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2019 Legal and Human Resources Conference

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Pre-Conference Workshop - Wednesday, February 20

(Separate registration required)

Dinner: 6 pm
Workshop: 6:30 – 9 pm

Building Board Capacity through Policymaking

Research shows that effective school boards drive student achievement. In order to be effective, a board must work well as a team with its superintendent. A major facet in that governing relationship is policymaking – the policies that are adopted and the process for doing so. In particular, the policies that govern the conduct of meetings, including how agendas are created, what public participation is allowed, complaint procedures, and what authority board members have as officers and individual board members, impact that relationship.

Boards should regularly review and update their policies in a continuous cycle so all board members understand and accept them. This workshop will explore policymaking from the Key Work of School Boards perspective with a focus on team building and board capacity.


  • Guy Leavitt, Ed.S., Director of Organizational Consulting Services, WASB
  • Barry Forbes, Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel, WASB
Program - Thursday, February 21

(Choose one session in each time period)

8:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 am

Social Media, Online Communications and Email Use – The Implications for Board members
The use of social media, online communications and email by school board members raises a number of legal issues for board members and school boards as a whole. This session will address the implications of such use on a range of topics, including First Amendment issues, the Open Meetings, Public Records and Pupil Records laws, and board member roles and responsibilities (who speaks for the board amongst other things).
• Bob Butler, Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel, WASB

Student Trauma and Mental Health: Legal Obligations and Best Practices
This presentation will cover legal obligations and best practices related to student trauma and mental health, including student discipline, child find obligations, communication with mental health providers and the provision of school-based mental health services. The presenters will provide practical tips for comprehensively addressing the needs of students and avoiding legal pitfalls.
• Alana Leffler, Attorney, Buelow Vetter Buikema Olson & Vliet

• Gregory Nyen, District Administrator, Waupaca School District

9:30 am Break

9:45 am

Navigating the Turbulent Waters when the Superintendent/Board Relationship Breaks Down
This presentation, given from the perspective of two lawyers who have represented opposing sides, will review best practices to follow when the board/superintendent relationship breaks down, including:
     • A review of the applicable legal standards which govern those conversations;

     • The considerations and terms that are important from the board’s and superintendent’s           perspectives; and

     • How best to structure the conversations with the board and superintendent to get to a win/win     position.
• Malina Piontek, Attorney, Piontek Legal Services

• Steve Zach, Attorney, Boardman & Clark

School Safety Legislative Mandate Update
Recently enacted legislation regarding school safety, 2017 Wisconsin Act 143, sets forth various mandates for Wisconsin school boards and districts. This informative session features a panel of experts that will highlight the legal components of several of the statutory mandates and will discuss the practical implications of implementing these requirements, including best practices for doing so. 

• Melissa Thiel Collar, Attorney, Green Bay Area School District

10:45 am Break

11:00 am

The Process of Nonrenewing Teacher Contracts
The nonrenewal of teacher contracts requires careful consideration and planning by the administration and school board. This session will take attendees through a step-by-step process to prepare for nonrenewal, execute the preliminary notice of nonrenewal, hold a private conference (if requested), and take final action to nonrenew a teacher’s contract. This session will also touch on basic contract requirements, the role of teacher evaluations and whether a district’s grievance procedure applies to a teacher nonrenewal.

• Ben Richter, Staff Counsel, WASB

Responding to Dangerous Conduct Involving Students with Disabilities
When faced with dangerous or threatening conduct by students, districts must act swiftly to ensure the safety of all. When the student at issue is a student with disabilities, the situation is complicated by the district’s need to comply with state and federal disability laws. Districts need to know what they can and cannot do, and the procedures they must follow to respond quickly and effectively to dangerous conduct. This presentation will provide districts with guidance on how to navigate the response process, including critical information on mandatory threat reporting, threat assessments, referral to law enforcement, procedural protections for students with disabilities and options for alternative placements.
• JoAnne Hart, Attorney, Boardman & Clark

12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm

Use of Recording Devices in Schools
Cellular phones and other recording devices have become commonplace in our lives. Schools have many questions about their rights and obligations when individuals want to record meetings or other interactions involving students, staff, parents and others within the school setting. This presentation will explore the various legal issues that relate to the use of recording devices, the privacy and safety concerns that recording devices create, the legal rights of schools, parents, students and staff, and the board policy revisions that schools may consider to ensure they are prepared. 
• Scott Mikesh, Legal and Policy Services Counsel, WASB

The IDEA Complaint Process and Other Hot Topics
Department of Public Instruction (DPI) staff will discuss the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) complaint process from the department’s perspective, including how they approach complaints and what information they look for to identify compliance or noncompliance. The presenters will also discuss other selected hot topics based on issues commonly seen in parent complaints and calls from parents and districts.
• Mankah Mitchell, Consultant, DPI
•Marge Resan, School Administration Consultant, DPI

2:00 pm Break

2:15 pm

Improving Board Member Relations
School board members acknowledge the importance of making decisions in the best interest of students but continue to face growing challenges in effectively governing a district and establishing educational policies. This panel discussion featuring school attorneys and school board members will address what happens when tension arises amongst board members and provide strategies for board members to work together with administration to properly manage the school district and its policies. The panel will also discuss techniques that can be used to forge cooperative decisionmaking processes amongst school board members.
• Dean Dietrich, Attorney, Dietrich VanderWaal Law Group S.C.

3:30 pm Adjourn
Registration Information

Pre-conference workshop fee: $100.

Legal & Human Resources Conference fee: $165.

If registering for both, the fee is $255.

Registration includes all materials and meals identified on the agenda.

Deadline for registration: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

No refund for cancellations after Feb. 13. To cancel, call toll-free 877.705.4422.


Kalahari Resort & Conference Center   Directions
1305 Kalahari Drive,
Wisconsin Dells WI 53965

Reservations: 877-253-5466
Hotel Rates: $124.00- Single or Double (NOTE:  Incorrect pricing of $116 listed in brochure)
Cut-off Date for Hotel Rooms: January 21, 2019

Please mention WASB Legal & Human Resources Conference when making room reservations to get the special group rates. Hotel reservations cancelled 72 hours or more in advance will receive refund less a $25 processing fee; no refund for cancellation less than 72 hours in advance.