Since 1935, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins has represented elementary and high school districts throughout Illinois. Our seasoned team of education lawyers have extensive experience in this complex area of the law, giving us the ability to provide school districts with a host of services including:
- School finance
- Special education
- Student issues
- Freedom of Information Act and Open Meeting Act
- Board practice and procedures
- Labor and employment law
- Election law
- Property tax litigation and issues
- Construction law
We serve school districts throughout Illinois by offering seasoned representation and deep experience dealing with student issues and school discipline matters.
Our attorneys can support school operations in managing student rights, policies, practices, required staff training and publication of compliant student handbooks and notices. We are also skilled in assisting school districts with certain complex student matters including:
- Protocols and conduct of student searches
- Investigation procedures of student misconduct
- Suspension and expulsion practices
- Student free speech issues
- Student record confidentiality
- Cyber misconduct
- Bullying interventions
- Threat assessments and responses
We have also served as hearing officers in residency hearings and various student discipline cases and as representatives of school administrations in the prosecution of student discipline matters.
Special Education Law
We advise our school districts on all special education law issues, including:
- Evaluation, identification and placement issues
- Individualized education planning and meetings
- Compliant legal practices
- Special education discipline requirements
- Mediation, IEP facilitation and conflict resolution generally
- OCR and ISBE complaints
- Due process complaints
- State and Federal court proceedings
- Resolutions sessions and settlement
Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, Local Records Act and State Officials and Employees Ethics Act
Our attorneys are well versed in counseling school districts on compliance matters involving the Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Local Records Act and the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, including advocacy and preparation of responsive materials to the Public Access Counselor of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on OMA and FOIA matters.
Board Practices and Procedures
With our deep roots in school law, we bring tremendous depth to counseling school districts on the regular practices and procedures that apply to the basic operations of school boards in Illinois. This includes counseling on the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act, board practices and procedures, agenda preparation, board policies and board trainings.
Labor and Employment Law
Our labor and employment attorneys provide advice to clients on matters including compliance with federal, state, county and regulatory agency laws and regulations. We have handled collective bargaining and employment matters with our school district clients, including police, fire, dispatch, clerical, civil service and public works employees. We also handle all labor and employment disputes filed with federal and state regulatory courts and agencies, such as arbitrations, discrimination claims and grievances as well as administrative employment contract drafting and implementation.
We assist clients with election law matters including compliance with the Election Code, referenda matters and election petition matters. Our attorneys have provided representation to numerous candidates before local and county electoral boards during election petition challenges.
While litigation is always a last resort, we are fierce advocates for our clients in court when situations call for it. From the simplest cases to the most complex, our litigators have the experience to win in administrative proceedings, federal and state litigation and alternative dispute forums, including mediation and arbitration. With our unique skill set, we have obtained several landmark and final judgment rulings for our clients in dispositive motion practice and trial.
Property Issues and Tax Litigation
We routinely assist clients with property issues, such as the purchase and sale of both publicly owned and private real estate property and regularly provide guidance on the complex requirements associated with property tax litigation. Depending on the goals of the school district, we provide traditional or innovative solutions to ensure that communities maintain sustainable growth.
Our attorneys assist clients with the negotiation of construction contracts, including:
- AIA contract documents
- Bidding of projects
- Bid review and compliance matters
- School Life Safety Code and zoning matters
- Litigation of disputes and mechanics lien
- Compliance with the Public Construction Bond Act
Bidding, Contract and Procurement Laws
Compliance with bidding, contract and procurement laws is an ongoing issue for schools relative to transportation services, building projects, professional services and supply contracts. We routinely provide precise, clear advice in this area, regarding the competitive contract bidding and change order laws.