Legal Updates


DÉJÀ VU: ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO LIMIT THE POWER OF THE SUPERINTENDENT AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

December 5, 2017

On November 20, 2017, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed an original action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court against Tony Evers (Superintendent) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) seeking a declaratory judgment (declaring that DPI must comply with all...

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BUDGET BILL REVISES TRUANCY NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

November 21, 2017

The 2017-2019 Biennial Budget (Budget) includes a new provision that authorizes school districts to use electronic communications to notify parents or guardians of children’s truancy in certain circumstances.

Wisconsin law previously provided that notice to a parent or guardian of...

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Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c. Announces Promotion of Attorney Jenna E. Rousseau to Shareholder

November 13, 2017

Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c. is pleased to announce that Attorney Jenna E. Rousseau has been promoted to a Shareholder of the firm.  Jenna practices primarily in the areas of School and Higher Education Law, Municipal Law, Labor and Employment Law, and Civil...

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ACCOUNT-BASED BENEFITS FUNDING, FIDUCIARY AND TRUST OBLIGATIONS

November 8, 2017

Account-based benefit platforms are being used with more frequency by public and private employers but employers need to consider a series of regulatory requirements if they decide to move in this direction.

Account-based plans provide compensation in the form of employer contributions...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: LOOSENING OF SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

October 30, 2017

The 2017-2019 Biennial Budget (Budget) modified the Special Needs Scholarship Program (SNSP) by substantially loosening the program’s eligibility criteria, which will likely result in an increase in the number of students who participate in the program in future...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: CHANGES TO THE CIVICS GRADUATION REQUIREMENT TEST

October 25, 2017

The 2017-2019 Biennial Budget (Budget) modified the law regarding the Civics Graduation Requirement test by increasing the minimum passing score from 60 to 65 out of a 100.

Approximately two years ago, the 2015-17 Biennial Budget created Wis. Stat. § 118.33(1m)(a)1., which, as...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: CHANGES TO THE LAWS GOVERNING CHILD CARE PROGRAMS OFFERED BY SCHOOL DISTRICTS

October 20, 2017

The 2017-2019 Biennial Budget (Budget) modified the laws governing child care programs offered by public school districts and the caregivers employed in such programs in order to comply with the Child Care Development Block Grant of 2014 and related regulations.

In accordance with Wis....

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: STATE BUDGET PROVIDES ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS

October 17, 2017

The Wisconsin 2017-2019 Biennial Budget provides for new state aids and grants to support mental health programs that school districts provide for their students. 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, Sections 1470 and 1470g (“Budget” or “the Act”).

State Aid for Mental...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: NEW RESTRICTIONS ON SCHEDULING SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENDUM ELECTIONS

October 16, 2017

The 2017-2019 Biennial Budget (Budget) limited school districts’ authority to hold referendum elections.

School district referendum elections became a subject of interest prior to Governor Scott Walker submitting his budget proposal, as legislators introduced six (6) separate bills...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: LIFETIME LICENSURE FOR TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND PUPIL SERVICES PROFESSIONALS AS WELL AS ALTERNATIVE TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS

October 13, 2017

The 2017–2019 Biennial Budget (Budget), signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on September 21, 2017, made significant changes to the licensing structure for teachers, administrators, and pupil services professionals. It also established a number of alternative teacher preparation...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: RETURN OF PART-TIME OPEN ENROLLMENT

October 5, 2017

Like the state legislature’s two previous Biennial Budgets, the 2017-2019 Biennial Budget made significant changes to the course options statute, Wis. Stat. § 118.52.  Effective July 1, 2018, Wis. Stat. § 118.52 will be renamed “part-time open enrollment” and the...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: CREATION OF EARLY COLLEGE CREDIT PROGRAM

September 28, 2017

The 2017-2019 Biennial Budget created the Early College Credit Program, relating to high school pupil enrollment in higher education courses.

Currently, Wisconsin’s Youth Options (Wis. Stat. § 118.55) and Course Options (Wis. Stat. § 118.52) programs enable public school...

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2017-2019 BUDGET SERIES: ELIMINATION OF REVENUE LIMIT EXEMPTION FOR PERFORMANCE CONTRACTING

September 26, 2017

The 2017-2019 Biennial Budget does not technically eliminate the authority of Wisconsin school districts to utilize a revenue exemption to fund energy efficiency projects, but it does place a 1,000-year moratorium on the authority.  No, that is not a typo.  The Governor used...

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STRANG, PATTESON, RENNING, LEWIS & LACY, s.c., PRESENTS SERIES ON STATE BUDGET

September 22, 2017

On Thursday, September 21, 2017, Governor Scott Walker signed the 2017-2019 Biennial Budget. The Biennial Budget, as in the past, contains numerous provisions that impact Wisconsin’s public school districts.

Over the next several weeks, the Firm will be providing specific insight...

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CHECKLIST OF KEY ISSUES FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS LEASING REAL PROPERTY

September 13, 2017

There are a number of unique issues for school districts who enter into a lease for the purposes of operating their schools or related activities.  For example, if a school district is a common or union high school district, the electors need to provide authorization for certain types of...

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SAFE AT HOME PROGRAM: WISCONSIN’S HOME ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM

August 29, 2017

Wisconsin school districts should be prepared to account for Wisconsin’s “Safe at Home” program as the new school year begins, now that the Wisconsin Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has completed and implemented legislatively-mandated features of the...

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FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT OVERTIME EXEMPTIONS: ARE NEW REGULATIONS ON THE WAY?

August 15, 2017

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations provide for “white collar” exemptions from overtime for certain executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees.  (29 CFR Part 541).  “Exempt” employees, because of the type...

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NEW LAW GOVERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATIONS TO STUDENTS

August 1, 2017

On July 17, 2017, Governor Walker signed into law 2017 Wisconsin Act 29, which now authorizes school district employees, school bus drivers and volunteers in schools to administer a potentially life-saving opioid antidote to a student or other individual in an emergency and protects them from...

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U.S. SUPREME COURT SUPPORTS RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS’ EFFORTS TO SECURE PUBLIC FUNDING

July 18, 2017

The United States Supreme Court recently sent two groups of cases involving private religious schools back to lower courts for reconsideration based on the Court’s decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer.  The Court’s rulings indicate that the Court may...

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WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT ISSUES IMPORTANT DECISION REGARDING THE SCOPE OF THE OPEN MEETINGS LAW

June 30, 2017

On June 29, 2017, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued its decision in Krueger v. Appleton Area School District Board of Education, Case No. 2015AP231, which held that a curriculum review committee comprised exclusively of school district personnel is a “governmental body”...

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THE INTERACTIVE PROCESS UNDER THE ADA IS A TWO-WAY STREET

June 21, 2017

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision involving the interactive process for identifying reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In a previous Legal Update, we described the interactive process...

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SEVENTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS ISSUES DECISION CONFIRMING TRANSGENDER STUDENT’S RIGHTS UNDER TITLE IX

June 5, 2017

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has upheld an injunction that was issued against a Wisconsin school district, effectively concluding that a transgender student is entitled under Title IX to use the school restroom of the gender with which the student...

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ENROLLMENT OF FOREIGN BORN STUDENTS

May 24, 2017

Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration this past January, the new President issued multiple Executive Orders dealing with federal immigration law.  These orders put a great deal of focus on the state of immigration from a legal perspective and, specifically, spurred speculation...

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EASEMENTS – THE GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING

May 12, 2017

An easement can last many years, perhaps forever.  Sometimes people are caught unaware by the typically permanent nature of an easement because there does not seem to be any issues with the current usage of the property or the purpose of the easement.  However, the easement may be...

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FURNISHING FORMS W-2 AND 1095 TO EMPLOYEES ELECTRONICALLY

April 26, 2017

It is tax time (or it was last week).  Maybe this explains the plethora of recent inquiries by employers as to whether they may set up a system to furnish Form W-2 electronically (similar to previous efforts to implement direct deposit).

In short, employers may set up a system to...

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EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PLANS, OTHER POST EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND THE AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT

April 12, 2017

Employers who provide any type of retirement benefit may consider offering an early retirement incentive plan (ERIP) to allow for an accelerated use of the benefit.  ERIP programs are legal but can, inadvertently, create the conditions for an Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967...

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U.S. SUPREME COURT ESTABLISHES A NEW STANDARD FOR FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION UNDER THE IDEA IN RECENT DECISION

March 24, 2017

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, No. 15-827 (U.S. Mar. 22, 2017), holding that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in...

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GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSES CHANGES TO ADMINISTRATOR EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT LAW

March 16, 2017

The Governor’s budget includes significant changes in the Wisconsin law that governs employment contracts for public school administrators, but the impact of the proposed changes is not entirely clear.  As a result, school officials and their advisors will be watching closely to see...

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U.S. SUPREME COURT WILL NOT HEAR GLOUCESTER SCHOOL DISTRICT TRANSGENDER RIGHTS CASE

March 7, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Decide Gloucester Case

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on March 6, 2017, that it will not hear Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., a case that could have determined whether transgender students have the right to use...

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U.S. SUPREME COURT DETERMINES THAT SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS CAN FILE DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS WITHOUT FIRST EXHAUSTING ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES

February 28, 2017

Special education students can file discrimination claims without first going through administrative due process procedures under a decision just issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the first of two significant special education cases the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review in 2017,...

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RESCIND PREVIOUS GUIDANCE CONCERNING TRANSGENDER STUDENTS

February 24, 2017

The Federal Government’s Letter Rescinding Its Previous Guidance Under Title IX

On February 22, 2017, the United States Department of Education (“DOE”) and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) jointly released a “Dear Colleague” letter...

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A CASE STUDY ON EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LAW

February 14, 2017

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision in David v. Bd. of Trustees of Cmty. Coll. Dist. No. 508, 846 F.3d 216 (7th Cir. 2017), a case involving allegations of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and age.  The plaintiff asserted claims under...

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WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT ANALYZES PUBLIC POLICY EXCEPTION TO DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS UNDER PUBLIC RECORDS LAW

January 31, 2017

School leaders are generally familiar with the public records request process, but determining what should be withheld and what should be disclosed is often a difficult task.  A recent decision of the Wisconsin Supreme Court provides a case study in the difficulty of drawing the line...

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WHAT ISSUES MAY BE IN PLAY FOR A SCHOOL DISTRICT FORCED TO HIRE MID-YEAR?

January 17, 2017

There is arguably a teacher shortage in Wisconsin, reflecting a national trend.  As a result, school districts are hard-pressed to fill certain teaching vacancies, especially mid-year.  Filling mid-year vacancies is particularly difficult because of shallow or non-existent candidate...

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SCHOOL DISTRICTS PROVIDING SELLER FINANCING – SELLER BEWARE

January 4, 2017

The sale and purchase of real property can be structured with seller financing instead of cash being provided at closing.  A transaction with seller financing transfers title to the real estate (either via a deed or land contract) and, at closing, the buyer provides some or all of the...

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THE WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT WILL DEFINE THE TERM “GOVERNMENTAL BODY” FOR PURPOSES OF THE OPEN MEETINGS LAW

December 19, 2016

On February 15, 2017, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Krueger v. Appleton Area School District; a case in which the Court is expected to provide guidance concerning the definition of the term “governmental body” for purposes of the Open Meetings...

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SUPREME COURT GRANTS CERTIORARI ON SIGNIFICANT SPECIAL EDUCATION CASE

December 12, 2016

It has been a month since the presidential election and news coverage since then has focused on President-Elect Trump’s transition and cabinet appointments.  Most experts expect that the new President will make it an early priority to appoint a Supreme Court Justice to replace...

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COURT WEIGHS IN ON ADA ACCOMMODATION PROCESS

November 28, 2016

There are perhaps no situations more vexing to those charged with administering human resources functions for any employer than evaluating employee accommodation rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (“ADA”).  The ADA, since its passage in 1990,...

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FEDERAL COURT HALTS FLSA SALARY INCREASES

November 23, 2016

Employers throughout the country have been preparing to implement the U.S. Department of Labor’s regulations increasing the minimum required salary level for many employees to qualify as exempt from overtime. The revisions to the regulations raised the minimum required salary for many...

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SPECIAL RULES MAY APPLY TO CERTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICT AND HIGHER EDUCATION EMPLOYEES UNDER THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT

November 8, 2016

School districts and higher education institutions should understand the full range of exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or “Act”) that can be relevant to educational institutions in order to comply with the Department of Labor’s...

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MAKING GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE MORE AFFORDABLE - EMPLOYER OPTIONS

October 27, 2016

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), applicable large employers must make a qualifying offer of group health plan coverage to all full-time employees or risk receiving a financial penalty imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Generally, an applicable large employer has 50 or more...

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UNPAID LEAVE AS A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

October 10, 2016

On May 9, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a Resource Document in response to what it considered a “troubling trend” of “employer policies that deny or unlawfully restrict the use of leave as a reasonable accommodation.”  The focus...

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TAKE NOTICE OF NOTICE REQUIREMENTS

September 27, 2016

As the new school year ramps up, school district officials are reminded of the numerous notice and posting requirements they must fulfill throughout the year.  Both state and federal law place requirements on school districts to provide notice to employees, students, and the public about a...

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TRANSGENDER LITIGATION CONTINUES AS A NEW SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS

September 15, 2016

Over the past two years we have witnessed significant developments in the law pertaining to the treatment and rights of transgender students. These developments have come in the form of numerous court decisions, guidance documents issued by the U.S. Departments of Education (DOE) and Justice...

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FEDERAL COURT RESTORES LAWSUIT CHALLENGING DISPLAY OF TEN COMMANDMENTS AT HIGH SCHOOL

August 30, 2016

A federal court of appeals has unanimously decided to restore a Pennsylvania school parent’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a monument to the Ten Commandments that is located on the school district’s high school campus.

The Schaub...

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EMPLOYEE ACCESS TO PERSONNEL RECORDS

August 15, 2016

Under Wisconsin Law, current and former employees have the right to review and photocopy many of the personnel records that are maintained by their employer.  This Legal Update will review the rules associated with such access.

Employers are not required to maintain extensive...

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUES “SIGNIFICANT GUIDANCE” ON STUDENTS WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER

August 2, 2016

The United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on July 26, 2016, providing direction to school districts for purposes of compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans with...

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A FEW NUGGETS CONCERNING COMPLIANCE WITH WISCONSIN’S OPEN MEETINGS LAW

July 20, 2016

Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law (Wis. Stat. § 19.81 et seq.) provides that “in recognition of the fact that a representative government of the American type is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of this state that the public is entitled to the...

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SCHOOL DISTRICT LEASES OF REAL PROPERTY

July 8, 2016

When a common or union high school district is entering into a lease for real property, several different issues need to be taken into consideration, some of which may depend upon whether the school district is the landlord or tenant, and whether the other party is also a governmental...

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WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT INTERPRETS THE NOTICE AND PRE-RELEASE PROVISIONS UNDER THE WISCONSIN PUBLIC RECORDS LAW

June 22, 2016

Recent Decision

The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently issued a decision in Moustakis v. State of Wisconsin Dep’t of Justice[1] interpreting the meaning of the term “employee” under the notice and...

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STATE SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN GOVERNOR’S OVERSIGHT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION RULEMAKING, CONTEMPLATES FUTURE CONFLICTS

June 8, 2016

Recent decision

On May 18, 2016, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin Act 21 (“Act 21”), which provides broad authority to the Governor and the Secretary of Administration to block the passage of proposed agency rules, is unconstitutional as...

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MORE SALARIED EMPLOYEES WILL BE ENTITLED TO OVERTIME COMPENSATION

May 24, 2016

The Department of Labor announced the publication of new overtime regulations on May 18, 2016.  The new regulations change the overtime compensation threshold for salaried (“white collar”) employees effective December 1, 2016.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),...

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FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION AND JUSTICE RELEASE GUIDANCE LETTER ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS

May 18, 2016

The Department of Education (“DOE”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) jointly released a “Dear Colleague” letter on Friday that discusses the protections afforded transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, commonly...

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EXPANDED TEACHER LOAN PROGRAM DESIGNED TO BENEFIT RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS

April 28, 2016

2015 Wisconsin Act 359 went into effect on April 16, 2016.  The Act is intended to address teacher shortage concerns by expanding the teacher loan program to provide for loan forgiveness to certain teachers employed in school districts in rural counties by encouraging new teachers to take...

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COOPERATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR PURPOSES OF HEALTH AND OTHER INSURANCE PLANS

April 12, 2016

School districts are facing budgetary constraints and school district funds are being consumed by costs related to personnel, including health insurance premiums and related benefit costs.  As a result, many school districts are exploring different ways to save money on employee benefits,...

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END OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION FLURRY AFFECTS WISCONSIN SCHOOL DISTRICTS

March 31, 2016

It appears that Governor Scott Walker remembered the old English proverb regarding March coming in like a lion and out like a lamb. As the Legislature concluded its scheduled 2015-2016 legislative session with a flurry of activity, Governor Walker signed 130 pieces of legislation in March, 104...

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THE DISCLOSURE OF THE IDENTITIES OF FINAL CANDIDATES UNDER THE WISCONSIN PUBLIC RECORDS LAW

March 14, 2016

As Wisconsin’s public school districts take steps to fill vacancies in school district administrator positions for the upcoming school year, the district’s records custodian may be asked to disclose the names of the applicants for these positions.  The district’s records...

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THE DISCRETION TO EXPEL/NOT EXPEL A STUDENT POSSESSING A “FIREARM” AT SCHOOL

March 7, 2016

A scenario school districts may sometimes encounter is, as follows:  A student intends to go hunting immediately after school.  In order to avoid the “inconvenience” of having to return home after school, the student takes his/her gun to school, placing the cased and...

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FEDERAL COURT RULES THAT COMPANY’S EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PLAN DOES NOT VIOLATE THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

February 15, 2016

The U. S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), claiming that an employer’s wellness plan violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  EEOC...

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STATE IMMUNIZATION LAWS APPLICABLE TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE NOT CHANGED, ONLY DHS’ POLICY HAS

February 2, 2016

State law governs student immunization requirements, as well as school districts’ rights and obligations related to student immunization. Specifically, within 30 days of admittance to any school, child care center, or nursery school, students must provide documentation of the first...

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“TRANSITORY RECORDS” AND THE EVER-EVOLVING PUBLIC RECORDS AND RECORDS RETENTION LANDSCAPE

January 25, 2016

Wisconsin law governs the retention and preservation of public records, as well as public access to certain records.

For retention purposes, state law defines public records as generally including “all books, papers, maps, photographs, films, recordings, optical disks,...

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SCHOOL BOARDS ARE REMINDED OF JANUARY DEADLINES

January 11, 2016

Now that it’s the middle of January, it’s time to start making some decisions – for next school year!  Public schools have, over the last few years, seen an unparalleled amount of attention from lawmakers.  One of the consistent themes, it seems, is placing additional...

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RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH WISCONSIN REAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS

December 22, 2015

Besides being a time for New Year’s resolutions, January 1st of each year is also the date that property is assessed in Wisconsin for various purposes, including tax exemptions.  The status and value of all real property is fixed on that date.

This January...

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SCHOOL BOARD MEETING MINUTES

December 7, 2015

The purpose of taking minutes at a school board meeting is to preserve an official record of the actions taken by the board. A school board and its members have a legal obligation to record the actions of the school board. In addition, accurate minutes of a school board meeting serve several...

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Recent “Dear Colleague” Letters Issued By the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the Department of Education

November 24, 2015

Recently the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued two “Dear Colleague” letters regarding the contents of special education students’ individualized education programs (IEP).  A Dear Colleague letter, issued...

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PACE ACT ALLOWS WISCONSIN SMALL GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE DEFINITIONS TO REMAIN IN PLACE

November 12, 2015

On October 7, 2015, President Obama signed the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act (PACE Act).   The PACE Act changes the definition of a small employer under the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare).   The PACE Act allows Wisconsin to...

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THE UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDING TRANSGENDER STUDENT USE OF RESTROOMS/LOCKER ROOMS

October 26, 2015

While there is no accurate information on the number of transgender students, direct observation and anecdotal evidence suggest that students who do not fit stereo-typical notions of “female” and “male” are becoming much more visible and a growing number of students are...

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Employers Are One Step Closer To Final Rules For Exempt Employees Under The Fair Labor Standards Act

October 5, 2015

Update on the Rulemaking Process

The U. S. Department of Labor (“Department”) will not extend the original 60 day period that was provided for interested parties to offer comments on the Department’s proposed salary rules for exempt employees under the...

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Leasing of School District Property after Act 55

September 16, 2015

In our 2015-2017 Budget Analysis series, we reported that 2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the Biennial Budget Bill) made certain changes to the requirement for common and union high school districts to obtain electoral approval at an annual meeting prior to selling property not needed by a school...

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Prior to the Budget Bill: Referendum Timing and Truancy Changes

September 1, 2015

As our clients and friends know, Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, s.c. has been actively evaluating and discussing the 2015 -2017 Wisconsin State Budget (2015 Wisconsin Act 55) and the many changes that the budget made in laws affecting Wisconsin Public School Districts.  As the...

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MINOR CHANGES TO THE ANNUAL UNION RECERTIFICATION ELECTION PROCESS

August 18, 2015

The annual recertification election process for unions representing public school district employees, which are scheduled to occur in November 2015, has changed slightly as a result of an order issued by a Milwaukee County Circuit Court on July 31, 2015.

On July 29, 2015, the Wisconsin...

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​​2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: A FINAL WORD ON THE STATE BUDGET

August 10, 2015

Over the past three weeks, Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy has provided daily updates on the 2015-2017 state budget.  We selected the areas of the budget that we reviewed based on several factors, including the number of client inquiries that we received about specific topics,...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: PRIVATE SCHOOL CHOICE

August 7, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) expanded Wisconsin’s private school choice programs in several respects, removing previous limits on pupil participation while funding the program’s expansion from appropriations for general school aids. 

The...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: CHANGES TO SPECIAL EDUCATION OPEN ENROLLMENT

August 6, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) made significant changes to the Open Enrollment laws related to special education.  Importantly, the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget repealed Wis. Stat. § 118.51(12)(am) and Wis. Stat. § 118.51(12)(b), effective with the open...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: REAL ESTATE MATTERS

August 4, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on July 12, 2015, includes various changes to the laws governing real estate transactions involving school districts and other municipalities.

Authorization at Annual Meeting No Longer...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: PUBLIC NOTICE OF ACADEMIC STANDARDS

August 3, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) imposed new requirements on school boards to provide public notice of the academic standards adopted by the board in specific subject areas for each school year.  Since 1998, school boards have been required, by statute, to adopt...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: CHANGES TO SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTING

July 31, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) made significant changes to Wis. Stat. § 115.385, which substantially changed the rules governing school and school district accountability reports.

First, Wis. Stat. § 115.385(1)(a)(intro.) was amended to state that the...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: NEW OPTIONS FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO JOINTLY SPONSOR SELF-INSURED HEALTH PLANS WITH OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS

July 30, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget), amends Wis. Stat. § 120.13(2)(b) to permit Wisconsin school districts to jointly sponsor a self-insured health plan with one or more cities, villages, towns or counties.  Previously, school districts could jointly sponsor a...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: NEW TEACHING LICENSE OPTIONS

July 28, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-20177 Biennial Budget), which was signed into law by Governor Walker on July 12, 2015, authorizes the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to issue Technical Education teaching licenses through an alternative method and to issue Wisconsin teaching licenses to...

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2015-2017 STATE BIENNIAL BUDGET CREATES GRANT PROGRAM FOR EDUCATIONAL “FAB LABS”

July 27, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) includes a new grant program administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to help school districts defray the costs of Fabrication Laboratories or “Fab Labs,” which are defined by statute as...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: WHOLE GRADE SHARING PROVISIONS

July 24, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) created Wis. Stat § 118.50, which provides that all or a substantial portion of students enrolled in one or more grades, including 4K and 5K, may attend school in or more other school districts for all or a substantial portion of the...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: REVISIONS TO THE LAWS GOVERNING UNION CERTIFICATION ELECTIONS

July 23, 2015

As a result of 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget), union initial certification elections are subject to the same standard as union annual recertification elections.  Therefore, effective immediately, every election conducted by the Wisconsin Employment Relations...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: COURSE OPTIONS

July 22, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget) made an important change to the Course Options statute, Wis. Stat. § 118.52.  Specifically, the statute has been modified to permit institutions of higher education to charge a student (or his or her parents if the student is a...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENTS PERMITTED TO PARTICIPATE IN ATHLETICS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR PROGRAMS

July 21, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget), created Wis. Stat. § 118.133, which provides that public school districts shall permit resident students in a home-based private education program (i.e., home-schooled students) an...

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2015-2017 BUDGET ANALYSIS: GRADUATING STUDENTS MUST PASS A CIVICS TEST

July 20, 2015

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget), signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on July 12, 2015, provides that a school board, independent charter school or private voucher charter school may not grant a high school diploma and the State Superintendent cannot grant an...

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STRANG, PATTESON, RENNING, LEWIS & LACY, s.c., PRESENTS SERIES ON STATE BUDGET

July 19, 2015

On Sunday, July 12, 2015, Governor Scott Walker signed 2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget).  The 2015-2017 Biennial Budget is a complex document that affects our firm’s clients in any number of ways. 

Over the next several days, we will be providing...

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Public Officials Must Be Cautious With Personal Technology

July 7, 2015

When Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email account for official business became a subject of public scrutiny, her experience renewed questions about the use of email for official business among many of our public sector clients. While our clients may not be...

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“Notes” Taken During School District Investigation Properly Withheld From Disclosure

June 10, 2015

          On June 4, 2015, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Voice of Wisconsin Rapids, LLC v. Wisconsin Rapids Public School Dist., 2015 WL 3495545, slip op. (Ct. App. June 4, 2015), which held that notes taken during a school district...

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ACADEMIC AND CAREER PLANNING HEARINGS SCHEDULED

May 18, 2015

The Department of Public Instruction will hold a hearing this week on its proposed administrative rules related to academic and career planning and education for employment plans and programs. The hearings are scheduled from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at DPI’s...

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EEOC Releases Proposed Regulations on Employer Wellness Programs for Public Comment

April 27, 2015

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) issued the long-awaited proposed regulations to address employer wellness programs and protections for medical information. Specifically, the proposed regulations seek to amend the Americans with Disabilities...

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NLRB Implements Rule Mandating Fast Track Union Elections

April 21, 2015

The National Labor Relations Board has implemented new union election rules that mandate union elections almost immediately after union election petitions have been filed, forcing employers to brace for surprise elections after partisan and, in some instances, clandestine organizing campaigns...

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Employers’ Policies Under Attack: Guidance on Lawful Policy Language

April 14, 2015

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies to most private sector employers. Under Section 7 of the NLRA, covered employees have the right to self-organize, to form, join or assist a labor organization, to bargain collectively through a representative of their choosing, and to engage in...

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Open for Business!

April 1, 2015

We are proud to announce that Strang, Patteson, Renning, Lewis & Lacy, a law firm with offices in Green Bay and Madison and Service Centers in Oshkosh and Milwaukee, is open for business today. Our firm provides legal services to businesses and governmental bodies, with a strong emphasis on...

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Work Authorization for H-1B Spouses

April 1, 2015

Beginning May 26, 2015 certain spouses of highly skilled foreign workers will be eligible to obtain employment authorization.  H-1B specialty workers fill a void in the U.S. employment sector. In recent years, the program demand has far outpaced availability.  In short, the H-1B...

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Another Public Safety Bargaining Litigation Decision - Further Muddying the Waters

April 1, 2015

2011 Wisconsin Act 10, which has become well known as simply “Act 10”, made significant changes to public sector collective bargaining laws in Wisconsin. Additional changes were made by 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, the biennial budget bill, referred to in Wisconsin’s public sector...

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Focus | Wisconsin

We are also focused on providing legal services in other areas that our clients need, such as real estate, general business law, creditor’s rights, and business litigation.

  • Offices:
  • Green Bay, Madison, and Oshkosh
  • Service Center:
  • Milwaukee

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