The WASB's Legal Services staff offers assistance to school board members and administrators throughout the state. Staff attorneys can assist with a variety of employment, human resources, school and labor law issues, including employee handbooks, the open meetings and public records laws, and employee salary and benefit cost projections, to help your district to make sound management decisions. As a member of the WASB, you have access to sample employment policies, employee compensation data and other resources to help you manage your district more efficiently.
Your WASB membership gives you access to the following resources and information:
WASB collects and archives district employment policies that are available to members upon request.
School, Employment & Labor Law Review
WASB staff counsels publish twenty issues of the Wisconsin School, Employment & Labor Law Review annually. The Review covers legal issues and decisions that may affect school districts and provides tips for complying with the law. Member districts may receive up to two hard copies of the Review and every member is sent an electronic copy.
Members can direct general human resources or employment law questions to any WASB staff counsel. Hundreds of telephone calls each month are answered from administrators and board members who want information, suggestions, and solutions to their employment law and human resources issues.
Salary & Fringe Benefits Information
WASB’s compensation database is a powerful tool that contains salary and fringe benefit information from districts throughout the state. Accordingly, if you are interested in compensation data from other teacher or support staff employee groups, simply contact the WASB or access the information directly from our new interactive database.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
WASB archives current and former collective bargaining agreements from other member school districts, and you can request copies of other contracts as your district prepares for teacher or support staff negotiations.
Shadowing Wisconsin’s biennial budget cycle, the WASB surveys member districts every two years regarding teacher and support staff bargaining goals for new collective bargaining agreements. WASB staff compile the results, articulate corresponding bargaining goals and provides them to all member districts.
In addition to the benefits that the Legal Services staff provide as a part of your membership, WASB staff counsels are available to provide the following services for an hourly fee in accordance with the policies adopted by the WASB Board of Directors.
WASB staff counsels have drafted a model employee handbook regarding employment benefits, conditions of work, and processes for addressing employee complaints that is available to our members. WASB staff counsels can also help your district update and modify any existing employee handbooks to account for any changes to the law. WASB attorneys will also help draft job descriptions and employment policies to ensure that districts are in compliance with anti-discrimination laws and wage and hour regulations, such as the WFEA and FLSA.
Individual Employment Contracts
WASB staff counsels will draft and/or review districts’ individual contracts to ensure that they are compliant with the law. WASB staff counsels can also draft individual letters of intent for school year support personnel to ensure that districts are not liable for unemployment compensation between two successive academic terms.
Investigate Employee Misconduct
WASB attorneys are available to guide administration and board members through the process of investigating an allegation of employee misconduct. A WASB staff counsel can perform the investigation as an impartial observer in compliance with law and board policies and procedures to help insulate the board and administration from any bias or discrimination claims. At the conclusion of the investigation, the board will be provided with a written investigation report and recommendations for subsequent action.
Dismissal & Nonrenewal Proceedings
WASB staff counsels will guide boards through dismissal and nonrenewal proceedings to ensure that they provide due process rights to employees subject to termination or nonrenewal. Staff attorneys will also represent boards in discrimination cases front of the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development and in unemployment and worker’s compensation cases before the Labor and Industry Review Commission.
CONTRACT & SCHOOL LAW SERVICES
Intergovernmental & Shared Services Agreements
Now that 2011 Act 10 has become law, traditional barriers to partnering with other municipalities and school districts have been removed, and it will be easier than ever to share services and their related costs. WASB staff counsels will draft and/or review any such intergovernmental agreements to make sure they comply with the law and board policies and procedures.
Now that 2011 Act 10 has become law, the provision of health insurance and post-employment retirement benefits are prohibited subjects of bargaining, and boards will have the opportunity to band together to improve health insurance purchasing power. WASB staff counsels are experienced at establishing such purchasing cooperatives and can help groups of districts get them off the ground.
WASB attorneys will review vendor agreements to verify that they serve the district’s interests and comply with applicable laws and board policies and procedures.
Student Expulsion Hearings
WASB attorneys can either serve to impartially direct expulsion hearing proceedings or be named as a district’s designated hearing officer under section 120.13(1)(e)1.b. of the Wisconsin statues. As a designated hearing officer, a WASB attorney would serve as the impartial decision maker and determine whether the administration’s process and recommendation for expulsion should be upheld.
Annual/Special Meetings & Referenda
Common and union high school districts are required to have annual meetings of the electors and to present the proposed district budget for the upcoming school year. WASB attorneys are available to guide boards through their annual budget hearings, parliamentary procedures, annual meetings and the referendum process.
Open Meetings & Public Records Presentations
Wisconsin’s Open Meetings and Public Records laws need not be a constant source of consternation for school boards. Staff counsels are available to provide individualized or group presentations regarding open meetings, public records, and public records retention requirements.
LABOR LAW & NEGOTIATIONS
Negotiations & Compensation Comparisons
WASB staff counsels represent school boards in all phases of contract negotiations for teachers and/or support staff. For example, a staff counsel may track comparable salary, wage and CPI data, draft proposals, negotiate across the table from the union, advise districts how to respond to union proposals and assist with proceedings before the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.
Review Of Collective Bargaining Agreements
The legal staff can review your current teacher or support staff contracts and analyze their provisions for potential illegalities, ambiguities, and potential improvements. This process also serves as an excellent springboard for creating proposals for the next round of bargaining.
Staff attorneys are available to answer contract interpretation questions and to provide legal representation in response to grievances, prohibited practice complaints and unit clarification petitions.
Salary & Benefits Cost Projections
Your district can receive a comprehensive total package cost breakdown of any salary and fringe benefit package for teachers or support staff. Through this service, board members can learn the cost of any compensation package before approving any salary and benefit increases or changes.
In-Service Training & Webinars for Board Members and Administrators
Staff attorneys are available to travel to districts to provide training on selected employment, contract, school and labor law issues such as responding to job actions, conducting a student expulsion hearing, complying with the FMLA and FLSA, evaluating employees, handling employee discipline, and controlling health insurance and retirement benefit costs. If your district has distance learning technology, WASB can save you travel costs by presenting such training sessions remotely through videoconferencing. WASB staff counsels will also be launching educational webinars via WASB’s website on various topics in the near future.
Programs & Presentations
WASB attorneys frequently present on a variety of legal topics. These presentations typically occur at WASB’s annual Employment & Labor Law Seminars, Effective Bargaining Seminars, and State Education Convention.