At the outset of the pandemic, Governor Abbott suspended portions of the Texas Open Meetings Act making it easier for school boards to meet by telephone or videoconference. That suspension ends at 12:01 a.m. on September 1, 2021. Starting on September 1, 2021, boards must again comply with all parts of the TOMA. Telephonic and videoconference meetings are still viable options for school boards, but certain prerequisites must be met.

With school starting, you may have students enroll who arrive with notations on their records that they did not return or pay for all their textbooks or technological equipment at their previous campuses. While this may sound like a trivial issue, the Texas Legislature wanted to give schools some teeth to recover or replace learning materials damaged or lost by students. The teeth the Legislature gave schools may not be long and sharp, but schools now have more than plastic chattering teeth with which to recover the materials or the money to replace those materials.

The Everman ISD announced Saturday the passing of Everman Superintendent Dr. Curtis T. Amos Sr. The district released a statement Saturday evening that Dr. Amos died peacefully at his home Saturday afternoon. Dr. Amos died after a three-year battle with cancer. Funeral arrangements are still pending.    (28) view article arw

Preventive Law: Back To Basics

June 0308:35 AM
 

As this unprecedented school year draws to a close, it is important not to forget the basics as we sift through new state and federal legislation, funding paradigms, agency policy changes, and the continued effects of a pandemic on the wane in Texas. Many of the client calls and emails received this spring have been from administrators, over-extended and exhausted after navigating a flurry of new regulations and being tossed about in wave after wave of “guidance” for schools. These calls and emails have been about issues such as:

Now that at least 100 days have passed since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, it is a good time to examine some of the actions his administration has taken that have an impact on public schools. Of course, the executive agency with the most direct impact on schools is the United States Department of Education (DOE), so we will start there and then pay a visit to the Department of Labor, whose actions have an impact on the employment relationships in schools.

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed H.R. 1319, The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, an emergency legislative package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You are likely familiar with the $1,400 direct cash payments for qualifying individuals and $2,800 for joint filers (with an additional $1,400 for each qualifying dependent) based on adjusted gross income, and the minimum wage provision that was not included. But what’s in it for Texas public school districts?

While the pandemic rages on you may be wondering: is now a bad time to invest in property or finally sell that darn barn? We’re here to tell you after a year of the world locking down and the court systems interrupted, there is one aspect of school law that is chugging along just fine—real estate. Trust us, now is a fantastic time to continue your real estate transactions. There’s also one thing to watch out for, and that’s eminent domain. We’re coming up in September on a 10-year deadline regarding condemned land that you may want review.

Following the exciting conclusion of the recent TXHSFB State Championships, many Texas student athletes are looking forward to competing in spring sport offerings. Others, particularly those students who continue to receive instruction through virtual platforms due to COVID-19-related concerns, might feel that their school is unfairly preventing them from participating in their athletic or academic competitions of choice due to their decision to receive virtual-only instruction. As a result, you may have been fielding questions from aggrieved parents and students who claim that the school should offer an additional year of eligibility for a particular event or competition, commonly referred to as a “redshirt” year, for those students who miss significant playing time due to COVID-19.

When a child’s parents have undergone a divorce or another legal proceeding adjudicating rights and duties to a child, there is some basic information to be aware of as it relates to the child’s education. In the context of special education, a parent may present you with a copy of a court order and demand that it be followed in the process of providing services to the student.

In May 2020, President Trump’s Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations, effective August 14, 2020. The regulations resulted in a sea change in the handling of sexual harassment complaints in schools. This article will start by covering 20 new tasks for Title IX Coordinators under the regulations that districts should be aware of now and will close by examining the possible fate of the regulations in a Biden administration later.

My favorite article that I have written over the years is one on official state holidays and recognitions. I find it fascinating to see which lobbyists succeed in recognitions for their cause. I look at this calendar and wonder why Monarch butterflies and veterinarian technicians get their own week, Lung Cancers Awareness gets only one day, Gold Star mothers get a day but not fathers, and there are no recognition days in December?

A chill in the air means two things in Texas: school’s back in session, and football is here. With most districts already beginning their football schedule, some have discovered the dilemma of how to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19 while still maintaining their spot under the Friday Night Lights. The current executive order in Texas requires face masks to be worn unless you’re in a county with less than 20 active cases or have filed exemption paperwork. As of today, only 57 counties are exempt from this mandate, and these counties have to face the challenge of remaining under 20 reported cases. With new teams every Friday filling the bleachers from different high infection-rate counties, people are now in close quarters without masks to watch their teams play. And, as Homecoming fast approaches, alumni from all across the country may be bringing their germs with them as they scream the fight song. It’s time to put a winning strategy in place before the impending flu season outshines playoffs.