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School law

The education law attorneys at Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper (NGC) assist school boards and districts in Greater Cleveland and throughout Ohio in all aspects of school law, including employment and labor issues, student rights and discipline matters, policy development and incorporation of charter schools.  We also counsel parents, students and educators in all aspects of school life.

School development

NGC attorneys have extensive experience representing start-up established charter schools in all phases of their development and growth, including incorporation, negotiation of charters, charter renewals, management agreements and leases.

  • Acquisition/lease
  • Application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status
  • Charter renewals
  • Incorporation
  • Negotiation and creation of agreements with management companies
  • Negotiation of community school contracts with sponsors
  • Sponsor disputes

Board policy development

Policies are essential to making sure students, parents, and employees know what is expected of them.  Whether or not an appropriate policy and procedure was in place, and whether it was followed by appropriate personnel, can be critical to defending a particular action, such as a student suspension or employee termination.

  • Disciplinary policies
  • Personnel policies
  • Student/parent handbook
  • Sunshine Law compliance

Employment and personnel

Having the proper policies in place is only half the equation.  Policies must be communicated effectively, and employees, including administrative personnel, must receive training on their implementation.

Where a process of collective bargaining exists, teacher contract development depends only in part on effective negotiation skills.  It is equally important that school negotiators have a firm grasp on the type of language that must be included in any negotiated agreement so that whatever is negotiated is written in a way that is workable for teachers and administrators and does not relinquish or overly dilute management authority in the board or administration.  NGC attorneys combine negotiation skills and training with experience in writing school policies to ensure that the final result is both practical and effective.

  • Employee handbooks
  • Employee seminars and training
  • Employment audits
  • Teacher contract development and negotiation

Educational issues for parents

Federal laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act guarantee certain rights to students with disabilities, along with a lengthy, formal process for ensuring that those rights are protected.  Other federal laws as well as the U.S. Constitution and state laws guarantee rights to all students, such as the rights to due process in a disciplinary matter and to receive transportation and other services provided by the school district.

  • Disciplinary hearing matters
  • Issues concerning gifted education
  • Issues concerning special needs children
  • Services for students with individualized education program
  • Transportation issues

Help Desk – flat monthly fee

The legal issues confronting school districts are ubiquitous and so varied that regular access to an attorney is essential to the smooth functioning of schools.  With the NGC Help Desk, clients pay a fixed monthly fee to have ready access to legal research, advice and counsel, from short answers to quick questions to dispute resolution involving students, employees and outside entities.

  • Department of Education Sponsor and Auditor of State compliance
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Employment disputes
  • Support to boards of trustees
  • Vendor disputes

Representative Matters