Education Law



Roetzel’s Education practice represents traditional public school districts, K-12 schools, charter schools, public and private colleges and universities, as well as trustees and governing boards, foundations, public and private organizations, and other educational entities with regard to many of the challenges affecting the industry.  Our deep familiarity with these highly specific issues allows Roetzel to serve as general legal counsel for public school districts and other educational institutions, serving both entities without in-house legal departments as well as those with in-house departments. We have the resources and depth to help protect and advise your school regarding any legal or operational issue that may arise.

Roetzel offers a variety of services such as counseling on matters involving student discipline, teacher evaluation, special education issues, staff member misconduct, residency, preparation of employment agreements, policy development, compliance with state and federal regulatory requirements, public records issues, compliance with open meetings requirements, collective bargaining/contract administration and environmental compliance with air quality and water issues.  In addition to contributing insight into a broad range of legal matters affecting schools, our attorneys have the ability to provide a rapid response when challenging issues arise.

Our interdisciplinary team has the support of experienced attorneys who focus their practice on workers’ compensation, unemployment issues, public finance as bond counsel and underwriter’s counsel, local government advocacy, risk and crisis management, privacy and data security, guidance and response to media inquiries, construction, real estate, employment litigation and occupational health and safety concerns.

Our People

Representative Services

  • Arbitration proceedings
  • Board policy development
  • Bond law/public finance
  • Civil service
  • Collective bargaining and contract administration
  • Community school issues
  • Competitive bidding
  • Constitutional issues
  • Construction
  • Crisis communication
  • Cybersecurity and privacy
  • Desegregation
  • Discrimination
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints
  • Employee evaluation
  • Employee discipline
  • Environmental issues
  • Equal access
  • Ethics
  • Intellectual property
  • Labor & employment
  • Labor & employment litigation
  • Legal updates and seminars
  • Levy proceedings
  • Litigation
  • Local government advocacy
  • Office for Civil Rights (OCR) complaints and representation
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Real Estate, Land Use & Zoning
  • Special education issues and compliance with state/federal requirements - IEP and State Level Review representation
  • State and Federal Court Litigation and Administrative Proceeding representation of Boards of Education and Administrators
  • Student affairs (discipline, expulsions, records, rights, privileges)
  • Sunshine Law
  • Tax levy law
  • Workers' compensation

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended a Northeast Ohio school district from administrative proceedings to the U.S. Supreme Court against a parent's challenge to the scope of special education services provided by the district; the case set the standard for the provision of "extended school year" services for students with disabilities
  • Secured dismissal of charges of discrimination filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and unfair labor practice charges filed with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
  • Prepared comprehensive policy manuals to bring school districts into compliance with federal, state, and local statutory requirements, including policies targeting copyright issues and acceptable use of the Internet to hiring protocol and community relations
  • Drafted comprehensive policies on behalf of a university system relating to intellectual property assets, copyright issues, and acceptable use of the internet
  • Served as bond counsel for The University of Akron, Kent State University, The University of Toledo, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Cuyahoga Community College, Clark State Community College, and Shawnee State University
  • Represented Maple Heights City School District as bond counsel for $55,734,932, Ohio
  • General Obligations School Facilities Improvement Bonds
  • Represented Springfield Local School District as bond counsel for $33,724,861,  General Obligations School Facilities Improvement Bonds
  • Served as underwriter counsel for $81,000,000, Strongsville City School District Improvement
  • Represented a two-year state community college on its move from one location to another; this included all aspects of property acquisition, approvals, design, and construction
  • Handled tax complaints before the Board of Revision and Board of Tax Appeals on behalf of school districts to assist them in maximizing funding
  • Provide legal support for day-to-day issues regarding Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Evaluation Team Reports (ETRs), PR-01s and related Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) documentation
  • Represented a board of education in litigation before the Ohio Supreme Court that established the supremacy of negotiated reduction in force procedures
  • In administrative proceedings before an Impartial Hearing Officer and a State Level Review Officer, a parent's demand for private school placement was overruled; the board of education's complaint for recovery of attorney fees from the parent and attorney is now pending review in U.S. Northern District of Ohio; this attorney fee case is one of the first attempts to recover attorney fees from a parent under a new provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004
  • Defended a local school district against a zoning challenge to the use of modular classrooms
  • Reviewed and negotiated a managed care plan for an area community college
  • Performed real estate work for a public school system which involved acquiring real estate for the School Construction Program, including the acquisition of an $8 million office facility being retrofitted as a transitional school facility to house students during construction at existing facilities
  • Represented a four-year state university and several two-year state community colleges in eminent domain and land acquisition proceedings
  • Represented several two-year state community colleges on the design and construction of campus buildings, including the drafting of contracts and negotiating architect agreements, claims, disputes, and close-out operations
  • Handled issues related to public employees in the education industry, such as public records act matters, issues related to Revised Code Chapter 2744, and civil service issues
  • Represented a public school system in connection with real estate matters pertinent to the development of a new high school and athletic fields
  • Represented a state university in its bargain price acquisition, including all aspects of title and conveyancing, and subsequent sale and disposition of a 1,500 acre estate
  • Represented a community seeking to transfer territory to a different school district
  • Counseled on underground storage tank compliance issues, asbestos compliance issues related to demolition and renovation projects, as well as solid and hazardous waste management issues, including the requirements applicable to the onsite transportation of hazardous wastes
  • Represented a state university in the construction of new dormitories
  • Represented a four-year state university in litigation initiated by the school against an architect, contractor, and subcontractors over design and construction of the school's football stadium
  • Handled unemployment claims for a state university
  • Represented a village in a school transfer case before the Ohio Department of Education
  • Represent school districts in special education due process hearings before Impartial Hearings Officers and State Hearings Officers and/or Federal Courts
  • Represent school districts in responding to U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights complaints
  • Represent school districts in responding to Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children complaints

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