• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Abstract
 Introduction
 Theoretical propositions for the...
 Presentation of the responses made...
 Comparative analysis of the field...
 Discussion of the data: theoretical...
 Summary, conclusions, implications,...
 Appendices
 Reference
 Biographical sketch














Title: Legal services for local school districts
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098147/00001
 Material Information
Title: Legal services for local school districts
Physical Description: xi, 222 leaves : ; 28cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kirkland, Ronnie O'Neil, 1940-
Publication Date: 1975
Copyright Date: 1975
 Subjects
Subject: School districts -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Legal aid -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Educational Administration and Supervision thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Educational Administration and Supervision -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Ronnie O'Neil Kirkland.
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 217-220.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098147
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000162908
oclc - 02726976
notis - AAS9258

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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iii
    Table of Contents
        Page iv
        Page v
    List of Tables
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Abstract
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
    Introduction
        Page 1
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    Theoretical propositions for the provision of legal services to local school districts
        Page 20
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    Presentation of the responses made to the questionnaire by the study participants
        Page 55
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    Comparative analysis of the field data
        Page 148
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    Discussion of the data: theoretical implications
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    Summary, conclusions, implications, and a theoretical design for legal services
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    Appendices
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    Reference
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 221
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Full Text













LECAL SERVICES FOR LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS


By

RONNIE O'NEIL KIRKLAND



















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY


OF FLORIDA

975
































To

NORMA















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


The writer wishes to express his appreciation and

indebtedness to the members of the doctoral committee:

Dr. Ralph B. Kimbrough, chairman, Dr. Michael Y. Nunnery,

and Dr. Arthur J. Lewis. Each member of the committee con-

tributed greatly to the personal and educational experiences

of the writer.

Sincere appreciation is hereby expressed to the

Management of Educational Change Fellows for the many ex-

periences that were shared.

The writer particularly wishes to express his grati-

tude to his wife, who assisted in every aspect of the study

and to his daughter, ReNae, who went to college before she

was seven years old.

Neil and Beatrice Kirkland deserve a greater acknowl-

edgment than the pen can express. Their abundant parental

faith has been a sustaining influence throughout the life

of the writer.















TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . iii

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . ... vi

ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . .. . . ix

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .. 1

The Problem . . . . . . . . . 3
Definition of Terms . . . . . . . 7
Procedures . . . . . . . . . 8
Organization of the Research Report . . .. 18

CHAPTER II. THEORETICAL PROPOSITIONS FOR THE PROVI-
SION OF LEGAL SERVICES TO LOCAL SCHOOL
DISTRICTS . . . . . . .. 20

Research Studies . . . . . . . .. 20
The Courts . . . . . . . . . 38
Journal Articles and Related Materials . .. 43
Theoretical Propositions . . . . . .. 48
Summary . . . . . . . . . . 53

CHAPTER III. PRESENTATION OF THE RESPONSES MADE TO
THE QUESTIONNAIRE BY THE STUDY PARTI-
CIPANTS . . . . . . . .. 55

Analysis of the School Board Attorneys'
Responses to the Questionnaire . . . .. 55
Analysis of the Responses Made by School Board
Chairmen to the Questionnaire . . . .. 88
Analysis of the Responses Made by School
Superintendents to the Questionnaire ... . 116
Summary . . . . . . . . . . 145

CHAPTER IV. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE FIELD DATA 148

Comparison of the Number of Comments Made by
the Study Participants . . . . . .. 148
Comparison of Area Rankings of Responses Made
by the Study Participants to Each Question of
the Questionnaire . . . . . . .. 150
Summary . . . . . . . .. .. 161










Page


CHAPTER V. DISCUSSION OF THE DATA: THEORETICAL
IMPLICATIONS . . . . . . . 163
Analysis of the Field Data Relative to the
Theoretical Propositions Derived From the
Literature . . . . . .. . 163
Implications of the Data . . . . ... 167
Summary . . . . . .. . . . . 180

CHAPTER VI. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND
A THEORETICAL DESIGN FOR LEGAL SERVICES 182
Summary . . . . . ... . . . 182
Conclusions . . . . . . . . 188
Implications . . . ... . . .. 190
A Theoretical Design for the Provision of Legal
Services to Local School Districts ... . 195

APPENDICES . . . . . .. . . . . 198

APPENDIX A. LEGAL SERVICES QUESTIONNAIRE ... . 199

APPENDIX B. RESPONSES MADE BY THE STUDY PARTICI-
PANTS TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE . . .. 203

APPENDIX C. KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 12TH-GRADE MEMBER-
SHIP OF THE FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS
FOR 1973-74 . . . . . ... 213

REFERENCES . . . . . ... . . . . 217

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . .. 221















LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1. Distribution and Response of Study Participants
According to School District K-12 Membership 13

2. Percentage of Distribution and Response of
Study Participants According to School District
K-12 Membership 14

3. Results of Chi-Square Tests of Significance
for School District Size and Study Participant
Response 16

4. Results of Chi-Square Test of Significance for
the Number of Questionnaires Returned by Each
Participant Group 17

.5. Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses
S Relative to the Legal Services Needed by
Local School Districts 57

6. Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses
Relative to the Services That School Board
Attorneys Should Provide 63

7. Frequency of Responses of School Board
Attorneys Relative to the Need for Attorneys
Other Than the School Board Attorney 71

8. Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses
Concerning the Conditions of Employment Needed
Between School Districts and Attorneys 77

9. Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses
Relative to the Qualifications Desired of
Attorneys Retained by the School Districts 82

10. Frequency of School Board Chairman Responses
Relative to the Legal Services Needed by Local
School Districts 90

11. Frequency of School Board Chairmen Responses
Relative to the Services That School Board
Attorneys Should Provide 95













12. Frequency of Responses of School Board Chairmen
Relative to the Need for Attorneys Other Than
the School Board Attorney 101

13. Frequency of School Board Chairmen Responses
Concerning the Conditions of Employment Needed
Between School Districts and Attorneys 107

14. Frequency of School Board Chairmen Responses
Relative to the Qualifications Desired of
Attorneys Retained by the School Districts 112

15. Frequency of Superintendent Responses Relative
to the Legal Services Needed by Local School
Districts 118

16. Frequency of Superintendent Responses Relative
to the Services That School Board Attorneys
Should Provide 124

17. Frequency of Superintendent Responses Relative
to the Need for Attorneys Other Than the School
Board Attorney 130

18. Frequency of Superintendent Responses Concern-
ing the Conditions of Employment Needed Between
School Districts and Attorneys 136

19. Frequency of Superintendent Responses to the
Qualifications Desired of Attorneys Retained
by the School Districts 141

20. Number of Comments Made by the Study Partici-
pants to Each Question of the Questionnaire 149

21. Results of the Chi-Square Tests of Significance
on the Number of Comments Made in Response to
Each Question 151

22. Ranking of the 10 Most Frequently Mentioned
Areas of Legal Services Needed by Local School
Districts 152

23. Ranking of the 10 Most Frequently Mentioned
Areas of Service That a Local School Board
Attorney Should Provide 154

24. Ranking of the Eight Most Frequently Mentioned
Conditions That Might Require the Services of an
Attorney Other Than the School Board Attorney 156


Page


Table










Table Page

25. Ranking of the Four Most Frequently Mentioned
Conditions of Employment Between School
Districts and Attorneys According to the Study
Participants 158

26. Ranking of the Six Most Frequently Mentioned
Qualifications of Attorneys 160

27. Responses Made by the Study Participants to
Question 1 204

28. Responses Made by the Study Participants to
Question 2 206

29. Responses Made by the Study Participants to
Question 3 208

30. Responses Made by the Study Participants to
Question 4 210

31. Responses Made by the Study Participants to
Question 5 212

32. Kindergarten Through 12th-Grade Membership
of the Florida School Districts for 1973-74 214


viii










Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

LEGAL SERVICES FOR LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS

By

Ronnie O'Neil Kirkland

December, 1975

Chairman: Dr. Ralph B. Kimbrough
Major Department: Educational Administration

The focus of this study was on the legal services needed

by local school districts and the means of providing such

services. Theoretical propositions were derived from the

literature concerning legal services for local school dis-

tricts. These theoretical propositions were tested in the

field by gathering data from the school districts of a

selected state. These field data were collected through a

questionnaire which was mailed to school board attorneys,

school board chairmen, and school superintendents in the 67

school districts of Florida. The returned questionnaires

were analyzed and the 2,083 comments from 128 study parti-

cipants (39 school board attorneys, 36 school board chairmen,

and 53 school superintendents) were catalogued according to

subject. Frequency distributions were established and

commonalities and/or differences were noted.

In regard to the nine theoretical propositions derived

from the literature, the field data supported those that










dealt with the need for local school districts to have legal

counsel, the lack of legal assistance from the state attor-

ney general, the school board attorney as being the most

available source of legal counsel, the need to establish

policies concerning the role and functions of the school

board attorney, and the requirement for legal services in

the area of student and personnel problems. The propositions

concerning equal access to legal services for all school dis-

tricts and the need for attorneys to have special training

in school law were supported by perceptions of the need but

not by perceptions of actual practice. The propositions

dealing with the need for the state department of education

to provide consistently legal assistance to local school dis-

tricts and the need to standardize among the school districts

the conditions of employment of attorneys were supported

neither by perceptions of need nor by perceptions of practice.

Based upon the theoretical propositions derived from

the literature and the results of the field data, the writer

developed a theoretical design for the provision of legal

services to local school districts. This design includes

the following provisions:

1. Legal services regions are established throughout

the state.

2. Each legal services region is headed by an attorney

who acts as an assistant to the local school dis-

tricts in that region. This attorney helps










coordinate the legal services needed by the local

school district.

3. Separate attorneys are retained to represent the

interests of the school board and the school super-

intendent.

4. The school superintendent designates someone on

his staff to be a legal specialist in the day-to-

day operations of the school district.

5. Courses in school law and training seminars are

required of attorneys retained by the local

school districts. Field experiences in local school

districts are made available to law students.

6. A formal contract, specifying duties and respon-

sibilities, is established between the attorney

and the agency retaining the attorney, whether

state or local school district. The basis for

remuneration for services rendered is a standard-

ized hourly schedule.















CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION


The legal aspects of public school administration and

policy formulation have been affected by court decisions,

legislation, and pressure generated by an increased public

concern for the educational processes (Shannon, 1973, p. 23).

These factors had created by 1975 a broad field of law within

which local school officials were required to operate.

Court decisions have been rendered relative to due

process for students such as in Dixon v. Alabama State Board

of Education (1961), Tinker v. DesMoines Independent Com-

munity School District (1969), and Scoville v. Board of

Education (1970). Also, due process for teachers has formed

the basis for legal action, as in Perry v. Sinderman (19.72).

Other areas affected by the courts have included religion,

desegregation, school finance, civil rights, corporal punish-

ment, sex discrimination, search and seizure, and busing

(Alexander, Corns & McCann, 1969, passim).

During the 1974 session of the Florida Legislature,

69 bills were passed that related to public education in the

state (Laws Relating . 1974). Included in the

enacted laws was a provision for the waiver of sovereign im-

munity. This provision allowed the state and its agencies

to be sued for the actions of employees (pp. 12-32).










Also adopted by the Florida Legislature in the 1974 session

was a collective bargaining bill for public employees which

permitted school district personnel to bargain with the local

school board (pp. 151-153). Such legislative enactments

placed greater legal responsibility upon those charged with

the operations of a school district.

Relative to the means of providing legal services to

local school districts, Barr (1971) examined the function of

the attorney general of Georgia in the capacity of legal

advisor to public officials of that state. He found that

such services received from the attorney general had been

curtailed in recent years. He concluded that local public

school officials had only one consistently available source

of legal assistance: the local school board attorney. Barr's

findings were later substantiated in a study conducted by

Pettit (1974) of all 50 state departments of education. His

research indicated that most states allowed the local school

district to retain private legal counsel and that assistance

from the attorney general was in the form of legal opinion

only.

With each passing year, more formal procedures and more

legal services were required of and needed by local school

districts. Studies were conducted by researchers (Fessler,

1971; Price, 1967; Stover, 1960) who examined the responsi-

bilities of school board attorneys that might be determined

at that time. These investigations revealed the link made










by the attorney between the legal sphere of laws, statutes,

and courts and the local school system.

In this context of legal responsibility the research

reported herein was conducted to determine the legal ser-

vices needed by local school districts and the means of pro-

viding such services.

The Problem

Statement of the Problem

The focus of this study was on the legal services needed

by local school districts and the means of providing such

services. The first part of the problem was to establish

theoretical propositions concerning the provision of legal

services to local school districts. These propositions were

derived from available research and related literature. The

second part of the problem was to test the theoretical

propositions by gathering empirical data from a state system

of school districts. Specifically, the objective of the

second part of the study was to determine the perceptions

of local school board chairmen, school superintendents, and

school board attorneys relative to the following questions:

1. What legal services are needed by local school

districts?

2. What should be the responsibilities of local school

board attorneys in providing these services?

3. Under what special circumstances, if any, should

attorneys other than the school board attorney be










retained by local school districts?

4. What should be the terms and conditions of employ-

nent of attorneys retained by local school dis-

tricts?

5. What should be the qualifications of attorneys

retained by local school districts?

Delimitations and Limitations

The follo..ing restrictions were observed while con-

ducting the study:

1. The review of the research and literature was

limited to the 20-year period 1955-1975.

2. The collection of the field data for the study

was limited to the 67 school districts in the

state of Florida. Specifically, the question-

naiteswcre mailed to 66 school board attorneys, 67

school board chairmen, and 67 school superintendents.

One school district retained no school board at-

torney. Responses were received from 39 school

board attorneys, 36 school board chairmen, and

53 sci'ool superintendents.

A questionnaire technique was used which necessarily

possessed weaknesses inherent in this method: the inability

to manipulate independent variables and the risk of improper

interpretation of data.

Although the collection of the field data in this study

was limited to Florida, the standardization of public










educational practices in the United States has reached the

point that the data collected might have some implications

for other states. Much of the litigation involved federal

law pertaining to all states. As suggested, although the

states had separate school systems, many of the procedures

relative to the legal control and administrative practice

have been standardized over the past one hundred years prior

to 1975.

Justification for the Study

The results of this study will add to the knowledge

available at the time of this report relative to the legal

services needed by local school districts and the conditions

that should exist in providing these services. Previous

studies have determined existing conditions, but they have

not dealt with the questions: What is needed? and

What should be? This study sought answers to these ques-

tions.

As stated elsewhere, the need for legal services in

school systems has grown enormously during the two decades

1955-1975. Nunnery and Kimbrough (1971, p. 127) reported

that the number of school districts decreased from over

115,000 in the 1940s to less than 18,000 in 1970. During

this time the number of students increased, and as a result,

larger and more complex schools were created. Local school

boards and public school administrators were under constant

pressure from legal requirements in carrying out their










duties and responsibilities. An example of such require-

ments can be found in an opinion issued by the attorney

general of Florida in November 1974 concerning corporal

punishment and the procedures required of school personnel

to protect the rights of students (Shevin, 1974). The

opinion listed eight conditions that should be met before

administering corporal punishment.

Stover (1969) made the following statement:

Questions developing as a result of the maze of
educational legislation in the Congress as well as
the states, the school decisions of numerous court
cases, including federal, state and local,and
numerous opinions on educational matters rendered by
attorneys, too, indicate the importance and the need
for school attorneys. . Answers to many such
questions relating to legal services have been lack-
ing due to the limited amount of research available on
the role of the school attorney in school adminis-
tration and school board functions. (p. 1)

These factors pointed to the need for review of the

legal aspects of public school administration and the require-

ments of legal counsel; not on the basis of that which

existed, but on the basis of what was needed and perceptions

of what should exist.

Relative to procedures for the establishment of school

board attorneys, Wells (1960) reported that he found no

accepted pattern for school board attorneys in Michigan.

ile further concluded that most districts did not follow

sound criteria in establishing an attorney for the school

board.










In a study of attorneys in two counties in New Jersey,

Austin (1963) concluded that the functions and duties of

these attorneys were often vague. This vagueness was at-

tributed to a lack of definitive agreements or specifica-

tions of duties.

Without proper legal counsel, school officials, through

improper procedures, could become involved in litigation

resluting in expenditures of monies that could be used in

the classroom. Glime reported in 1972 that through neglect

in establishing protective clauses in negotiated contracts,

school boards could be liable in a wide variety of suits.

He cited an example of such a mistake which cost a school

district $100,000 (p. 28).

In the years that have passed since these studies

were conducted, conditions have changed such that a study

of this nature is fully justified.

Definition of Terms

Local school district.--That unit of organization of

the state school system established locally by the state

to provide educational processes for students in the area.

Responsibilities of attorneys.--Those areas of concern

which are assigned to the attorney either by contractual

or by informal agreements.

School board.--That body of persons elected by the

voters of the school district which has the responsibility

for the organization and control of public schools in










that district. It is used interchangeably with the term

board.

School board attornev.--The attorney retained by the

local school board for counsel and legal representation.

School board chairman.--That person elected by members

of the local school board to serve as chairman of the

board. It is used interchangeably with the term chairman.

School superintendent.--That person who is elected to

office by the voters of the school district or that person

appointed to this office by the school board in those dis-

tricts where that option has been chosen by the electorate.

He is responsible for the administration of the schools and

is the executive officer of the school board. It is used

interchangeably with the term superintendent.

Terms and conditions of employment of attorneys.--The

agreed-upon schedule of remuneration for services rendered

and any arrangements that are effected, whether formal or

informal.

Procedures

Study Design

An extensive review of the research and related litera-

ture was completed concerning the legal services needed by

school districts and the manner of providing these services.

The results of this review formed the basis of theoretical

propositions developed by the writer for providing legal

services to local school districts. These propositions were










used as the basis for conducting the field study of the

school districts in Florida.

The empirical phase of the problem utilized the ques-

tionnaire design in order to ascertain the perceptions of

the field study participants relative to the legal services

needed by local school districts and the means of provid-

ing such services.

Research and Literature Review

A review of the research and related literature was

conducted by the writer. This review was limited to

materials that were produced during the 20-year period

1955-1975. These sources included Dissertation Abstracts

International, Educational Resources Information Center

(ERIC), The Encyclopedia of Educational Research, American

Jurisp udence, journal articles, books, and court cases

dealing with aspects of public school administration.

Each iLem of information was evaluated according to its

relevance and contribution to the problem. Not all items

were included in the review, and it is acknowledged that

some sources may have been omitted which could have added

to the depth of this study. The review of the research and

related literature is included in Chapter II.

Participants for the Field Study

The prospective participants for the field study in-

cluded the school board chairman, school superintendent, and

school board attorney in each of the 67 school districts in











the state of Florida. This choice provided a maximum of 201

potential participants selected for the study.

Instrumentation and Data Collection

To collect the data for analysis, each school board

chairman, school superintendent, and school board attorney

was asked to respond to the following questions:

1. In your opinion, what legal services are needed

by local school districts?

2. What are some of the legal services that you think

a school board attorney should provide?

3. Under what circumstances, if any, do you think

that an attorney other than the school board

attorney should be retained by local school dis-

tricts?

4. In your opinion, what should be the terms and

conditions of employment of attorneys retained

by local school districts?

5. Based upon your experience, what do you think

should be the qualifications of attorneys retained

by local school districts?

Each study participant received by mail a list of the

five questions (see Appendix A). Since the information

that he provided would not be directly connected to the

conditions that might have existed in that particular dis-

trict, each participant was asked to respond to the questions

freely and frankly. A second mailing was sent out four










weeks later to those who had not responded. Three weeks

after the second mailing, telephone calls were made to the

remainder of the potential study participants. The writer

learned through these calls that some questionnaires had

not been received through the mail and that another ques-

tionnaire must be sent for completion.

The participants were identified and placed in school

district categories according to the student membership of

the individual school district at the end of the 1973-74

school year (Report of .. 1975). There were 10 school

districts that had a kindergarten through 12th-grade mem-

bership of more than 40,000. In the 10,001 to 40,000 cate-

gory, there were 17 districts. There were 40 school dis-

tricts in the 0 to 10,000 membership category. As can be

readily seen from these data, a majority of the school

districts in Florida were in the 0 10,000 membership

category (see Appendix C).

Each school district had a potential of three study

participants had all eligible entities participated in the

study. As stated previously, the realization of this

potential would have provided a total of 201 participants

from the 67 school districts in Florida. However, the

writer discovered that one school district did not employ

a school board attorney; which reduced the total of pos-

sible study participants to 200. Of these, 128 reacted to

the questionnaire sent by mail to all potential participants.










As shown in Table 1, the school district superinten-

dents (53) returned more of the questionnaires than did the

school board chairmen (36) or school board attorneys (39).

The maximum return possible from each was 67, with the ex-

ception of the school board attorneys; the maximum return

for attorneys was 66, because one district had no school

board attorney.

The percentage of response canr be seen in Table 2 by

school district membership category and study participant

title. Of the total possible study participants in each

group, the response was 59.1 percent for the school board

attorneys, 53.7 percent for the school board chairmen, and

79.1 percent for the school superintendents.

The school superintendents responded more frequently in

all categories of school district size. For the larger

(more than 40,000), medium (10,001 to 40,000), and smaller

(0 to 10,000) categories the response was 80.0 percent,

94.1 percent and 72.5 percent,respectively. The spread be-

tween the highest and lowest percentile was 21.6 points. Of

all those answering the questionnaire, 41.4 percent were

school superintendents.

The school board attorneys comprised 30.5 percent of

the study participants, placing them second to the school

superintendents in response frequency. For the large,

medium, and small school districts the response was 60.0

percent, 64.7 percent, and 56.4 percent, respectively.










TABLE 1

Distribution and Response of Study Participants According to
School District K-12 Membership


School District Number of Response of Stud Participants
K-12 Membership School Districts School Board School Board School Super-
Categoriesa in Category Attorneysb Chairmen intendents

More than
40,000 10 6 5 8

10,001-
40,000 17 11 8 16

0-
10,000 40 22 23 29


Total 67 39 36 53


Note: Grand total of study participants 128. Total of possible study participants -
200.

aBased on school district kindergarten through 12th grade membership at the end of the
1973-74 school year.

bone school district in the 0-10,000 membership category had no school board attorney.










TABLE 2


Percentage of Distribution and Response of Study Participants
According to School District K-12 Membership


School District Number of Percent of Responses of the Study Participants
School District Number of------------------------
K-12 Membership School Districts School Board School Board School Super-
Categories in Category Attorneys Chairmen intendents

More than
40,000 10 60.0% 50.0% 80.0%

10,001-
40,000 17 64.7% 47.1% 94.1%

0-
10,000 40 56.4% 57.5% 72.5%


Total responses 30.5% 28.1% 41.4%


Possible responses 59.1% 53.7% 79.1%


Those responding from all categories 64%











The spread between the highest percentile and the lowest

was 8.3 points.

Responding least frequently were the school board chair-

men. Of the total responses, 28.1 percent were from school

board chairmen. In the K-12 membership categories of large,

medium, and small, the response was 50.5 percent, 47.1 per-

cent, and 57.5 percent, respectively. The spread between

the highest percentile of participation and the lowest was

10.4 points.

Table 3 shows the results of the chi-square tests of

significance for large, medium, and small districts relative

to the number of respondents from each participant group

in the respective district sizes. No significant difference

was indicated by these tests in the three groups of study

participants when they were compared by the chi-square pro-

cedure.

The results of the chi-square tests of significance on

the number of questionnaires returned by the school board

attorneys, school board chairmen, and school superinten-

dents, shown by Table 4, indicated no statistically sig-

nificant difference.

Data Treatment

From the review of the research and related literature,

the author developed a set of propositions concerning the

legal services needed by school boards and the means whereby

such legal services should be provided to local school

districts.












TATFLE 3

Results of Chi-Squreo Tests of Significance
for SchooJ DiLLstict Size and
Study ParL:ticip 'nt Response


Group

Large districts
SBAa
SBCb
SSc


Medium districts
SBA
SBC
SS


Small districts
SBA
SBC
SS


0 E


(O-E)2 (O-E)2/E


6.33
6.33
6.33


11 13.67
8 11.67
16 11.67


24 .67
24.67
24. 67


*Not significant at the .05 level.

aSBA = School board attorney.

bSBC = School board chairman.

SS = School superintendent.


- .33
-1.33
1.67




- .67
-3.67
4.33




-2.67
-1.67
4.33


.11
1.78
2.78




.45
13.57
18.75




7.13
2.79
18.75


.017
.281
.439
.737*


.039
1.154
1.607
2.8*


.289
.113
.760
1.162*










TABLE 4

Results of Chi-Square Test of Significance for the Number
of Questionnaires Returned by Each Participant Group


Group O OE -E (O-E)2 (OE


SBAa 39.0 42.67 -3.67 13.47 .316


SBCb 36.0 42.67 -6.67 44.49 1.043


SSc 53.0 42.67 10.33 106.71 2.501
3.86*


*Not significant at the .05 level.

aSBA = School bcard attorney.

SBC = School board chairman.

SS = School superintendent.










The data collected through the use of the questionnaire

were analyzed, and frequency tables were developed to show

the responses of the study participants. Response areas

were identified, and the data were grouped accordingly.

Ranks and sums of ranks were used to develop a priority

listing of the findings. Chi-square tests of significance

were conducted on the number of comments made in response to

individual questions of the questionnaire.

Commonalities and/or differences among and between the

responses of the study participants were noted and discussed

in the research report. One of the purposes of this research

was not only to determine areas of consensus and/or differ-

ences but also to consider emerging conditions and their pos-

sible impact on organizational and administrative processes

in public education.

Organization of the Research Report

The research is reported in six chapters. Chapter I

serves as an introduction to the study and includes descrip-

tive aspects of the problem. An extensive review of the

available research and related literature is presented in

Chapter II, as well as theoretical propositions for the pro-

vision of legal services to local school districts. Chapter

III contains a presentation of the responses made by the

field study participants to the questionnaire. The field

study data are discussed and compared in Chapter IV. Chapter

V contains a discussion of the theoretical propositions in





19



light of the field data and the impl ications of the research.

A summary of the findings and conclusions is presented in

Chapter VI along with a theoretical design for the provision

of legal services to local school districts.














CHAPTER II

THEORETICAL PROPOSITIONS FOR THE PROVISION OF
LEGAL SERVICES TO LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS

The purpose of this chapter is to review the research

and related literature concerning the legal services needed

by local school districts and the means of providing such

services. These literature sources included Dissertation

Abstracts International, Educational Resources Information

Center (ERIC), The Encyclopedia of Educational Research,

American Jurisprudence, journal articles, books, and court

cases dealing with related aspects of public school adminis-

tration. This review was restricted to materials that had

been developed during the 20-year period 1955-1975. Theoret-

ical propositions concerning legal services for local school

districts were developed by the writer as a result of this

review.

Research Studies

Ten doctoral dissertations were found that dealt with

the subject of legal services for public schools. Of the 10

dissertations, four concerned the role of the state attorney

general of several states; five dealt with the school board

attorney, his function and role; and one surveyed the legal

services provided by state departments of education.

In addition to the dissertations, two studies were

reported as journal articles and in the paragraphs that










follow, the results of the dissertations and of the studies

reported as journal articles are described.

Roesch (1956, pp. 58-60) reported research, conducted

in five areas, involving the school attorney in Michigan.

His inquiry studied the following: (1) the number of school

districts retaining a private attorney or law firm; (2) the

services the attorneys were providing school districts;

(3) the administrative relationship of the attorney to the

superintendent of schools and the board of education; (4)

the value of private legal counsel for the school district;

and (5) the cost of legal services. The research was de-

scriptive. The population studied was school districts in

Michigan that employed between 20 and 800 teachers. This

limitation resulted in a study that included districts with

populations of 1,500 to 100,000.

A systematic sample was obtained by listing the schools

alphabetically and selecting every second school district.

A postcard was sent to the superintendent of each district

selected, to determine if that district employed a school

attorney. The superintendents of districts that employed a

school attorney were then sent a detailed questionnaire

regarding the extent and cost of legal services.

Roesch's study resulted in the following summarized

findings and conclusions:

1. The use of a school attorney in Michigan was
a common practice.

2. The size of the school district was not the only
factor that determined the need for school attorneys.










3. The request for legal ass.i :ntance tended to coincide
with board meetings, and IOho major sources of this
assistance was the local school attorney and the
state department of public instruction.

4. The school attorneys were involved in nearly all
phases of the general school administration, but
"full and adequate legal coverage" (p. 60) of all
school problems was byondl the resources of many
local school attorneys.

5. The researcher found that of the 103 superinten-
dents, 55 had the responsibility for recommending
a school attorney for employment. In 34 districts
the board retained this responsibility, and this
task had not been assigned in the remaining 14
districts.

6. The superintendents indicated that the attorney's
knowledge of school law was the most important
consideration when selecting a school attorney.

7. A qualified school attoriiey was considered to be
a very desirable resource for the public schools
of Michigan. (pp. 58-60)

Roe and Wells (1959, pp. 26-27) reported a study in

response to queries from boards of education in Michigan

asking how they should work with legal counsel and in re-

sponse to complaints from school superintendents about two

aspects of the school attorney's relationship to the school

district: (1) the frequent infringement upon the educational

leadership function of the superintendent by legal counsel

and (2) the lack of a fair and consistent policy of fee

determination.

This study by Roe and Wells sought to determine:

1. What were the conditions of employment of the
school attorney?

2. What were the problems arising from the working
relationship between the school attorney, the










board of education, and the superintendent of
schools?

3. What were some criteria useful in establishing
a successful relationship or administrative
pattern? (p. 26)

A questionnaire was distributed to 376 midwestern school

superintendents to gather the data necessary for the study.

Roe and Wells (1959) found:

1. A school attorney was employed on a regular basis
by approximately 40 percent of the school dis-
tricts surveyed.

2. Thirty percent of the districts paid the attorney
on a retainer basis and 52 percent paid the at-
torney on a fee basis.

3. In 79 percent of the cases the selection of the
school attorney was made by the board and the
superintendent acting jointly.

4. Slightly more than 50 percent of the school at-
torneys specialized in school law to some extent.

5. Of the districts surveyed, 37 percent employed
attorneys who resided locally.

6. Special bonding attorneys were employed by 67
percent of the districts surveyed for bond
elections.

7. Specific written policy on the relationship of
the school attorney to the school administration
was present in only 30 percent of the districts
surveyed.(p. 27)

The following summarized problems in the school board-

superintendent-attorney relationship became apparent as a

result of the data gathered in the survey:

1. Confusion, misunderstanding, and lack of confi-
dence resulted, because in many cases the attorney's
direction came from one source and his report went
to another.











2. Interference of the attorney in educational policy
matters was a cause of friction.

3. The wide variation in fees charged by the attorneys
was a major source of problems. (p. 27)

Roe and Wells suggested that the board and the super-

intendent establish clear-cut lines of communication be-

tween the attorney, the board, and the superintendent; that

fees paid to attorneys be understood before hand and be

open to public scrutiny; and that the attorney's role in

the school district organization be properly established

(p. 27).

As a result of the study, these authors developed

several criteria for employing school attorneys:

1. School attorneys should be appointed as a result
of a joint study by the superintendent and the
board of education.

2. Specialization should be the basis for the
selection of attorneys.

3. For bond issue elections and subsequent affairs
leading to the acquisition of the bond money,
special bonding attorneys should be employed by
the board of education.

4. Time required for the services performed by the
attorney should be the basis for the fee charged
by the attorney.

5. The superintendent of schools should give direc-
tion to and receive the report from the school
attorney.

6. The school attorney should attend board meetings
only when specific matters within his jurisdiction
come up.

7. The school attorneys should be treated adminis-
tratively as consultants to the superintendent and
board of education on legal matters.









8. Written policy that has been made a matter of
record should be the basis governing the finan-
cial and the working relationship of the school
attorney to the superintendent and the board of
education. (p. 27)

In 1960 Stover reported a study of the school attorney

in Pennsylvania. The problem was to determine the attorney's

influence upon the educational program and to evaluate

various practices and functions of the school attorney.

Stover examined related literature, statutes, court

decisions, and the annual financial reports of the dis-

tricts. lie gathered data from questionnaires filled out by

attorneys, superintendents, and school board members.

The following abstracted conclusions resulted:

1. There was an increasing and consistent need by
Pennsylvania's school officials for legal counsel
and services.

2. The attorney has little influence on the adminis-
tration of the educational program. Attorneys
were needed to guide procedure in financing
school buildings, securing court decisions on
school law, and protecting the legal rights of
school boards.

3. Most Pennsylvania schools that had a chief school
administrator employed an attorney who attended
all board meetings, was paid a fixed salary, was
responsible to board and administration jointly,
and served two or more school boards.

4. The attorney's most common service was giving
legal advice and interpreting the school code.
His median annual compensation was $350.

5. Respondents indicated that attorney salaries
should be increased and that their qualifications
should include special training in school legal
procedures.

6. Lack of uniformity relating to the interpretation
of school law was reported within counties and
within the Commonwealth as a whole. (pp. 172-175)










Wells (3960, abstr.ac) jinin :ig
between school attorneys, bI-lr::: of education, and school

superinnticndents in M; cl gn!. T' .: study was an attempt to

analyze the condition:; of .ple ;-nt of school attorneys in

the state, to determine probl;.-. arising from the three-way

relationship between the s'choo th.uor-ucy, the board of educa-

tion, and the superintendc"!. o schol.]s, and to determine

criteria helpful in esotabli shi. the school attorney as an

integral part in the operation of the school's administrative

system.

The following questio-n were% established as being most

pertinent to the purpose of thi study:

1. What are the elemrents of a successful relation-
ship between the school attorney, superintendent,
and board of education?

2. What contractual or employment relationships do
school boards have with school attorneys?

3. How, much do school boards pay for legal services
on bond issues? (abstiact)

All school superintendenlt.s in Michigan were sent a

questionnaire. Then school districts were selected at ran-

dom, and case studies were then nade of those districts.

Data on legal fees in connection with bond issues were

secured from the files of the Michigan Municipal Finance

Commission.

In order to measure the status of the attorney-board-

superintendent relationship, a scale was constructed. It

was developed from a series of statements evaluated by a










group of experts. The criteria, established by 11 men who

had acknowledged expert ie in the fields of school adminis-

tration and school lav., resulted from their evaluation of

the series of statements.

Relative to the central questions the following conclu-

sions weoe reached:

1. No accepted pattern for the establishment of the
school attorney in the local school organizational
plan existed in Michigan prior to this study.

2. Failure of Michigan school officials to pay care-
ful attention to sound administrative procedures
in the establishment of the attorney-superintendent-
board relationship had created difficulties in
that relationship in a significant number of school
districts.

3. Criteria exist which can be isolated and applied
to the problem of establishing an attorney in
the organizational plan of local school districts
on a sound basis. These criteria had been isola-
ted in this study. Michigan school districts did
not meet most of the criteria.

4. There is a tremendous disparity between Michigan
school districts in the amount paid for com-
parable legal services in connection with school
bond issues. (Wells, 1960, abstract)

A doctoral study was conducted by Austin (1963, ab-

stract) to determine the functions and status of the school

attorney in Bergen and Passaic counties of the state of

New Jersey. Austin made an intensive examination of re-

search studies that related to the school board attorney,

policies, regulations, statutes, and rules on both the

state and local level. In order to collect the data for

the study, questionnaires were distributed to all school

superintendents and practicing school board attorneys in










the two counties. The construction of the questionnaires

was such that many of the items were common to both the

superintendents' ai.d the school board attorneys' question-

naires. This design provided two points of view.

Austin found the following:

1. New Jersey statutes, rules and regulations of the
state board of education, and working instruments
employed by the state department of education
ascribed very little status and few functions to
the local school board's counsel. However, three-
fourths of the school districts of Bergen and
Passaic Counties engaged regularly employed and
practicing school board attorneys.

2. The practicing school board attorneys were not
prepared in law schools for the practice of school
law. They acquired their knowledge of the field
largely by independent study. They were experienced
professionals both in general practice and in the
practice of school law.

3. There was a general lack of definitive agreements
between practicing school board attorneys and
their employing boards of education both in regard
to their responsibilities and their sources of
directions. The functions of most of the prac-
ticing school board attorneys were defined either
vaguely or not at all. Vagueness was in evidence
also in regard to services which should be com-
pensated for by fees or by basic salaries. Pay-
ments for services related to bonding proceedings,
as compared to payments for all other services
rendered, were extremely high.

4. There was little overt dissatisfaction with the
services of the practicing school board attorneys
despite the high fees for bonding services.
Superintendents had generally found their board
attorneys cooperative. Boards generally abided by
the advice of their attorneys. However, super-
intendents usually listed the county superinten-
dent of schools as the first source of legal ad-
vice whenever they faced legal problems.

5. The needs for legal services, as perceived by
the superintendents, were well met by the actual
services performed, except for checking some of










the working instruments, obtaining extension of
credit, and carry.iny out condemnation proceedings.
(abstract)

As a result of the study, Austin made the following

recommendations:

1. It was recommended that recognition be given Lhe
practicing school board attorney at the state
level and that some framework be made to guide
the local boards of education regarding their
legal counsels. Within this framework, local
boards should develop policy statements clarify-
ing the status and functions of their attorneys.
These policies should include responsibilities,
compensations, inter-personal relationships, and
channels of communications.

2. Law schools should offer courses in the study of
school law, but these courses should not replace
the attorney's independent study. The New Jersey
Association of School Attorneys should continue.
It should conduct seminars, make sound recommenda-
tions concerning charges for services including
bonding services, and generally promote the pro-
fessional practice of school law.

3. Boards of education, superintendents and the
public should look upon the practicing school
board attorney as a member of the public school
organization, and the attorney should consider
himself an active member of the team whose func-
tion it is to supply all legal services for the
school districts. Preventive measures should be
emphasized more than the current practice empha-
sized them.(abstract)

Price (1967) investigated the school attorney in the

public school districts of Colorado and New Mexico. He was

specifically interested in determining (1) how many schools

in New Mexico and Colorado employed an attorney on a con-

tinuing basis; (2) what kinds of legal advice the attorney

was asked to give; (3) how the attorney participated in the

decision-making process as perceived by the superintendent











and attorney; (4) the source of the attorney's direction as

perceived by the superintendent and the attorney; and (5) the

degree of similarity or difference in the role of the

school attorney between large, medium, and small school dis-

tricts (p. 18).

Data were collected through the use of two question-

naires. One was sent to all superintendents in both states,

and the other, to all school attorneys in both states.

Each questionnaire was designed to permit comparison of

superintendents' and attorneys' perceptions on various

facets of the attorney's role (pp. 20-21).

Price found that

1. Thirty-eight percent of the school districts in
Colorado employed attorneys on a continuing basis.

2. Thirty percent of the school districts in New
Mexico employed an attorney on a continuing basis.

3. As districts increased in size, the proportions
employing an attorney on a continuing basis in-
creased.

4. Generally, attorneys from the two states attended
board meetings only when called.

5. Eighty percent of the districts in Colorado em-
ploying an attorney had written statements of
employment.

6. Eighty-one percent of the districts in New Mexico
employing an attorney had written statements of
employment.

7. Attorneys in both states felt that the agreements
did not adequately outline their duties, responsi-
bilities, and relationships.

8. In both states the attorneys were most likely to
be asked questions about elections and least likely
to be asked about curricular matters.











9. Doing legal research and identifying legal problems
when requested was the way attorneys in both states
participated in the decision-making process most
often.

10. No significant difference was found in the role
of the attorney in Colorado or New Mexico.

11. There was no significant difference in the role
of the attorney among large, medium, and small
school districts.

12. Superintendents and attorneys in both states agreed
that the attorney received directions from the
board and the superintendent acting together.

13. The school attorney served as the first source of
legal advice for school districts in both states.
The state department of education was the second
source. (pp. 51-58)

Price reached the following conclusions based on his

data and findings:

1. Colorado superintendents and school board attorneys
generally agreed on the attorney's role in school
board decision making. The attorney assisted the
board of education in identifying legal problems
when requested, rather than on his own initiative.
He was more likely to give opinions than to make
recommendations.

2. The New Mexico superintendents and attorneys were
in general agreement in respect to the attorney's
role in school board decision making. However,
the attorneys saw more involvement for themselves
in giving legal advice and in making contributions
to board decisions than the superintendents saw
for the attorneys.

3. The existing board policies did not adequately
define the duties, responsibilities, and relation-
ships of the school board attorneys.

4. The school board attorneys were not kept adequately
informed of board of education problems that re-
quire their assistance in time to prevent litiga-
tion. (p. 59)










Pessler (1971) reported an investigation of the func-

tion and employment of school attorneys in the Missouri

public schools. Specifically, his study sought answers to

the following questions:

1. What wcre the conditions of employment of school
attorneys in Missouri public schools?

2. What was the extent of the employment of special
attorneys in Missouri public schools?

3. What was the function of the school attorney in
Missouri public schools?

4. What were the working relationships between the
school board, the superintendent of schools, and
the school attorney in Missouri public schools?
(p. 95)

Data for the study were obtained by sending a survey

questionnaire to 451 school superintendents and to 10 school

attorneys randomly selected from among those school dis-

tricts that retained attorneys. Of the school superinten-

dents, 434 responded to the questionnaire. All of the

selected attorneys completed the survey instrument (pp. 23-

24).

The findings of Fessler's study were as follows:

1. The majority of schools employed an attorney,
usually on a retainer basis.

2. The employment agreements between the schools and
the attorneys were often vague and unsatisfactory.

3. The employment of special bonding attorneys was
quite prevalent.

4. The employment of special attorneys for negotia-
tions with teachers was practically non-existent.

5. The functions of the attorneys were numerous, with
their services most commonly required in the areas
of bonding, real estate, in-court negotiations,
school elections, and general legal counsel.










6. The overall relationship between the board, the
superintendent,and the attorney was generally
good. (pp. 96-99)

He further concluded:

1. As school district size increased, so did the ten-
dency to employ an attorney.

2. School districts overlooked the population require-
ments of Section 162.411 of the Public School Laws
of Missouri. Therefore, one could have concluded
that this law probably should have been changed to
allow all school districts to employ an attorney on
a retainer basis, regardless of how small the dis-
trict might have been.

3. Larger school districts accorded more importance
to their attorneys than did smaller districts.

4. A greater degree of specificity in employment
agreements between school districts and attorneys
was needed.

5. Attorneys sometimes exceeded their role of legal
consultant.

6. The overall relationship between boards of educa-
tion, superintendents, and attorneys was generally
good.

7. Law schools placed little importance or emphasis on
preparing their students for careers as school
attorneys. Few attorneys specialized in school
law. (Fessler, 1971, pp. 100-101)

White (1969, abstract) investigated the relationship

between offices of state attorneys general and state depart-

ments of education in the United States. He gathered data

through the use of questionnaires sent to the attorney

general's office and the department of education in each

of the 50 states. Thirty-nine of the 50 offices of attorneys

general responded, and 42 of the state departments of educa-

tion completed the questionnaire.










The findings from White's study indicated that offices

of attorneys general were organized to provide legal aid

for departments of education. However, many offices did not

provide full- or even part-time deputies to be assigned to

work with the department of education. His findings further

indicated that many departments of education had the power

to hire legal counsel other than that provided by an attor-

ney general's office. White found that these outside at-

torneys employed by the departments of education unofficially

replaced the attorney general as legal advisor to the depart-

ment.

White concluded that while the services and assistance

provided by offices of attorneys general had been good, some

departments of education had a definite need for full-time

assistants assigned to their work from an attorney general's

office. He also concluded that the offices of attorneys

general,on occasion, became involved in non-legal matters

which normally should have been handled as policy matters by

the departments of education.

Barr (1971, abstract) conducted a study focused on the

function of the attorney general of Georgia as a legal ad-

visor to public school officials of that state. He found

that the department of law, which included the attorney

general, was the sole source of official legal advice and

representation for the Georgia department of education.










Officials of the two depcyrtmnnts interviewed by Barr

identified four significant duties performed by the attorney

general on behalf of the department of education. They were:

(1) to represent the department in litigation; (2) to render

legal opinions; (3) to prepare contracts and legislation;

and (4) to assist the state board of education on appeals

from decisions made by local boards of education (abstract).

The attorney general of Georgia had maintained a rela-

tionship with local school districts through the rendition

of unofficial legal opinions. Burr reported that this ser-

vice had been curtailed in recent years and that only 12 of

the 168 local school districts had asked for legal advice

from the attorney general in 1969. Of the 12 that had asked

for help, only 5 were satisfied with the services that they

received.

Barr reached the following conclusions:

1. The attorney general exerted considerable influence
in shaping and interpreting the legal framework
within which the state government operated.

2. The distribution of attorney general opinions had
been neither systematic nor widespread.

3. Attorney general opinions related to public educa-
tion had been consistently substantiated by the
state appellate courts and thus represented re-
liable interpretations of the law.

4. The major function performed by the attorney
general for the department of education was the
rendering of legal advice in the form of official
opinions.

5. Local public school officials had only one con-
sistently available source of legal assistance:
the local school board attorney.(abstract)










Brool;s (1971, abstract) ,iialyzed the opinions rendered

by the attorney (eneraj. of Texn:- concerning the administra-

tion of public schools in thai state. lie reviewed legal

encyclopedias such as n;iric. n Ju' isprudence, Corpus Juris,

and Corpus Junri. Secn'esom to find statements of general

principles relating to thl J-roi of the attorney general.

Based on his analysis brco.ks developed a lengthy list

of conclusions. He conclurdedi that public school adminis-

trators had little unOcvrs La:ding of the inner workings of

the attorney general's office and that the size and number

of school districts in Texos sceneed to prevent effective

communication with the public schools concerning the func-

tions of the atLorney general's office.

The role of the attorney general of Indiana as a legal

advisor to public school officials was studied by Ray (1973).

His research procedure was similar to that of Brooks:

he analyzed opinions that had been formulated by the attorney

general of Indiana concerning aspects of public school ad-

ministration. He also reviewed the various sources of

legal reviews of court cases.

To gather data from the local school superintendents,

he sent a questionnaire to 57 selected at random. These

data and his legal review led Ray to the following conclu-

sions:

1. The attorney general exerted considerable in-
fluence in shaping and interpreting the legal
frameworkwithin the state government and its
agencies.










2. The office of the superintendent of public instruc-
tion was not an effective liaison between the
office of the attorney general of Indiana and
local school authorities from the standpoint of
systematic compilation and distribution of
attorney general's opinions to local school
officials.

3. The major function performed by the attorney
general of Indiana for the office of the super-
intendent of public instruction was the rendering
of legal advice in the form of official opinion.

4. Local school corporation authorities apparently
realized the hesitancy on the part of the
attorney general to respond to requests forun-
official opinions as was evidenced by the small
number of requests made during 1972. (abstract)

Pettit (1974, abstract) conducted a national survey of

legal services provided state departments of education. The

purpose of this survey wcJs to examine (1) the legal assis-

tance provided to local school districts by state depart-

ments of education, (2) the areas of school law which de-

mand the most time from legal counsel, and (3) the organiza-

tional structure of the legal division of one state depart-

ment of education.

Questionnaires were sent to all 50 state departments

of education in the United States. He received a 100 per-

cent return of the questionnaires. From the data he estab-

lished the following findings:

1. There was no one organizational model for pro-
viding legal assistance to local schools.

2. Most state departments employed attorneys.

3. Almost all states allowed school districts to
hire private legal counsel.










4. State departments of education generally believed
that local school officials would seek help
from private attorneys when confronted with a
serious legal problem.

5. Assistance from the attorney general was usually
in the form of legal opinion only. (abstract)

Pettit also made a detailed study of the legal division

of the office of the Illinois superintendent of public instruc-

tion. He found that the legal division was encouraging local

schools to hire their own private legal counsel for help

with routine legal problems. They were also atLempting to

provide improved legal services to rural areas that did not

have access to competent private counsel (1974, abstract).


The Courts

In a perusal of court actions related to education, no

case was found relating directly to the problem in this

study. That is, there were no cases specifically establish-

ing precedents about the nature of legal services to boards

of education. However, during the 1960s and 1970s the

courts have been extremely active in establishing case law

which inevitably affects the nature of legal services needed

by boards of education. Some of these precedent-setting

cases are briefly reviewed below.

The courts have been increasingly involved in issues

relating to public schools and their administration. This

section of the review deals with the courts and their de-

cisions as they have influenced the legal requirements of










public school officials specifically and local school dis-

tricts in general.

The issue of student rights has been debated in the

courts. One of the early cases was Dixon v. Alabama State

Board of Education (1961). In this case, due process for

students was the issue, and the court decided that certain

procedures should be followed when expelling a student from

college. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community

School District (1969) the court ruled that freedom of

expression which did not interfere with school operation

was permissible. The students in this case had been wearing

black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. The courts

in Scoville v. Board of Education (1970) further expanded

the rights of students to express themselves in the student

newspapers, even though the school officials disagreed with

the material printed.

In Goss v. Lopez (1975) the Supreme Court of the United

States declared that an education was a property right and

that students could not be suspended from school for short

periods of time without due process. The Supreme Court also

decided in Wood v. Strickland (1975) that school officials

could be held monetarily liable if proper procedures were

not implemented to insure the basic rights of students.

The courts have also expressed concern for teachers

and their rights. In Board of Regents of State Colleges v.

Roth (1972) the courts decided that procedural due process










was not required for annual contract teachers, but in Perry

v. Sinderman (1972) there was implied continuation of the

teacher in his position and he was upheld. Relative to

oaths for teachers, the courts have held that teachers can

be required to sign oaths pledging support of the Constitu-

tion of the United States and that of the particular state

in question, but such oaths cannot contain statements rela-

tive to beliefs or philosophies; the situation in Connell

v. Higginbotham (1971). Teachers also have been allowed to

recover damages for unconstitutional dismissals under the

provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, as demonstrated

in McLaughlin v. Tilendis (1968). Using this Civil Rights

Act of 1871 as a basis, the court held in Harkless v.

Sweeny Independent School District (1970) that a school

district, trustees, and superintendent were persons subject

to suit within the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C.A., Section

1343, and Title 42 U.S.C.A., Section 1983, if constitutional

rights were violated.

Religion and public schools have generated legal dis-

putes relative to such things as transportation, provision

of textbooks and materials, released time, compulsory

school attendance, the pledge to the flag, prayer, and Bible

reading. If the issue had the appearance of being in

violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment,

it was generally defeated. In Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971),

the Supreme Court of the United States stated that salary










supplements and purchase of services for parochial schools

constituted an impermissible entanglement between church

and state. In this case the court summarized three tests

for determining the constitutionality of a state statute

that provided aid to parochial schools. The tests were:

(1) The statute must have had a secular legislative purpose.

(2) Its principal or primary effect must have been one that

neither advanced nor inhibited religion. (3) It must not

have fostered excessive government entanglement with reli-

gion.

Relative to curriculum the most controversial issue

has been sex education. The supreme court of Hawaii, in

Medeiros v. Kiyosaki (1970), held that sex education did not

invade the constitutional rights of privacy or religion,

since it was not mandatory for the children and the parents

had the opportunity to view the materials prior to their

presentation in class.

Another issue that arose in the decade of 1970 was

sex discrimination in the public school. In Bray v. Lee

(1972) the court held that admissions standards and quotas

that favored male applicants to a school were unconstitutional.

Athletics was also an area that concerned some courts in

sex discrimination cases. A United States district judge

held in Brenden v. Independent School District 742 (1972)

that to exclude girls from some sports could not be con-

stitutionally applied.










Governmental immunity has been a question with which

the courts have wrestled. Some states have removed school

districts from this immunity and held the school district

liable for tort for its actions and those of its employees.

Such was the case in Titus v. Lindlber (1967).

School desegregation has been the subject of court

cases. A landmark case was that of Brown v. Board of

Education of Topeka, Kansas (1955), in which the lower courts

were directed to develop strategies for the desegregation

of schools. In Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklcnburg Board of

Education (1971), the United States Supreme Court indicated

that busing was a judically acceptable alternative to over-

come racial segregation. This same court held in Wright

v. Council of the City of Emporia (1972) that the establish-

ment of separate school districts was constitutionally im-

permissible if it impeded the progress of dismantling segre-

gation.

The funding of education also has been debated in the

court rooms. In Serrano v. Priest (1971) the supreme court

of California held that the quality of an education in public

schools was not to be a function of one's wealth or the

wealth of his neighbors. In Shopheard v. Godwin (1968) a

United States district court held that federal impact funds

could not be used to reduce state aid to those local school

districts that received such funds.

Collective bargaining for public employees has been










prohibited in many states and in federal groups. However,

there was a movement that began in the decade of 1960 to

secure this process for public school employees. In October

of 1969, President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order

11491. This order provided for the use of binding arbitra-

tion for the bargaining process between federal employees

and government agency employers. Executive Order 11491

supplanted Executive Order 10988, issued by President John

Kennedy in 1962, which recognized the right of federal em-

ployees to organize and to participate in collective negotia-

tions. As in most statutes, these orders prohibited the

employees from striking. However, as can be seen in Board

of Education of the City of New York v. Albert Shanker (1969),

strikes have occurred.

Journal Articles and Related Materials

The literature in educational administration contains

much material about the legal problems of boards of educa-

tion. In the paragraphs that follow, the literature related

to either the legal problems of school boards or the nature

of legal services needed is reviewed.

The rules of school boards governing discipline and

expulsion have been a source of embarrassment and expense

to school districts. Rahala (1974, p. 25) stated that

expulsions should be reserved for only the most serious

offenses and that any other approach was a clear invitation

to legal troubles.










Noltc (1971, p. 38-39) concluded th-t must of Lhe new

rules regarding student discipline were for the school

officials rather than for the studontss. He stated that

schools had been viewed as serving the n"ced:~ of society

rather than the good of the student, and as such, society

could remove the student from the protections usually

afforded the adult citizen, hut the courts have enlightened

school officials that such was not really the case and that

students were entitled to their rights andi freedoms,

In 1973 Steinhilber reported that handicapped children

and children who did not speak English might have had their

rights violated if their educational needs had not been

served. Steinhilber made the following statement concern-

ing this issue:

Out there in some of the courtrooms of this country
a wave of legal decisions is quietly building momen-
tum and setting precedents that, say some observers,
may cause as big a splash in public education as have
court decisions involving integration and school
finance. Currently just a ripple that virtually has
gone unnoticed, this new potential legal tidal wave
is made of cases that seek to protect tha rights of
handicapped children and of non-English-speaking
children. (p. 55)

In light of judicial decisions relative to due process,

not only students but also teachers arc the subject of due

process. The burden of proof rests on the school board to

show the teacher is insubordinate, immoral, incompetent,

neglectful of his or her duty, or otherwise a failure. Nolte

(1972, p. 22) observed that many school boards have been

embarrassed when they tried to dismiss a teacher. Their










chagrin resulted from the fact that their evidence against

the instructor did not hold up in court.

Policies of school boards regarding maternity leave

have also been legal issues in several court cases. French

(1973, pp. 30-31) stated that no court was likely to inter-

fere with a school board's responsibility to enforce a

maternity leave policy if the board could prove that it had

sound, compelling, educational reasons for setting the

policy. French also stated that establishing those reasons

was the problem. He concluded that if there was a regula-

tion established by the school board concerning maternity

leave for teachers, then there should be valid reasons for

the regulation, otherwise it would be held unconstitutional.

Tollett and Tollett (1974, pp. 29-32) investigated the

legal issues involved in the use of teacher aides. They

discovered that only 23 states had any laws on the legal

status of teacher aides and paraprofessionals. This vacuum

of laws was an invitation to serious legal problems accord-

ing to these authors. They suggested that guidelines be

established governing the use of teacher aides and their

duties. The main concern centered around who was liable

when damage or injury situations occurred in the schools.

In the January 1974 issue of the American School Board

Journal, Nolte offered the following advice:

As for the future, this much is clear: No longer
can the administrator and school board act as their
own lawyer. Advice to school districts: Locate and










put on your team that missing clement, the school
board attorney. A school board member I know opined
to me recently that his school district's attorney is,
to him at least, the best "sleep insurance" on the
market. (p. 51)

As to the liability of school disLricts, Kuntz (1973)

stated the following:

Setting the mood on a dollar-and-cents note, you
should be aware that in many litigation cases con-
cerning public school districts, the potential lia-
bility of a district far exceeds its multimillion
dollar budget. Let it sink in: Potential liability
of a district far exceeds its multimillion dollar
budget. All the more reason why the board should
establish criteria for assessing the performance of
the lawyer retained to represent the district in a
lawsuit. (p. 35)

Edwards (1971, pp. 159-160) reported that many states

had statutes specifically authorizing school boards to employ

attorneys, but even in the absence of a statutory grant of

such authority, a board could as a general rule employ

counsel to represent the school district whenever its legal

rights and interests were involved. Power to employ coun-

sel was implied from the power to own property, to sue and

be sued, and to enter into and enforce contractual obliga-

tions. In the case of Arrlington v. Jones (1917) the court

expressed the rule as follows:

There is no authority expressly given to trustees to
employ an attorney to bring a suit in behalf of
trustees against a teacher to cancel a teaching con-
tract. But, having the power, as trustees have by
the terms of the statue, to contract and to sue and be
sued in the courts, the authority on the part of
trustees to employ an attorney to institute and prose-
cute an action in their behalf would exist as a neces-
sary incident of the powers to contract and to sue










and to manage and control the affairs and interests of
the public school.

In 1973, Shannon made the following observation:

There are three principal] ways in which a school at-
torney works with the school administrator. They
are: (1) as an advisor on the law; (2) as a counselor
on governance of the schools; (3) as the attorney in
charge of litigation in which the school district is
a plaintiff or defendant. . One of those persons
serving the schools today whose significance to the
educational effort has expanded dramatically during
the past decade is the school attorney. The old
functions of the school attorney involving lawsuits,
business contracts, claims for money damages against
the schools, condemnation and school bond and tax
elections are still being performed by him, though
many of these functions have broadened in scope be-
cause of the litigious era in which we live. But
more importantly, a whole new vista has opened in the
operation of the public schools today that demands a
special approach by the school administrator which
can successfully be made only with the advice and
counsel of the schools' attorney. This new dimension
was created during the 1950's and is daily being en-
larged by the courts and the legislatures throughout
the nation. (pp. 22-23)

In a paper presented to the National School Boards

Association, Stover (1969) made the following statement:

Issues relating to individual rights of pupils in
the classroom or in the school, such as haircuts,
dress, suspensions, religious observances, flag salute,
the wearing of insignias, demonstrations, the under-
ground press, and others are being contested by in-
dividuals and organizations. Principals and super-
intendents need constant legal advice for the develop-
ment and implementation of such regulations which
jointly sustain individual rights and the welfare of
the school without a great amount of risk for litiga-
tion. (p. 14)

Stover went on to say that questions involving student

justice, punishment, discipline, suspensions, explosions;

fraternity membership of pupils, status of married pupils;

after-school-hour regulations, use of automobiles, lunch











time procedures; compulsory attendance, right to attend

school; liability of school district, school board members,

and teachers for student damages; and transportation and

curriculum problems as related to students were areas which

were subject to legal challenge (p. 17).

Theoretical Propositions

As can be seen from the literature, there were many

complex legal problems in the administration of local public

schools at the time of this research report. The research

that had been done previously examined conditions as they

existed. The purpose of this research has been to move be-

yond the state of "what is" to perceptions of "what should

be" and to develop a theoretical design for the provision

of legal services to local school districts. As was pointed

out previously, proper legal counsel could save a school

district many thousands of dollars that otherwise might be

lost in court suits and litigations. The loss or saving of

this money could have a direct effect on the quality of

education that the student in such a district received.

The following theoretical propositions, based on the

literature, were developed by the writer relative to pro-

viding legal services to local school districts.

Proposition 1: Each local school district
must have the services of legsl counsel

The empirical studies of legal services to school

boards, the massive amount of litigation involving the










administration of schools, and the literature support the

need for providing legal services of quality for school dis-

tricts. Within the past years the districts have been af-

fected by many precedent-setting court cases. As pointed

out previously, Kuntz (1973, p. 35) observed that the poten-

tial liability of boards of education exceeds their budgets in

any one year. Moreover, ill-advised board actions may re-

sult in very costly litigation and expenditure of money

which could be used in educating children.

Proposition 2: School districts must have equal access to
legal services without regard to their wealth, size, or
geographic location.

Some of the research indicates that small rural school

districts may not have appropriate legal counsel. The

dramatic increase in litigation and the passage of complex

laws governing the administration of schools demand that

all boards of education have adequate legal services. The

complexity of statutes, laws, and case law will touch all

boards regardless of size or the nature of the community.

Ill-advised actions of boards of small districts can in-

volve the expenditure of thousands of dollars which these

districts need for the educational program.

Proposition 3: The state attorney general cannot be
considered as a continuing source of legal counsel
for local school districts.

The information extracted from the review of the litera-

ture indicates that the role of the state attorney general

in providing legal counsel is restricted to legal opinions.










Since the attorney general's office services many other

agencies in the state, it cannot be considered an effective

and continujiJ g source of legal counsel for school districts.

Proosition 41: The state department of education must
consistently prcwvi de legal assistance to local school
district and act as a coordinator of special legal
services thnt .i.y be requi red by these school districts.

Since public education has been identified as a function

of the states, it then follows that the means must be pro-

vided by the state for each local school district to have

access to legal services. There is little evidence in the

literature and research that indicates that state departments

of education are actively engaged in assisting the local

school districts in the area of legal services. The in-

creasing complexity of laws and statutes has generated the

need for a legal specialist in certain areas of the law. It

would be unreasonable to think that all school districts

could, in and of themselves, maintain the availability of

these legal specialists.

Proposition 5: The local school board attorney must
be the most available source of legal counsel for the
local school district.

The past experiences of school districts, as reported

in the literature, show that it is unwise to operate without

the assistance of legal counsel. Several writers of the

literature reviewed have recommended the employment of an

attorney to advise school officials on the operations of

public schools. Such an attorney should be available to

school officials when needed.










Proposition 6: The conditions of employment for attorneys
utilized byl local school districts must be standardized
among the school districts.

Several of the research studies indicated that the con-

ditions of employment of attorneys utilized by school dis-

tricts varied greatly from district to district. In order

to reduce these differences, the terms and conditions of

employment should be standardized. Such a standardization

would avoid excesses, and the school officials in the dis-

trict would know what to expect for their expenditures for

legal services.

Proposition 7: Policies must be established by the local
school board concerning the role and functions of the
school board attorney.

Clearly stated policies need to be established by the

local school boand concerning the operations of the school

board attorney and the limits of his authority. These

policies should specify his role during policy-making activi-

ties and from whom he receives his direction and to whom he

reports. The position of the school board attorney in the

organization of the school district should be clearly identi-

fied to avoid any potential conflicts with the school dis-

trict administrative staff.

Proposition 8: Attorneys retained by local school boards
must have special training in school law.

It is difficult to determine when legal counsel will

be needed to handle a complex legal issue. Consequently,

school districts should not be forced to jeopardize the










educational opportunities of children by retaining attorneys

who have had no previous experience or training in school

law. The body of law concerning the operations of public

schools is complex and increasing in volume because of the

many changes being effected by courts and legislative bodies.

The literature has pointed out many of these issues and

problem areas, and the researchers have indicated the de-

sirability of having previously trained attorneys to repre-

sent the interests of the school district.

Proposition 9: Student and personnel problcirem form a
large area for which special legl services must be
provided to the school board and administrative staff
on a continuing basis.

There has been an increased emphasis on preserving and

maintaining the rights of both students and employees.

Many issues have arisen, as noted in the literature, that

affect the manner in which schools are administered. The

courts have made it clear that students do not shed their

rights as they enter the public schools and that pre-

cautions must be taken to insure those rights. Legislative

bodies have enacted laws that allow employees to bargain

collectively with local school boards, and these employees

have become more militant in their approaches to these

boards of education. The teachers' unions bring with them

not only their local members but trained experts, and these

unions receive assistance from other groups outside of the

local school districts.










Summary

In this chapter, the writer has reviewed available

research and related literature concerning many legal aspects

of public school administration. The research studies have

indicated the need for legal services for local school dis-

tricts. The court cases and other literature have shown

the wide variety of issues confronting public school offi-

cials in the daily operations of schools.

The data from the literature indicated a growing realm

of complex legal questions confronting local school dis-

tricts. Research concerning the school attorney revealed

the expanding role of this resource individual and the vital

part that he played in the administration of public schools.

The data further described the limited function of the state

attorneys general as legal advisors to local school offi-

cials. State departments of education have not delivered

the legal assistance needed by local school districts. These

limited resources of legal assistance, state attorneys

general and state departments of education, emphasized the

essential nature of the local school attorney. The courts

and legislative bodies, through their decisions and enact-

ments, influenced the composition and procedures of the

educational process. One of the most contested areas in

education was that of human rights. These rights included

not only those of school district employees but the rights

of students as well.






54



Drawing from the review of the research and the related

literature, the writer developed and discussed nine theoreti-

cal propositions concerning the provision of legal services

to local school districts.
















CAPI/TER III

PRPESE'rAT] OI F0 THE'; RESPONSES MADE TO THE
r~ J ..OijNATE BY THE STUDY PARTICIPANTS


As stated in Chapter T, one aspect of the problem in

this study was to determine the legal services needed by

local school districts and the means of providing such ser-

vices as perceived by selected school board attorneys,

school board chairmen, and school superintendents. All

school districts in Florida were included. The purpose of

this chapter is to present, group, and illustrate the data

obtained from the responses made by the study participants.

Analysis of the School Board Attorneys'
Responses to the Questionnaire

The school board attorney in each school district was

asked to respond to the questionnaire in light of his ex-

periences and perceptions of the needs and requirements of

local school districts in Florida relative to legal ser-

vices. Each was presented with the following five questions:

1. In your opinion what legal services are needed by

local school districts?

2. What are some of the legal services that you think

a school board attorney should provide?

3. Under what circumstances, if any, do you think

that an attorney other than the school board










attorney should be retained by the local school

district?

4. In your opinion what should be the terms and con-

ditions of employment of attorneys retained by

local school districts?

5. Based upon your experience what do you think

should be the qualifications of attorneys retained

by local school districts?

In this section of the research report their responses

are analyzed and discussed.

The answers supplied by the school board attorneys are

reflected in tables. Their reactions and comments are pre-

sented with the most frequently mentioned areas listed

first. However, the writer felt that it was important to

note that one of the primary purposes of this research was

to investigate developing trends and needs in the area of

legal services for local school districts. Consequently,

single responses were considered as well as those most fre-

quently reported by the study participants, because single

responses might indicate developments for future considera-

tion.

Legal Services Needed By Local School Districts

As can be seen in Table 5, there was a wide variety of

reactions by school board attorneys to the question con-

cerning legal services needed by local school districts in

the state of Florida. A total of 19 general areas were












TABLE 5

Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses Relative
to the Legal Services Needed by
Local School Districts


Number of Responses
L --
Within Total for
Areas of Service Needed Areas Areas


General services 43

Formulating policy, rules and regulations under
the Administrative Procedures Act or
applicable state law 18
Legal opinions concerning any rule, regulation,
statute, or policy 12
Review proposed policies 7
Legal advice at board actions 5
Review all board actions 1

Student and personnel matters 43

Student discipline problems 8
During expulsion of students 7
Advise administrators, principal, and teachers
of their rights 7
Legal services needed during teacher dismissal
proceedings 6
Protection of students' rights during procedures
for suspension and expulsions 5
Civil rights matters 3
Due process 2
Termination of district employees 2
Instructional personnel tenure 2
Teacher retirement 1

Collective bargaining and negotiations 33

Collective bargaining areas 28
Review and approve the master contract 2
Advise during negotiations 2
Arbitration and mediation procedures 1

Finances 24

Public school financing, taxation, and budget
preparation 17
Bonds and borrowing money 7











TABLE 5-- (continued)


Number of Responses
Within Total for
Areas Areas


Areas of Service Needed


Litigation 20

Oversee contractual activities 20

Purchases and sales of property 13

Purchases and sales of real property 12
Purchasing 1

Liability and iimmunity 11

Tort actions and liability 9
Sovereign immunity matters 2

New legislation and statutes 4

Services for large corporation 4

Insurance 3

Facilities 2
Physical grounds and facilities 1
Sanitation and sewage regulations 1

Services should be tailor-made for the particular
political entity 2

Unable to answer 2

Too new to answer 1
Unable to respond 1

Public documents law 1

Accreditation 1

Liaison among legal specialists 1

Child custody problems 1

Parliamentary procedure 1

Total 229










identified among the 229 comments, with many sub-areas in-

cluded so that the reader may have a broad exposure to the

perceptions of the study participants.

The area of services that received the most responses

was related to the legal nature of the actions of the school

board. There was a total of 43 comments made concerning the

need for school districts to have legal counsel in order to

act in accordance with regulations and statutes. The area

most frequently mentioned by the school board attorneys was

the formulation of policies, rules, and regulations to com-

ply with the Administrative Procedures Act enacted by the

Florida Legislature in 1974. This act provided for compre-

hensive public listing of all rules and regulations by all

agencies of state government. All changes of policy and

procedure had to be advertised in the local press and public

hearings had to be held before the changes were instituted.

It was designed to protect the consumer of governmental

services from arbitrary actions of government officials.

Other legal services cited by attorneys in the general

services area were: legal opinions concerning any rule,

regulation, statute, or policy; review of proposed policies;

legal advice at board meetings; and review of all board

actions.

Receiving an equal number of responses (43) as general

services was the area dealing with student and personnel

matters. Of these, student discipline received 8 comments










and when these comments are considered with expulsions and

suspensions of students, the total rises to 20. The balance

of the comments dealt with processes and procedures for

school district employees. The need for legal services when

dealing with suspension, expulsion, or dismissal of indi-

viduals dominated the comments in this area.

The area of collective bargaining and negotiations was

the basis of 33 comments by attorneys. The school board

attorneys felt that negotiations with school district

employees would require legal services for the school dis-

trict. Table 5 lists some of the points where legal counsel

would be helpful, such as reviewing contracts, advising

during negotiations, and developing procedures to be

followed during the bargaining process. One school board

attorney reported that he spent about 40 percent of his

time in dealing with issues that arose in collective bar-

gaining.

Financing the school district's operations was also

listed frequently as an area in which legal services were

often needed. Specific comments (24) were made relative to

taxation, budget preparation, bonds, and loans.

Litigation and contracts were next in the listing, with

each receiving 20 comments. These were followed by pur-

chases and sales of property (13) and liability and immunity

concerns (11). Such areas in the opinion of some of the

attorneys would require legal services, especially litiga-

tion and contracts.










At the time of this research study, the Florida Legis-

lature was meeting annually. Consequently, new legislation

was enacted annually. Four attorneys indicated that legal

counsel was needed in order to advise the local school dis-

tricts of any new regulations, responsibilities, and/or

mandates that might have been established by the legisla-

ture.

Four attorneys simply answered that a school district

needed the same services that any large corporation would

need. Apparently they drew a parallel between the opera-

tions of the school district and those of a large corpora-

tion.

Other areas mentioned were insurance (3), facilities

(2), tailor-made services (2), public documents (1),

accreditation (1), liaison among legal specialists (1),

child custody problems (1), and parliamentary procedures

(1).

In summary, legal services were thought to be needed

in many areas. The data revealed the following:

1. General legal counsel was advised for the school

district when the school board was in session to

insure that its actions were in harmony with pre-

vailing regulations and statutes.

2. Student and personnel problems were designated as

an area of concern that would require legal counsel

in order to safeguard the rights of individuals.










3. The advent of collective bargaining for public

employees in Florida in 1974 developed an area in

which legal expertise was reported as needed in

order to represent the interests of the school

board and administration.

4. Legal counsel was frequently needed in the finan-

cial operations of the school district.

5. The loss of sovereign immunity for school districts

by a 1974 enactment of the Florida Legislature

created a need for legal counsel.

6. There was a need for coordination among the various

legal specialists that were employed by local

school districts.

7. Legal services should fit the specific and indi-

vidual needs of the particular school district.

Services a School Board Attorney Should Provide

If all of the services identified by the attorneys are

to be provided, an important question arises concerning who

should provide such services and under what circumstances.

One is immediately impressed with the thought that providing

such a large number of services may go well beyond what

traditionally has been expected of the school board attorney.

Table 6 shows the replies made by school board attor-

neys to the second question of the questionnaire relative to

the services that a school board attorney should provide.






63




TABLE G

Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses Relative
to the Services Thait School Board Attorneys
Should Provide


Number of Responses
Within Total for
Areas of Service Areas Areas


Collective bargaining and nc ':t-- eion 40

Advise on collective bIargaijn n proceedings 34
Be a member of collective bargaining team 4
Review proposed master contracts 2

Genera] counsel 36

General couns-el 12
Advise on policy 9
Provide counsel to district staff day to day 7
Provide counsel on issues when asked by board or
superintendent 5
Provide all legal services for a large corporate
client 2
Provide counsel when requested 1

Attendance at meetings 29

Attend all board meetings 22
Attend monthly board meetings held for business
matters 4
Monitor board meetings foe law violations 2
Be present at staff meetings if needed 1

Contracts 27
Review and prepare contracts 27

Student and personnel matters 18

Counsel on student discipline 6
Advise on teacher dismissals 5
Advise on employee dismissal
Advise on all he1crjngs, expulsions, and suspensions
Attend grievance hearings at the board level

Represent the board in all litigation .3

Finances 11
Counsel on questions of taxation 7
Counsel on budget preparation 3
Review vouchers payment sheets 1






64




TABLE 6-- (continued)


Number of Responses
Within Total for
Areas of S-. vice Areas Areas


Laws and r( -Y ult I,.- i 10

Counsel 0: la,,:, ctctut"s, regulations, etc. 5
Brief thin board'l c;, new ]a,;s and changes made
by each lcgisl,tive session 3
Draft proposed j isolationn 1
Repre:een the bo:6rd before tie legislative
delegation on inactmcnts or changes of law 1

Property it.:Ltc:rs 9

Advise on p'opc:ty transactions 7
Real estate matte-rs 2

Associate with olthr speci.al]ied counsel when needed 6

Advise under the rulFs of the Administrative
Procceiuref A,.t 6

Review school board actions 5

Review and I.r-e;.ir resolutions 3

He should be kept i.nfrrmind by the board and the
super ntofinL 2

The school boar-d attorney should follow the guidelines
established by the stat-tes and case law 2

Provide co.n::e] on ,ork:,eni's compensation and
insurance 1

The school board attorney should be available 1

Cannot responrd becase of my position as the school board
attor ney 1

I am still lear'nine my o. 1


Total










The category of collective bargaining and negotiations

was mentioned most often by these participants (40) as an

area in which the local, school board attorney should be in-

volved. Of the 40 comments made in this area, 34 indicated

that the school board attorney should advise on the nego-

tiations process. Two other attorneys wrote that the

school board attorney should have the responsibility of re-

viewing the negotiated contracts to insure their legality

and effect on the operations of the school district.

Fifteen responses were made that indicated that the school

board attorney should not be on the bargaining team repre-

senting the school district. The concept expressed was

that the attorney would lose his position as an advisor and

counselor to the school board in the event of litigation or

the need for interpretation of the resulting contract. In

other words, by having been part of the negotiating team

that helped to develop the contract, he would have become

prejudiced as to its content. This bias, then, would in-

fluence his counsel to the board. Four school board

attorneys felt that participation on the negotiations team

would be advisable. Their feeling was that his presence

would strengthen the position of the administration and

would provide legal input into the formation of contractual

agreements between the negotiating parties.

The area of general counsel accounted for 36 of the 221

comments made in response to this question by the school










board attorneys. General statements concerning counsel were

made by 12 attorneys. Nine atLorncys cited advice on policy

as a service that the school board attorney should provide.

Greater involvement in the day-to-day operations was indi-

cated by some of the attorneys. Others in this group re-

stricted their statements to a condition that attorneys be

asked prior to becoming involved in the operations of the

schools. Two attorneys drew a parallel between the legal

services required by large corporations and those required

by the school district.

The attendance of the school board attorney at school

board meetings received a total of 29 comments. A majority

of those making these comments (22) felt that he should

attend all meetings of the school board to provide counsel

and to advise concerning legal questions that might present

themselves to the board. This area, when combined with the

areas listed in Table 6 of general counsel and review of.

school board actions, provided a broader view of the in-

volvement of the school board attorney in the operations of

the school district. Such involvement, according to one

respondent, made him a non-voting member of the board. An-

other indicated that the school board attorney, if he had a

personal bias, could influence policy as a result of the

legal opinions that he rendered concerning the policy. How-

ever, eight respondents stated that the school board attor-

ney should give counsel only when asked and that he should










refrain from influencing board actions and policies, since

this would be a breach of professional ethics unless there

was an illegal aspect of the action or policy.

Although it is not expressed in Table 6, one attorney

made a suggestion relative to easing the work load of the

school board attorney. He stated that because of the in-

creased complexity of school district operations, he could

devote himself full time to dealing with the issues and

problems connected with the school. To avoid this he

suggested that each superintendent appoint a staff member

to be a specialist in rules, regulations, and laws relative

to school district operations, thus reducing the amount of

time the school board attorney would have to spend answering

inquiries from the district staff and school board members.

The school board attorney should review and prepare the

contracts that are entered into by the school board,

according to 27 of the replies made to this question. Some

of the attorneys clarified their statements by indicating

that some contracts that are routine in nature would not

need a review if the practice was standardized and his-

torical in nature.

The category of student and personnel matters was

cited by 18 attorneys as an area of service to be provided

by the school board attorney. He would act as counselor to

the board in these matters and in some cases as the hearing

examiner. His presence was needed to keep the board advised










of its legal responsibility to the employee or student and

to insure the rights of the individual.

The school board attorney should represent the in-

terest of the school board in all situations that develop

into litigation, according to 13 of the attorneys. The

other attorneys did not specifically mention litigation as

a distinct area, and their comments were spread over other

areas of service.

Another sphere in which the school board attorney could

serve was noted by some respondents as being in the prepara-

tion of legislation and in representing the school district

before the local legislative delegation when issues in the

state legislature might arise affecting the district. They

also felt that the school board attorney should brief the

school board and district staff on changes effected by the

legislature that would influence the policies and opera-

tions of the school district.

Comments were made by the attorneys about some things

that the school board attorney should not do. He should

not be on the collective bargaining team (15), advise on

the interpretations of a negotiated contract if he is a

member of the negotiating team (1), make policy by legal

opinions (1), inject his personal viewpoint into an issue

(1), or influence board actions except where a legal con-

flict might have existed.










As evidenced by the listings in Table 6, the services

that a school board attorney should provide covered a

variety of areas. In review, the data indicated the

following:

1. The six areas receiving the most coimmnts included

collective bargaining, general counsel., attendance

at school board meetings, contracts, student and

personnel matters, and litigation.

2. The services required of a school board attorney

were needed, it was noted, in nearly every aspect

of school district operations. Consequently, his

role and influence would be widespread; he would

have opportunities to mingle personal bias with

legal opinion.

3. Because of this wide range of services that a

school board attorney might be called upon to pro-

vide, one respondent suggested that several dis-

tricts, otherwise unable financially to do so, band

together and retain a legal firm to provide these

services on a more specialized basis, rather than

depend upon a single individual to do it all.

4. One attorney suggested that a staff member be

given the task of being a specialist on rules,

regulations, and school law.










IeL;in .ng Attorneys Other Than
their School Board Attorney

In reviewing Table 7 there apparently were many condi-

tions that could have required the employment of an attorney

other than the school board attorney. This table reflects

the responses made by school board attorneys, based upon

their experience and perceptions, to the question: Under

what circumstances, if any, do you think that an attorney

other than the school board attorney should be retained by

the local school district?

The condition that received the most comments was

student and personnel matters. A total of 24 comments were

tallied in this area. The sub-area that was noted most fre-

quently w;as teacher termination (7), which was followed

closely by employee dismissal (6). In view of numerous

court cases and legislation concerning student rights and

due process, affirmative action plans, and other legal en-

tanglements in this area, one is not surprised to find this

sub-area heading the responses of attorneys to the question.

There is a growth of opinion that the traditional arrange-

ments for a school board attorney does not meet the legal

needs of school systems today or in the future.

The reason expressed for retaining another attorney

under these conditions was so that he, rather than the

school board attorney, could prosecute the case. During

these proceedings the school board attorney acted as

the legal advisor to the school board or as the hearing











TABLE 7

Frequency of Responses of School Board Attorneys Relative
to the Need for 7\ttorneys Other Than
the School Board Attorney


Number ot Responses
Within Total for
Conditions Areas Areas


Student and personnel matters 24

During teacher termanation, school board attorn,?y
should advise school board 7
Employees dismiissal 6
During student suspension n or expulsion proceedings 4
During school board conflicts with employees 3
During discipline cases when school bchrrd
attorney advises the school board 2
During conflicts between school board attorney
and district employees 1
During staff suspensions or dismissalE. 1

Special expertise needed 16

When services are needed in an area outside of the
competence of the school hoard attorney 12
When a specialist is needed 4

Conflicts 15

When superintendent is in conflict with the
school board 12
During conflicts between the superintendent and
staff 1
School board attorney should disqualify himself
during conflict between the school board and
the superintendent 1
When conflict arises between school board members 1

When school board attorney has a conflict of interest 13

Collective bargaining 12

During collective bargaining negotiations 6
A labor attorney is needed during collective
bargaining negotiations 5
During collective bargaining with teachers, labor
law expertise is needed 1












TABLE 7--(continued)


Number of Responses
Within Total for
Areas Areas


Conditions


Federal and state actions

During federal proceedings
School board attorney should be able to handle
federal cases
when involved in state suits
When a suit is in federal court if it is lengthy

When advised by the school board attorney

Unable to respond

During tort actions

School board attorney should work with firms retained
by insurers

When involved with Securities and Exchange Commission

Bond counsel during bonding procedures

When involved with Internal Revenue Service

When the school board members decide they need it


Total lOG


Total


10


106











examiner. Under these circumstances the school board

acted as a jury, and then the school board attorney acted

as a judge. Consequently another attorney would be needed

to prosecute, since the school board attorney could not

function in both capacities of judge or legal referee and

of prosecutor.

Table 7 shows that the next condition most frequently

noted occurred when a certain expertise was needed which

existed outside of the competence of the school board

attorney, or when conditions dictated that a specialist

was needed. These conditions received 16 comments. One

respondent expressed the opinion that there was an increased

need for legal specialists and that school districts should

cooperate in some manner so as to be able to share the costs

of having these specialists available in specific areas.

Conflicts between parties within the school district

provided a set of conditions that justified the employment

of additional legal assistance. Fifteen of the respon-

dents to the questionnaire felt that the school board attor-

ney could not represent opposing parties. When faced with

this type of situation, he would have to either disqualify

himself or represent the interests of the school board. In

instances of conflict between the superintendent and the

school board, it was recommended that the school board

attorney disqualify himself from involvement in the situa-

tion, since he usually served both the needs of the board










and the sripcrintendent. However, if an attorney was employed

on a conti.[uing basis for the superintendent, then the school

board attoncy could represent the board. Under other cir-

cumsltnc.;:- the sa6me procedure for other student and per-

sonnel he:-rings would apply when the school board attorney

acted a.s 1cgal advisor to the board. If a situation arises

where th' school board attorney has a conflict of interest,

13 resp'.:nde:nts indicated that another attorney should be

retained to deal with that situation. One school board

attorney Ksid that professional ethics ought to apply in

such situ.a ;:tions.

Table 7 shows the concern expressed by this group of

study pai icipants for the need of expertise in the area of

collective bargaining. Of those responding, 12 comments

were concerning this specialty. As can be seen, they felt

that labor law experts were needed to help with the bar-

gaining process.

Those mentioning federal actions were evenly divided

on the issue. Four stated that another attorney should be

employed who could handle such proceedings. The rest said

that the school board attorney should be able to deal with

federal proceedings without the board hiring another

attorney.

In review, the data indicated the following:

1. Student and personnel matters dominate, the

comments noted, conditions that could dictate the

employment of an attorney other than the school










board attorney. The action would be precipitated

by the need for the school board attorney to act

as the legal advisor to the board in such pro-

ceedings. This area and that of conflicts between

parties within the structure of the school district

accounted for 49 of the 106 comments made con-

cerning this question.

2. Expertise needed and when advised by the school

board attorney were areas that received a com-

bined total of 24 comments as conditions under

which additional legal assistance should be sought.

3. The situation in which the school board attorney

had a conflict of interest that would prevent him

from representing the school board without bias was

indicated as cause for using other legal counsel.

4. Collective bargaining received the next largest

number of comments (12) after the situation in

which the school board attorney had a conflict of

interest (13). Collective bargaining had been

made available to public employees on a state-wide

basis at the beginning of 1975, and these responses

indicated the need to bring in experts in negotia-

tions and labor law to represent the interest of

the school board and administration.

5. Role to be played, expertise, and conflicts formed

the core of reasons why it would be necessary to










employ legal counsel in addition to the school

board attorney.

Conditions of Employment Between School
Districts and Attorneys

The responses to Question 4 of the questionnaire, as

presented in Table 8, indicated a variety of conditions of

employment for these attorneys retained by local school

districts. This question read as follows: In your opinion

what should be the terms and conditions of employment of

attorneys retained by local school districts? A total of

64 comments were made by the school board attorneys re-

sponding (39). These were catalogued and placed into groups

of similar responses.

As Table 8 shows, the most frequent responses to this

question involved formal contracts for the services. Of

those school board attorneys responding, 11 mentioned that

there should be a formal agreement between the school dis-

trict and the attorney. Four attorneys stated that a for-

mal contract or agreement was not necessary, as can be seen

when the third and the last comments in this area are com-

bined. Those favoring contracts indicated that the con-

tract should contain a listing of services to be provided

and tne manner of remuneration for these services.

One attorney said that by having a contract with the

school district, he was able to secure for himself the bene-

fits offered to other school district employees with the

exception of retirement.











TABLE 8

Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses Concerning
the Conditions of Employment Needed Between
School Districts and Attorneys


Number of Responses
Within Total for
Conditions Areas Areas


Formal contracts 15

Formal contracts listing duties and basis of
remuneration 3
Formal contract with retainer delineating
functions 3
No formal contract 3
Formal contract for basic services plus hourly
schedule 2
Formal contract with monthly salary and pro-
visions for extra work 1
Negotiated agreements that are mutually accep-
table 1
Negotiated contracts for services 1
Formal contract not necessary, just general
statements 1

Retainer plus hourly schedule 11

Full-time attorney and district size 10
Full-time attorney if size warrants 4
Depends on district and services required 3
Legal services should be tailor-made for
district 1
Full-time in-house attorney should not he
hired 1
Full-time attorney on salary basis 1

Retainer plus fee 9

Annual retainer plus negotiated fees 3
Retainer plus fees 2
Monthly retainer and fees for extra services 2
Retainer plus litigation fees 2

Hourly rate 5

Hourly basis unless full time 2
Combination of hourly schedule and success
and risks 1
Hourly rate 1
Hourly schedule with a different rate for
litigation 1







78




TABLE 8--(continued)



Number of Responses
Within Total for
Condi t .ions Areas Areas


Repre~senta icn oFo ,Lhor agencies or interests 5

Permisii. le to represent other agencies 2
Attorney'; ishoild not represent clients whose
inLteists would be adverse to those of
the school board 2
Attorneys should not be employed who represent
other governmental agencies which may con-
flict with the school board 1

Reta n-or 2

Retainer only 1
Retainer for gcr'eral services to school board
and superintendent 1

Retainer plus biling_ for work in court and for
non-adviso-ry activitico 2

No response 2

Expenses ;incrred should be reimbursed 1

Serve at pl.!asur-e of the school board or fixed term 1

The school board attorney should serve both the
school board and the superintendent 1


Total


___~










The next most frequently mentioned condition of em-

ployment was the provision for a retainer for basic advisory

services and an hourly schedule for other activities (11).

The retainer would be on an annual or monthly basis, and

the hourly schedule would have a dollar figure. The sug-

gested hourly rate ranged from $25 per hour to $50 per

hour. The amount of the retainer was seldom mentioned, and

in the three instances where it was discussed, the smallest

amount: was $50 per month and the largest was $200 per month.

There were indications in several of the responses that the

amount of the retainer ought Lo be based on the number of

hours anticipated to be spent in the advisory capacity

during a specified time period, such as a month, and that

number of hours multiplied by an hourly rate would result

in a figure suitable to be used as a retainer.

Other methods of remuneration noted in Table 8 are

retainer plus fees (9), hourly rate (5), retainer (2), re-

tainer plus billing for services (2), and reimbursement of

expenses (1).

The employment of a full-time attorney or of an in-

house attorney drew 10 comments from these study partici-

pants. Five of them suggested that if size and complexity

of the particular school district warranted, then an attor-

ney should be retained on a full-time basis and paid a

salary. They cited the increased complexity of school dis-

trict operations and the increased need for legal counsel










as justification for their recommendations. However, a

school board attorney from one of the largest school dis-

tricts responded in the negative to such an arrangement. He

reasoned that a legal counselor should not be wholly de-

pendent upon the entity he counsels for his financial income.

Such an arrangement, he contended, would be vulnerable to

prejudice generated by an emnployer-employee situation. He

felt that such vulnerability would not be conducive to the

counselor-client relationship that ought to exist between

the school district and the attorney.

A condition of employment mentioned by five school

board attorneys was that of representing other entities

whose interests could be adverse to those of the school

district. Of these, two stated that it would be permissible

to represent other agencies, but three indicated that such

a condition would not be advisable. The reason given by

those approving such situations was that the attorney could

disqualify himself should a conflict of interest arise. As

for those disapproving, their comments were directed towards

the need for the attorney to represent the interests of the

school district without bias.

In summary, the 39 school board attorneys responding to

this question relative to conditions of employment for

attorneys retained by local school districts in Florida made

the following points:

1. Eleven school board attorneys stated that a formal

contract should be developed listing the services











to be performed and the basis of rcimunrtaLion for

such services. The remain nd( of the attorneys

described several ways of establishing the condi-

tions of employment.

2. A retainer plus an hourly schedule was tlie most

frequently noted method of rcemuneri Lion tfor ser-

vices rendered. The basis of these other methods

in the final analysis was an hourly schedule, since

the retainer was based on an estimiiation of time

spent advising the board and staff on school

operations.

3. The school board attorneys who menLioned a full-

time attorney for school districts indicaLed that

size and complexity of the district werie factors

that might engender such an action. In this re-

gard, one respondent did not recommend a full-time

attorney, because of the detrimental effect that

such an arrangement might have on the counselor-

client relationship.


Qualifications of Attorneys Retained

Table 9 shows a listing of the comments made by the

school board attorneys responding to the question regarding

the qualifications of attorneys retained by the local school

district. There were 96 comments catalogued in 10 groups

of similar responses.












TABLE 9

Frequency of School Board Attorney Responses Relative
to the Qualifications Desired of Attorneys
Retained by the School Districts


Number of Responses
Within Total for
Qualifications Areas Areas


Formal oquli.fications and experience 29

At least 5 years of experience 8
A genera] prl.ctitioner 6
Member of Floirlda bar 4
A competent lawyer 4
A few years of experience 2
Litigation experience 1
At least 7 years of experience practicing law 1
Trial and appellate experience 1
A competent civil attorney 1
The ability to deliver full service personally
or by association 1

Personal attributes 23

A good reputation in the community 5
Willing to study, learn, and work 4
Should have children in the school system 3
Interest in school law and the desire to work 2
Ability to work with the school board team 2
Candidness with the school board about law and
issues 2
Patience with school administrators 1
Familiar with the local governmental situations 1
Availability and dependability 1
A good attitude and able to work with public
bodies 1
Sense enough to ask for help when needed 1

Special training 11

Knowledge of school law 4
Special training in school law 2
Law school courses in labor law, administrative
law, legal accounting, corporations, and
school law 2
Courses in school law in law school 1
Training in labor law 1
Training in collective bargaining 1







83




TABLE 9-- (coni -ud)


Number of Responses
Within Total for
Qualifications Areas Areas


No special training needed 10

No special qualifications needed 5
No prior particular training needed 2
Special training in school law is not needed 2
Specialized training could limit the school
board attorney 1

Prior experience with school operations 9

Prior experience is desirable but scarce 7
Prior experience with school operations 1
Experience with the Florida school code 1

Attendance at seminars 6

Attend seminars to stay updated 2
Attendance at Florida School Board Attornoys
Association meetings and seminars 2
Required to attend seminars of the Florida
School Board Association and the Florida
School Board Attorneys Association 2

Requirements vary 4

Requirements vary from district to district 2
Depends on local conditions and situations 2

Jack-of-all trades 2

Unable to respond 1

I'm still learning my job 1


Total










Formlqu qual ificatiuns and experience was the group

that received the largest number of comments (29). It was

followed by personnel attributes (23), special training

(11), no special training needed (10), prior experience with

school operations (9), attendance at seminars (6), re-

quirements vary (4), jack-of-all-trades (2), unable to

respond (1) and I'm still learning my job (1).

Of those responses catalogued in the formal qualifi-

cations and experience group, eight thought that an attor-

ney retained by the school district should have a minimum

of five years of experience. Another listed seven years as

a minimum. Others felt that being a general practitioner

or a member of the Florida bar was sufficient as far as

formal qualifications wore concerned. Some respondents

(2) indicated that a particular area of experience was

needed such as trial or litigation experience.

The next grouping, personal attributes, accounted for

23 comments. A good reputation in the community was the

attribute most frequently noted in this group. Also four

respondents felt that the attorney should be willing to

study, learn, and work in order to fulfill his duties and

responsibilities to the school district. Others (3) in-

dicated that the attorney should have children in the school

system. By having his children involved in the system, he

would be more concerned about the success of the school

district.











One school board attor n, ,:-a'Ii that an important

qualification was the sceinle to Isk for help when it was

needed. He failed to s1c i-:; ac. pr.-ocIre which would reveal

whether the prospective chool dis strict attorney possessed

that sense othlir than by expe i-en'c wi.th the individual.

This condition would be mcsct a.;:;.!icc:ble ,:hen further employ-

ment of the attorney is !b-)irL cnc'sidcrcd.

Relative to special. trainingg, 3 of 31 comments indi-

cated that training should, occi.ui in ].aw school in order for

the attorney to be adequSicely prepared to function in the

area of school law. However, most of the comments (6) in

this grouping simply stated that knowledge of or special

training in school Law was desirable. Training in labor

law and collective baryaiiniir each received a single com-

ment.

On the opposite sidr, 10 respondents stated that no

particular or specialized training was required. One school

board attorney said that specialized training could limit

the services that a school board attorney should provide a

school district. His contention was that the school dis-

trict needed a person who could offer a wide range of

general services, and if a need did arise for a specialist,

then one could be employed until the need was satisfied.

Prior experience with scliool operations was mentioned

as desirable in nine comments made by this group of study

participants. However, seven of them concluded that such











prior expe itenc(., wa;. scarce and hard to find, especially for

the smaller local school dial rict- where there might be but

one attorney in the entire school district.

Attendance at semi nar;s received six coumnents. The

respondents indi.cited Kh1it Licattndince aL the meetings and

seminars of the J:'lorid-1 School Board Attorneys Association

and the Ylorida School Joard Association was needed in order

to stay updated on the legal aspeci-s of school district

operations. One school board attorney suggested that the

state department of education, through the offices of its

general counsel, should provide a special training session

for all new school board attorneys so that they could, in

a shorter period of time, become familiar with the detailed

workings of public school law. He asserted that such a

session could possibly deter costly errors. This point

was further iemphasi ed by the school board attorney who

responded to the questionnaire by saying that he was still

learning his job and that he would be in a better position

to give more specific answers after a few months of working

with the school district.

In review of the responses made to this question rela-

tive to the qualifications of attorneys retained by local

school districts as perceived by school board attorneys,

the data revealed the following:

1. Leading the list of qualifications for attorneys

retained by local school districts were the formal










aspects, such as having at least five years of ex-

perience, being a competent general practitioner,

and a member of the Florida bar.

2. The personal characteristics and attributes de-

sirable in an attorney representing the interests

of the district, such as reputation, dedication,

and interest, placed second according to the data

in Table 9.

3. The training category was almost evenly divided on

whether it was needed, with the positive aspect

representing the majority of those commenting on

this facet of the question.

4. Along with the desirability of special training

was the area of prior experience with school

operations. The difference here was that seveu of

the nine comments indicated the scarcity of that

qualification.

5. The scarcity of prior experience would give added

emphasis to the responses that mentioned the need

for attorneys representing school districts to

attend the seminars sponsored by the associations

for school boards and school board attorneys.

6. One school board attorney suggested that specia-

lized attorneys could operate successfully in the

larger districts or serve a number of smaller

districts if the proper coordination process was










insti tuted. Such a pi)rg.La ii would have expertise

available on an organized level to all the school

districts within the state regardless of size.

Analysis of the Responsen Mlade by School
Board Chali Ciiin to th<; O:ces sonnaire

The school board cha rman in each school district was

asked to respond to the questionnaire using his experience

and perceptions of the needs of local school districts in

Florida as a basis in formulating his responses. Each was

asked to answer the following five questions:

1. In your opinion what legal services are needed by

local school districts?

2. What are some of the legal services that you think

a school board attorney should provide?

3. Under what circumstances, if any, do you think

that an attorney other than the school board

attorney should be retained by local school dis-

tricts?

4. In your opinion what should be the terms and

conditions of employment of attorneys retained by

local school districts?

5. Based upon your experience what do you think should

be the qualifications of attorneys retained by

local school districts?

The comments of school beard chairmen are reflected in

tables, with the most frequently noted group listed first.

A table was developed for each question to which they were










asked to respond and was constructed in such a way as to

demonstrate groups of similar responses and in some cases

individual commirents.

Legal Services Needed by Iuocal School Districts

Table 10 shows the responses made by the school board

chairmen to Question 1 relative to their opinions of those

legal services needed by local school districts. A total

of 167 comments were made by those respondents. These

comments were divided into 18 areas, with similar state-

ments being placed in the same area.

General services accounted for 42 of the 167 comments.

As can be seen, some chairmen contributed more than one

comment to this area, since there were 36 chairmen who re-

sponded to the questionnaire. Within the group the need

for counsel regarding the formulation of policies received

12 comments and was followed by the need for legal inter-

pretation of local, state, and federal laws and statutes

(11). These were followed by the need for advice on legal

matters (6), implications of the sunshine law (3), review

of board policies for possible conflicts with statutes (3),

general counsel (2), and several single statements. These

data indicate that compliance with laws and statutes

accounted for most of the comments in this area.

Collective bargaining and negotiations was next in the

listing and was mentioned 22 times as an area in which the

local school districts needed legal services. Of those




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