The office of general counsel supports student success and achievement by providing quality legal counsel, advice and representation to the School Board, superintendent, administrative, professional and support staff.
The role of the office of general counsel
Public schools operate in a complex legal environment. A host of state and federal laws and rules govern virtually every detail of school operations. The laws that govern public schools are constantly changing and growing more complicated. To keep up and stay in compliance requires the assistance of legal counsel. Without adequate information and advice, a School Board, a School Board member, a district administrator, or other district employees can expose the district to legal claims, threats of litigation or even legal liability. Working together, the attorney and school officials can ensure compliance with applicable laws and minimize the risk of litigation and liability.
What is the office of general counsel and do we need it?
With an emphasis on education, employment, and labor law, the office of general counsel provides a variety of legal services including, but not limited to advisory and/or representing the district:
- In negotiations, arbitrations, and representation issues with district bargaining units
- In student due process hearings
- In complaints and charges of discrimination and/or harassment
- As the primary legal resource for all education, labor, and employment matters
- As the district data compliance official
- In managing all legal services provided to the district
- In contract and policy review and compliance
- On matters of risk management
The general counsel’s legal duty and allegiance is to the full Board, not individuals. The general counsel is to use independent professional judgment and render candid advice to assist the district in reaching its organizational objectives. In rendering such advice, the general counsel refers not only to law, but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social and political factors relevant to the school district’s situation.