The challenges facing boards of education today are vast and ever-growing. Franczek serves as a resource, support, and guide for school boards as they tackle these challenges. We pride ourselves on forming a true partnership with the boards of education we serve. We review issues, identify possible solutions and alternatives, and explain the ramifications of each course of action. This allows boards of education to confidently make informed and well-reasoned decisions.
Boards of education trust us to advise on legal requirements, as well as some of the most sensitive issues impacting school districts and local communities. We regularly attend board meetings and review meeting materials to address potential legal complications before they arise. Examples of areas in which we regularly advise boards include:
- Business Operations and Transactions
- Conflicts of Interest
- Conflicts and Governance Matters
- Election Law
- Employee Discipline and Dismissal
- First Amendment Issues
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
- Open Meetings Act (OMA)
- Policies and Procedures
- Reductions in Force
- Regulatory Compliance
- Student Discipline
We develop, review, update, and revise school board policies and administrative procedures that not only comply with evolving laws but that are written in a straightforward manner. As general counsel, we make a point of keeping our school district clients informed on the need for policy and procedure additions and updates. Because of our team strength, we can task an attorney with tracking all pending and newly-signed legislation that may require changes to board policy or procedure without additional charge to our clients. As legal counsel and partner, we do this work for our clients so they do not need to do so.
Our lawyers know the nuanced practicalities of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Because of our vast OMA experience, we can address the mundane to the most complex inquiries, often in a single phone call. Our attorneys have been leaders in drafting FOIA policy and procedures. For individual clients, our attorneys respond to FOIA inquiries from school districts daily. We discuss the nuances of these requests and responses, identify responsive records and applicable exemptions, draft response letters to requesters, and prepare intent-to-deny letters to the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) when necessary. We also are well-equipped to provide more comprehensive analysis and suggestions in legal opinion letters as necessary.
School districts often enjoy support from organizations such as parent-teacher groups, various booster club organizations, private donations, and education foundations. These non-profit groups, while benefiting the school, also give rise to a myriad of questions regarding the board of education’s relationship to the entity. Issues of organizational structure, governance, control, liability, finances, accountability, and more are frequent and complex. Franczek attorneys sift through these issues and provide clear, concise, and specific guidance.
Boards also rely on our attorneys for counseling in the nuances of their roles as the elected leaders of the education institution. Whether it is a board president inquiring about the unique responsibilities of this leadership position, a board struggling to determine the best approach to handle publicity around a high-profile matter in one of its schools, or requests for information as to how other school districts have successfully addressed certain issues, we offer extensive experience developed over the careers of our team of attorneys to guide boards through any situation they may encounter.