Articles

12.16.2014
Article

Liability for Acts of Student Bullies Turns on Adequacy of District Response

The disparate nature of school district responses to claims of student bullying led to different results in recent decisions from the federal appellate courts. In a September 2014 decision, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s ruling, which dismissed a student’s claims against the district related to bullying she experienced at the hands of her classmates.

12.16.2014
Article

Right to Know Requests for Tax Information

Right to Know Requests can create a lot of uncertainty (and work!) for the administrative staff tasked with responding to them and the area of tax information is no exception. When tax collectors directly receive Right to Know requests it can likewise create confusion about what is and is not required to be produced. This article will help to provide your district with basic information about responding to such records requests.  

11.21.2014
Article

The New Borough Code

Revisions to the Borough Code became effective June 17, 2014. These revisions were in response to the overhaul of the Borough Code which was effective in July 2012. 

11.21.2014
Article

New Life for Recreation Fees

Municipalities may be able to expand their use of recreational fees collected in lieu of  land dedicated for recreational purposes during the land development process.  On September 24, 2014, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed House Bill 1052 what is known as Act 135 of 2014.
 

10.20.2014
Article

Self-Written Wills Can Have Unfortunate Results

Pennsylvania estate law is complex, largely because it has been written over several centuries and shaped by numerous court cases controlling how wills are interpreted. This caselaw can create unexpected and unfortunate results, if a will has not been created with careful language. For example, in a recent case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court distributed a father’s estate to his five children, despite the fact that the father had included specific language in his will disinheriting three of his children.

09.11.2014
Article

12 Myths about Bankruptcy

    Sometimes, a “fresh start” makes sense, and that is what a bankruptcy can provide. Here’s how bankruptcy affects your credit and your possessions. Here are a dozen misconceptions about bankruptcy:

08.26.2014
Article

Is Attendance in Existing Kindergarten Programs Compulsory?

Article V of the School Code (addressing “Duties and Powers of Boards of School Directors”) requires every school district to “establish, equip, furnish, and maintain a sufficient number of elementary public schools, in compliance with the provisions of this act, to educate every person, residing in such district, between the ages of six and twenty-one years, who may attend.” 24 P.S. § 5–501(a).

08.25.2014
Article

Recent Court Decision Further Increases OOR Access to Municipal Records

Decisions of the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records (“OOR”), concerning right-to-know requests, continues to trend toward allowing a public OOR scrutiny of municipal documents. The most recent case will cause municipalities and their solicitors to wonder how much - if any - detail should be included in their invoices, when such documents can be exposed to public and OOR scrutiny.

07.29.2014
Article

A Message to – and from – the Baby Boomers

The Baby Boomer Generation may be the most remarkable demographic phenomenon to ever affect America.  Our generation, born between 1946 and 1964, over 75 million strong (including me!), has driven the course of our economy during its lifetime and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  The most important economic issue facing America today is how the aging of our generation will affect the well-being of its members – and of our nation.     

06.30.2014
Article

The 4th Amendment Enters the 21st Century

On June 25, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision unanimously ruling that the police need warrants to search cellphones of people they arrest.  (Riley v. California, No. 13-132 and United States v. Wurie, No.

05.22.2014
Article

The Public Official and Employee Ethics Act

In its April 8, 2014 decision, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the decisions of the School District of the City of York’s School Board and that of the State Charter School Appeal Board in finding that the New Hope Academy Charter School (“New Hope”) violated Section 1103 of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act (“Ethics Act”) by entering several substantial service contracts with various business entities controlled by New Hope’s founder.

05.22.2014
Article

The Educator Discipline Act: Maintaining Professionalism and Integrity

On February 16, 2014, amendments to the Professional Educator Discipline Act took effect.  The amendments expand the basis for discipline to include: the founded reports of child abuse as well as “grooming behaviors”; shortening the time period for reporting to PDE; requiring an educator arrested or indicted for or convicted of certain crimes to report the action to the employing school within 72 hours; entering into confidential settlement agreements that interfere with the entities mandatory reporting; and eliminates the current statute of limitations for filing a conduct complaint. 

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