that “words are but the signs of ideas.” While not intended as such, Dr. Johnson’s insight neatly summarizes one of the catalyzing principles for the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, specifically as it applies to freedom of speech. This insight has gained particular currency…

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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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Regulation Review Committee Ready To Consider New Paraprofessional FMLA Regulations

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee will consider the Department of Labor’s proposed paraprofessional Family Medical Leave Act, or “FMLA” regulations at its April 22, 2014 meeting. Consideration by the Regulation Review Committee is one of the last steps in Connecticut’s regulatory approval process, and, barring the unforeseen, it seems very likely that…

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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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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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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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