By: Brittany Flaherty Theis

School districts throughout the Illinois are gearing up for the return of students and the start of a new school year. Although August signals the end of what is summer break for some; for others, the summer months are an opportunity to dig deeper into continuing education, catch up on legal and industry development, and review policies and procedures. In this blog post, we will highlight some of the professional development and continuing education programs at which Whitt Law attorneys presented. In future posts, we will discuss a few recent legal developments impacting school districts throughout Illinois.

In June, Senior Attorneys Brian R. Bare and Brittany Flaherty Theis partnered with the Illinois Association of School Boards to present the Illinois School Code’s mandatory Professional Development Leadership Training to new school board members. The seminar covered education law topics such as students, religion, equal treatment and non-discrimination, educational programming, health and safety, and records. It also included discussion of each school board member’s fiduciary duty, labor law topics, and financial oversight and accountability. During the seminar, attendees participated in break-out discussions, question and answer sessions, and table activities.

Whitt Law Partner James Dougherty and Senior Attorney Brian R. Bare served as guest lecturers during the Seton Montessori Institute’s credential course for Montessori leadership and administration held on July 17, 2019.  Their presentation focused on legal considerations in public and private school operations, insurance, liability, and risk management.  Program participants attended from public school systems and private schools in Illinois and neighboring states.  The group discussions were lively, with particular interest in the impacts of state and federal law on private schools or daycare centers that receive public funds or operate quasi-public programs, as well as charter schools and funding, employment best practices, and managing risks in the school setting.

In July, Whitt Law Managing Partner Stuart Whitt and Senior Attorney Brittany Flaherty Theis joined administrators and service associate members of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials for their annual Emerging SBO Summit. At this seminar, school business officials including superintendents, CSBOs, and others, attended presentations discussing legal pitfalls, revenues, expenditures, school facilities, public bidding, risk management, leaves of absence, and more. Stuart Whitt and Brittany Theis, along with Linda Jeffers, an experienced Business Manager/CSBO, presented “Legal Pitfalls: What Every New CSBO Should Know.” For each of the following topics, the presenters gave an overview of the legal requirements and highlighted commonly asked questions:

  • Open Meetings Act,
  • Freedom of Information Act,
  • Purchasing and bidding,
  • Budget,
  • Levy, and
  • Fund transfers.

Participants asked questions regarding competitive bidding scenarios, open versus closed sessions of school board meetings, records, and more.

The attorneys at Whitt Law are dedicated to supporting the education and professional development of Illinois’s teachers, administrators, and school board members. Please contact Senior Attorney Brittany Flaherty Theis to discuss how Whitt Law can enhance your next seminar, in-service, or class.