CS3 Law PLLC

General Education Law

CS³ Law has specialized in representing charter schools in Michigan since 1994.  The firm has extensive expertise in all aspects of education law. Forming a unique partnership with the schools we serve, we work with school board members, administrators and service providers to find solutions to difficult problems and provide practical, clear and comprehensive advice.  Guided by decades of experience, we are committed to serving those who serve children.  

Contracts and Business Matters

CS³ Law advises school boards on charter contracts, service provider agreements, employment agreements, leases, and other contractual obligations undertaken by schools.  The firm assists boards in understanding contract terms in plain English so they are equipped with the knowledge and understanding necessary to make key decisions on contractual matters.

Board Governance

CS³ Law provides comprehensive training for school boards and leadership teams on matters of Board governance, parliamentary procedure, team building, Board-ESP relationships and appropriate roles of board members, board president, school leader and service provider.  

Board Policies & Procedures

The firm is adept in the intricacies of education policy and procedures. We review, revise, and draft board policies and administrative procedures.  We understand that schools need straightforward language in order to implement the practices they desire and to best position the school for full legal compliance. CS³ Law monitors the changes in federal and state law that require schools to adopt or amend school board policies and procedures.  We work collaboratively with school boards and service providers to ensure that policies and procedures are compliant with all requirements. We assist boards to ensure that they adopt policies and procedures that are clear and concise, reflecting the current philosophy and practice of the school. 

Board – Educational Service Provider Relations

CS³ Law is experienced in serving as a skilled liaison to assist school boards in navigating the relationship with their service providers, school leaders and others who serve the school. We advice on ESP contracts and assist in negotiating both the legal and practical aspects of the Board and Service Provider relationship.

Board – Community Relations

CS³ Law recognizes that school boards might have to make unpopular decisions from time to time.  We ensure the legality of the decisions and assist the board in its communication with the public.

Board Training

New board members often do not understand the unique fiduciary duties of a school board or its governance role. CS³ Law offers extensive board training in areas including Board Governance, Board Members’ Roles & Responsibilities, Board’s Relationship with the Service Provider, and Student Discipline.

Constitutional Rights

The Supreme Court declared many years ago that students did not shed their constitutional rights “at the schoolhouse gate.”  Since then many cases have addressed student constitutional rights, including student rights to free speech, freedom of religion, privacy and gender identification.   CS³ Law has the knowledge and experience necessary to guide and counsel schools in policy and practice.  We have developed first amendment policies that cover curriculum, school programs and holidays, students’ religious expression, teachers’ religious expression, constitutionally protected prayer, school distribution of non-curriculum-related literature, and facility use.

Student Issues

At CS³ Law, we understand the importance of timely, thoughtful and accurate advice in the myriad of issues surrounding students.  Whether facing a special education challenge, confronting a student discipline matter, or wading through the proliferation of state and federal statutes, ordinances and regulations governing the education community, we are a partner and trusted advisor in developing sound, cost-effective solutions for what can be significant challenges.

Student Discipline

With school safety an ever-present concern, CS³ Law understands the critical importance of timely advice in the area of student discipline.  Whether confronted with misconduct involving cyberbullying, substance abuse, hazing, sexual harassment, or gang activity, the firm has extensive experience dealing with all aspects of the discipline process, from providing counsel during disciplinary review hearings and appeals, to responding to concerns from parents and the community.  Drawing on vast experience gained through representation of charter schools throughout Michigan, we draft disciplinary policies that reflect both the law and the educational mission of the school.  We represent the school’s interests in disciplinary hearings, and work with school boards and administrators to maintain a safe and effective learning environment for students.

Student Records & Confidentiality

When questions regarding the maintenance of school student records and student confidentiality rights arise, schools rely upon our guidance.  From counseling schools on the requirements of the Family Education Rights & Privacy Act to developing practices that maintain student confidentiality, we are dedicated to helping schools respect the rights of parents and students, with the judgment and experience necessary to guide administrators when an imminent threat or danger makes disclosure necessary.

 

Technology

From E-Rate to iPads and Chromebooks, education today involves the integration of ever changing technology.  Embedding technology into public education requires legal expertise that can anticipate and address instructional, employment, student, special education, and business issues. CS³ Law is committed to assisting clients with the challenges and complexities presented by the digital revolution.  We assist clients in developing acceptable use policies for student-owned technology/mobile devices, and student use of school-owned property.  We work with clients to protect student privacy and address student cyber safety.

Purchasing & Competitive Bidding

From the solicitation and evaluation of bids to the resolution of issues arising from construction itself, CS³ Law assists schools with the construction process. Few entities are as scrutinized as public school districts when it comes to contracting with vendors for outside services.  The bidding requirements of the Revised School Code create significant obstacles for school districts.  We are able to provide timely and accurate analysis and advice to school districts related to bidding issues and preparing legally sound requests for proposals.

Special Education

CS³ Law advises schools on the federal and state regulations pertaining to the rights of students in special education programs.  We also assist schools to ensure that students’ special education rights are protected in student discipline matters and that students receive a free and appropriate education.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides disabled students and their parents with a myriad of rights and accommodations.  We help schools navigate the legalities of compliance.

Personnel Issues

CS³ Law assists schools with employment contracts, performance evaluations, service provider evaluations, employee benefits, and employee discipline and dismissal.  Michigan law requires superintendent and teacher evaluations to be linked to student achievement.  We assist school boards in evaluating the effectiveness of the school’s performance evaluations and the implementation of the evaluations for staffing decisions.

OMA/FOIA/FERPA

CS³ Law has extensive expertise in public meetings law (the Open Meetings Act), public records laws (Freedom of Information Act) and conflict of interest issues.  These laws are designed to ensure that the public is informed of the conduct of public officials.  Michigan requires that deliberations and decisions of public school boards be made in public unless a specific exception applies.  The Freedom of Information Act, designed to serve the same purpose, requires public access to certain school documents.  The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, however, is designed to safeguard student privacy in those same documents.  We assist school boards in navigating the seeming inconsistencies of these laws to ensure compliance.