Articles

03.09.2015
Article

Act 168: Background Checks Added to the Public School Code

Act 168 of 2014 took effect in December amending the Public School Code of 1949.  The Act adds a section to the Code entitled “Employment History Review” which imposes requirements pertaining to employment involving direct contact with children.  The amendments are designed to require and enable schools and independent contractors to conduct background checks in the interest of protecting children.  This Act affects school entities and independent contractors that are hiring applicants as well as current or previous employers of persons who apply for positions with other entities.

03.09.2015
Article

Contract Language - What Does it Really Mean for School Districts?

Most school districts are in the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with their employees.  During this process, modifications and/or additions are made to the collective bargaining agreement as it relates to certain contract language.  It is important for parties to ensure that the language they are modifying or adding to the collective bargaining agreement is understood by both parties as it relates to how it will be applied to the district.

03.02.2015
Article

Right-To-Know: Home Addresses of School Employees

The Commonwealth Court has provided a decision on whether or not home addresses of employees may be released under the Right-To-Know Law.  This case has been ongoing since 2009 and was brought by the Pennsylvania State Education Association which was against the releasing of school employee’s home addresses pursuant to the Right-To-Know Law.  The Court found that there was no constitutional right to privacy in one’s home address.  However, the Court found that there was a due process right for the employee to be able to raise viable objections when one’s home address is requested.  Furtherm

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.     

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