Whatever the size, the issue, or the challenge, education leaders are confident that we will represent their interests competently and with a hands-on approach. Our education attorneys represent some of the largest school districts in the state as well as some of the smallest, including over 200 Indiana schools and numerous educational centers across the state.

Lewis Kappes attorneys have extensive experience and breadth of knowledge in education law and school representation. We offer full-service legal representation to any school client in all areas of the law. Our education attorneys understand the day-to-day operation of a school system and take pride in the professional relationships we maintain with school administrators and Boards of Education.

Our attorneys present at seminars and author publications addressing the legal areas of interest to those in the education field. Lewis Kappes attorneys also serve as editors of several comprehensive education law guides, including the Indiana School Laws and Rules and the education law section of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s publication, Commonly Asked Questions about Indiana Law.

School Board Representation

We assist school boards with issues facing school corporations. We offer expertise in:

  • School Board guidance
  • Updates on changes to Federal and Indiana State law and Department of Education changes
  • Interlocal and joint service supply agreements
  • Litigation and administrative proceedings
  • Board Policy and Administrative Guidelines
  • In-service workshops for staff and administrators
  • Negotiating, drafting, and reviewing contracts
  • No Trespass warnings
  • Board Election issues
  • School Consolidation
  • Tort Disability of District and Officials
  • Acquiring and disposing of real property
  • Zoning issues
  • Advising on public bidding
  • Reviewing and drafting leases of real property
  • Occupational safety and health compliance
  • Construction planning

Human Resources and Employment

Many of the concerns we field with school corporations involve employee issues. We provide a range of experience that includes handling employee discipline matters up to and including termination, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) matters, unfair labor practices, and contract negotiations, including negotiations with non-certified staff. More specifically, Lewis Kappes has experience in all of the following areas of employment law and labor negotiations:

  • Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) interactive dialogue
  • Guidance on interplay of Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), sick leave, long term disability and workers compensation issues
  • Assistance with Teacher Rating Form (“TRF”) and Performance Related Funding (“PRF”)
  • Unemployment hearings
  • Employment discrimination matters
  • Employee discipline and discharge proceedings
  • Labor negotiations and collective bargaining for both certified and non-certified staff
  • Unfair labor practices
  • Progressive discipline matters
  • Grievance hearings and labor arbitrations
  • Employee conduct investigations
  • Employment discrimination matters before the EEOC/Federal court including race, age, religion, sex, sexual harassment and discrimination
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)
  • Indiana’s Wage Payment Act
  • Drafting and revising personnel rules, policies and employee handbooks
  • General Workman’s Compensation issues
  • Assist Boards or Administrations in conducting meetings to decline or continue certified staff employment, including handling testimony and evidence
  • Representation before Indiana Education Employment Relations Boards (“IEERB”) for unfair labor practices and fact-finding hearings

Special Education

Lewis Kappes has handled hundreds of special education and Section 504 hearings as well as matters before the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission on behalf of many schools. We have extensive experience in special education matters including:

  • Service animal guidance and policy development
  • Student discipline including time-outs, suspensions, and expulsions
  • Representation before OCR and ICRC
  • §504 / ADA / IDEA / Article 7 compliance issues
  • Review and guidance in student eligibility
  • Representation in Special Education and IEP challenges
  • IEP development, policy development and provisions of related services
  • Assistance with preparing for difficult IEP meetings
  • Representation in mediation
  • Staff training
  • Restraints and seclusion policy development

Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Concerns

The firm represents school corporations in connection with issues affecting students such as:

  • Student records
  • Advisement on fair use and curriculum concerns
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”)
  • Defense of Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) complaints for gender, race, disability and religious discrimination
  • Sexual harassment claims
  • Hostile work environments
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual , and more (“LGBTQIA+”) issues
  • Cyberbullying
  • Free speech and school prayer
  • Student and athletic discipline matters, including misconduct, suspensions, expulsions, and defense against actions seeking restraining orders
  • Class action discipline discrimination
  • Attendance issues and compliance with McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Right to Attend Disputes before Indiana State Board of Education
  • Transportation disputes concerning obligations to parochial schools
  • Athletic eligibility disputes before the IHSAA

Finance and Support Services

As school board attorneys, we provide legal support services for the business office of school corporations. Examples of such services include:

  • Opinion letters and guidance for State Board of Accounts requirements
  • Review and advisement on service contracts, bid specifications, bidding matters, contract preparation, and execution
  • Review of lease agreements and contracts
  • Advisement on contract disputes
  • Advisement on procurement and services of contracts
  • Assistance on property value procedures or assessment challenges
  • Pre-suit investigations
  • Assistance with construction projects and coordination with bond counsel

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