Does your Board of Education allow non exempt hourly employees to coach student teams?

If so, there may be issues as to whether such individuals are “volunteers” or employees under state and federal wage and hour law. 


Opinion Letter FLSA 2006-40 is the most recent opinion letter on the subject, though there are many other opinion letters which have been issued in the past dealing with the subject as well.  DOL Opinion Letter FLSA 2006-40 was written in response to a letter written on behalf of a number of school districts concerning guidance regarding the use of non-exempt school system staff to assist with coaching sports or other extracurricular activities, either as volunteers or as additional duties.  In the Opinion Letter, the DOL addresses several hypothetical situations and analyzes whether compensation or overtime would be due in each given situation.  


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Federal Rules for Electronic Discovery

This past December, new Federal Court rules for electronic discovery went into place.  In short, the rules require the retention and disclosure of electronically stored data, including e-mails, which relate to any federal court lawsuits in which the district is involved.


Specifically, the new rules provide that (1) a party may serve interrogatories concerning and/or request to produce electronically stored information, including the form that the requested information must be produced, (2) a party may subpoena electronic stored information, (3) a party must include in its initial disclosures (required by Rule 26(a)(1)) a description of any electronic data which supports its claims or defenses.


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SDE Issues Proposed Revisions to State Special Education Regulations

On March 8, 2007, Interim Chief of the Bureau of Special Education Dr. Nancy Cappello issued her Proposed Revisions to the State Special Education Regulations.  Subsequent inquiries to the State Department of Education (SDE) have yielded no announcement of dates when public comments will be accepted concerning the Proposed Regulations.  However, numerous groups and individuals around the State are in the process of reviewing the proposals and compiling commentary to be submitted when the time is right.  Discussions with school personnel in our area of the State suggest that a number of the proposals merit further discussion. 

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OSERS Issues New Guidance on Discipline

Responding to requests for clarification of the new 2006 IDEA regulations issued in the area of student discipline, OSERS issued non-binding guidance entitled "Questions and Answers on Discipline Procedures", found at 47 IDELR 227 (OSERS 2007).  In this commentary, OSERS states that the "2004 amendments to section 615(k) of the IDEA were intended to address the needs expressed by school administrators and teachers for flexibility in order to address school safety issues balanced against the need to ensure that schools respond appropriately to a child's behavior that was caused by, or directly and substantially related to, the child's disability." 

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Redacting Student Names

Federal District Court Case Further Clouds Issue of When Student Names May Be Redacted from Disclosed Documents

In a world where few disputes of this nature find their way into federal district court, every published decision on the issue of what constitutes an “educational record” for purposes of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, sometimes known as the “Buckley Amendment”) receives a great deal of scrutiny from those in the field of education. In Wallace v. Cranbrook Educational Community, 106 LRP 57872, 2006 WL 2796135 (E.D. Mich. 2006), the Eastern District of Michigan issued an opinion that would appear to cloud even further the issue of when student names may legitimately be redacted from documents disclosed to outside third parties in order to protect student confidentiality under FERPA.

The plaintiff, Delvren Wallace, was an employee of the defendant Cranbrook Educational Community, serving in the capacity of a maintenance/equipment mover, when he was discharged for alleged improper sexual behavior toward students. The termination was justified in part by student statements which were redacted to remove the names and other personally identifiable information from the statements. 

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