School districts bear the fundamental responsibility of educating students, while contending with increasing economic, legal and societal pressures. They bear the hallmarks of businesses operating in a highly regulated field, dealing with a multitude of complex legal and related issues every day.
For more than 50 years, boards of education, their superintendents, and other administrators have relied upon the representation of Schenck Price’s School Law Practice Group, one of the largest such practices in the state, in all facets of school operations. Our attorneys have a tremendous depth of experience and practical approach to dealing with the issues faced by school districts.
We represent public schools, independent schools (click here for more information on this practice), charter schools, and colleges and universities. Much of our practice focuses on serving as general counsel to schools throughout New Jersey, as well as special counsel to many school districts and other educational entities. Our clients range from small Pre-K to 6 districts to large districts with over 10,000 students and budgets in excess of $150 million. Our experience and familiarity with the needs of school districts enhances our ability to provide legal services efficiently and expeditiously, yet with individualized attention.
Our practice encompasses the full gamut of school law issues, from student and family issues – including special education, student discipline, bullying, residency disputes, pupil records access, First Amendment and technology-related issues – through human resources, administrative and business office concerns.
Schenck Price also routinely provides counsel on public bidding and contracts, specification development, and construction issues. Our team of construction law attorneys has handled hundreds of millions of dollars of projects over the years and we have achieved outstanding results for our clients when projects do not go as planned.
Our school law work also regularly includes counseling on such employment matters as reorganizations, hiring, reductions in force, transfers, leaves of absence, compensation, tenure hearings and termination. We are often asked to represent our clients’ interests in a variety of labor matters including collective negotiations, grievance arbitrations, scope of negotiations petitions and unfair practice charge proceedings.
We regularly represent Boards of Education and other educational entities in proceedings before the Commissioner of Education/Office of Administrative Law, School Ethics Commission, Public Employment Relations Commission, Division on Civil Rights, United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, and in state and federal courts.
Our School Law team possesses considerable litigation experience. While we strive to help our clients avoid litigation, when it becomes necessary, we have the expertise to handle any litigious situation.
School districts face a wide range of issues that are not ordinarily thought of as school law, including environmental issues, corporate issues, insurance coverage, municipal zoning, pension issues and defense of employment law claims. We have the resources in-house to address the entire scope of legal issues faced by boards of education.
When it comes to the issues school districts contend with, Schenck Price’s experienced team of attorneys has seen it all. We know how districts operate, what their day-to-day concerns are, and recognize that, frequently, they need quick, informed and clear-eyed answers when problems arise.
Services to Clients
Our attorneys help our school clients address the full range of issues, including:
- Employee performance and discipline issues
- Employment discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Tenure and seniority
- Construction issues
- Collective negotiations
- Grievance proceedings and arbitration
- Special education
- Pupil harassment, intimidation and bullying
- Pupil discipline
- Student and staff First Amendment rights
- Board policy
- Open Public Meetings Act and Open Public Records Act issues
- Social media policies
- Acceptable use policies
- Energy savings initiatives and power purchase agreements
AlertsAug 29, 2022New Jersey's New Electric Bus Program Latest Avenue for School Districts and Bus Contractors to Obtain Financial Relief for Electric UpgradesMay 19, 2022Appellate Court Concludes that Special Education Settlement Agreements Are Subject to Disclosure Under OPRAJan 24, 2022New Laws Affecting Public School DistrictsAug 24, 2021School Staff Must Be Vaccinated and Mask Mandate Exemption Requires Medical DocumentationJun 18, 2021New Law Requires Boards of Education to Provide Qualifying Adult Students with an Additional Year of Special Education ServicesFeb 12, 2021Parents/Guardians May Now Attend School Sporting Events In-Person Pursuant to Executive Order 220Jan 4, 2021And the Band Played On: Commissioner of Education Affirms Board's Directive to Perform Extracurricular Activities on HolidaysNov 17, 2020Governor Murphy Issues Executive Order Lowering Indoor/Outdoor Room Capacity Limitations, Excluding BOE MeetingsOct 13, 2020New Emergency Public Meetings RegulationsSep 1, 2020Is Pupil Off-Campus Speech Limitless?Jul 1, 2020Significant Changes on Healthcare Plans and Staff Contributions Coming for All School DistrictsApr 15, 2020School Districts May Utilize Virtual Instruction and Must Continue To Pay Employees and Contractors During State Of Emergency Or Public Health CrisisJan 4, 2019New Financial Literacy Instructional Requirements for Middle School Students to Begin with the 2019-2020 School YearJan 2, 2019New Jersey Appellate Division Invalidates the Use of the PARCC Test as a High School Graduation RequirementJul 23, 2018Appellate Division Affirms Board's Right to Order Removal of Classroom Signs During Collective NegotiationsJun 27, 2018SCOTUS Rules Public Employees That Opt Out of Union No Longer Required to Pay Portion of Union DuesApr 26, 2018"Draft" Minutes of Public Bodies Remain Exempt from Disclosure under the Open Public Records ActOct 17, 2017For Whom Does the Bell Toll?Jun 29, 2017Formulaic Resolutions to Go into Closed Session and Vague Minutes May Violate the Requirements of the Open Public Meetings ActOct 11, 2016Proud to Be a TeacherAug 5, 2016Graduation Is No Longer a Walk in the PARCC
PodcastsMay 12, 2022Mike and Marc Talk School Law: Talking TenureJun 26, 2017Cyber-Bullying and the Law
NewsSep 21, 2022School Board Association's Workshop 2022Nov 17, 2021Superior Court Denies Parent's Request for Hearing on Access to Special Education RecordsOct 19, 2021"Mike and Marc Talk School Law" Video/Podcast Focuses on "Legal Issues Surrounding Public Meetings"Aug 23, 2021"Mike and Marc Talk School Law"Apr 30, 2020Returning from COVID-19: Navigating and Responding to Issues as Schools Go Back to the "New Normal"Mar 13, 20202020 Edition of New Jersey Super LawyersJun 27, 2019Morris County's "Top Lawyers 2019"
EventsMay 10, 2022Student Bullying: Legal IssuesApr 28, 2022School Law: Mental Health IssuesFeb 16, 2022Zitomer Presents "What Are the Boundaries of the Schoolhouse Gate in Today's Virtual World?"Sep 29, 2021Roselle and Gilfillan Presented "Handling a Difficult Board Meeting" at County School Board's AssociationsAug 9, 2021Zitomer Presented at New Jersey School Board Association County Leadership Meeting on "Dealing with Difficult and Controversial Issues as a Board of Education"Jul 22, 2021Compensatory EducationJun 30, 2021IEP and 504 Plan Legal WorkshopNov 20, 2020School Law: Handling Mental Health IssuesJun 19, 2020Joanne L. Butler to speak on "Improper Evaluations and Child Find Mistakes" and "The IEP Development Process and Implementation Disasters"May 1, 2020Monmouth County Special Education