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 to K-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
AlertsApr 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 PARCCMay 13, 2015NJ Supreme Court Requires School Boards to Notify Employees Who Are Serving in Non-Tenurable Replacement CapacityJul 25, 2014Commissioner Rules That Only Board Of Education as a Whole Or Board President May Send a Rice Notice to the SuperintendentAug 9, 2012New Jersey Enacts Teacher Tenure ReformJul 27, 2012Supreme Court Sheds Light on the Sunshine LawJan 23, 2012New Law Allows for School Elections to be Held in November and Automatic Implementation of Under-Cap BudgetsJun 1, 2011New Law Requires All Board of Education Members to Undergo Criminal Background Checks in Order to Serve on the BoardJan 7, 2011New "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act" Will Have Significant Impact on New Jersey's Public School Districts
ArticlesApril, 2017A Fresh Look at the Cyberbullying LandscapeDec 24, 2013The Expanding Understanding of Educating Students with Disabilities and the Increased Focus on Inclusion.Feb 1, 2011To Discipline or Not to DisciplineJul 17, 2009The Basics of the Recall Process
NewslettersJan 1, 2011To Discipline or Not to Discipline
PodcastsJun 26, 2017Cyber-Bullying and the LawDec 7, 2012"Board Members + Social Media Technology = Legal Landmines?" NJSBA Live Call-in Podcast ProgramDec 9, 2011Technology's Impact on the Sunshine LawMar 25, 2011Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights
NewsApr 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"Dec 6, 2013Schenck, Price, Smith & King's School Law and Labor and Employment practice groups have won a significant victory in the Office of Administrative LawMay 2, 2011NBI SeminarNov 9, 2011Passaic County School Boards AssociationMay 26, 2011Special Education WebcastMay 13, 2011Lehigh Educational ConferenceNov 19, 2010The Role of the Board of Education PresidentSep 16, 2010New School Law Practice AttorneysSep 15, 2010School Law for the Non-School LawyerJul 14, 2010The Business and Education Together FoundationAug 16, 2007School Staff Obligations to Notify DYFS
EventsJun 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