Obligations under the Equal Access Act

By: Amanda Sundquist Following up on its recent guidance on bullying and harassment, on June 14, 2011 the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a “Dear Colleagues” letter regarding the impact of the Equal Access Act (the “Act”) on gay-straight alliances (GSA) and similar student-initiated groups addressing LGBT issues. OCR reminds school districts that the […]

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Plan Opposition By Board of Supervisors Members

By: Amanda J. Sundquist In ,Crandell v. Pennsbury Township Board of Supervisors, et al. — A.2d — (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009), the Commonwealth Court addressed public opposition to a plan by a Township Board of Supervisors member.  Fenton, a resident who ultimately became a board member, formed a group to oppose a developer’s plans.  After […]

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New Prevailing Wage Analysis For Preconstruction Leases

On November 23, 2011 the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rendered a decision that may have far reaching implications with regard to state, county, municipal and school district leasing of buildings and office space.

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New Jersey School Districts Permitted to Add Alleged Bullies and Parents as Defendants

By: Amanda Sundquist In a unique ruling, a New Jersey Superior Court Judge has permitted two school districts to add eleven students and their parents as third party defendants in a bullying and harassment case against the school districts. The students are alleged to have bullied the student plaintiff and their parents are alleged to […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear “I (Heart) Boobies” Student Speech Case

By: Amanda Sundquist I have previously blogged about a First Amendment law suit brought by two middle school students against Easton Area School District in federal court. The school district banned the wearing of “I (heart) Boobies” bracelets distributed by the Keep A Breast Foundation. The students were suspended for failing to comply with the […]

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The telecommunications industry is evolving and expanding – how can your municipality stay on top of new developments?

By: Andrew Rau  Municipalities across Pennsylvania are quickly realizing that the early stages of the cell tower and telecommunications era are giving way to a new regulatory and land use world—one of micro towers, fiber lines and new technology. There are four areas of focus for municipalities in staying on top of the changing legal […]

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Unpaid Property Taxes not so easily avoided in Pennsylvania – Act 93 of 2013 Empowers Taxing Authorities

By: Kimberly P. Venzie Act 93 of 2013 was signed into law and became effective January 26, 2014. Act 93 of 2013 allows for a taxing authority to reduce a delinquent tax claim to judgment and then file the claim for unpaid property taxes in the judgment index with any court of common pleas. Thus, […]

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Long Outdated Bid Limit Laws Updated by Pennsylvania Legislature

On November 3, 2011, Act 84 of 2011 was signed into law in Pennsylvania and becomes effective on January 1, 2012. Act 84 amends certain provisions of the Second Class Township Code which require Townships to advertise and seek bids for purchases and contracts of a certain minimum dollar amount.

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New Concussion Standards for School Districts

By: Amanda Sundquist On November 9, 2011, the “Safety in Youth Sports Act” was signed into law.  The Act addresses concussion and head injury risks for student athletes and the education of the coaching staff. School districts have new parent notification obligations under the Act.  Prior to participation of a student athlete in an athletic […]

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School Board Prayer: The Third Circuit Rules

By: Andrew D.H. Rau The constitutional debate surrounding student prayer in the public school setting has long been the subject of discussion in the federal courts. Now, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an important decision on a related question—the right of a school board to open its meetings with prayer. Third Circuit […]

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The Marcellus Shale Debate: Local Zoning or State Control?

By: Andrew D.H. Rau If momentum forms behind a bill introduced in Harrisburg, the traditional understandings of local zoning control in Pennsylvania could be in for a major adjustment.  The legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Scarnati would provide for impact fees to be paid by Marcellus Shale drillers across the state.  But a component of […]

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New Guidance on Student Enrollment

By: Amanda Sundquist The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has recently issued a “Dear Colleague” letter regarding school district enrollment practices. The letter focuses on practices that may discourage enrollment of students based on their or their parents’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. Under federal law and as […]

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Marcellus Shale & Local Zoning

By: Andrew D.H. Rau The oil and gas industry’s race to develop the Marcellus Shale across Pennsylvania has brought to the forefront the tension between large-scale development interests and local government.  Pennsylvania boroughs, townships and cities are grappling with the limits of local zoning power as they consider the means of regulating and controlling drilling […]

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