School Law

The attorneys of Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP are experienced in every aspect of the law affecting educational institutions. We represent more than 150 school districts, charter schools, colleges and universities, cooperatives, and private schools. Whether it is defending a school district in the United States Supreme Court or advising a school board on the intricacies of the Open Meetings Act, we have done it. We draw on our considerable experience in representing our clients in any school law matter.

Our expertise in Illinois school law extends to all laws relating to board governance, finance, students, special education, labor, personnel, real estate, contracts, commercial transactions, and litigation.

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Corporate & Finance

We provide corporate legal services that ensure that the operations of our client school districts are in compliance with the law. We work with our clients so that their school districts are governed in accordance with the School Code and legally sound and practical policies; their board meetings are run properly under the Open Meetings Act; their administrators respond to inquiries for information in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act; and their board members are confident that their conduct does not violate the conflict of interest statutes, the Governmental Ethics Act, or the Election Code.

In the area of school finance, we provide legal services to our client school districts to ensure their financial transactions are not only in compliance with the law, but are ultimately successful. We work closely with our clients during the budgeting process to reduce tax objections and during the levy process to ensure compliance with the Truth in Taxation Act and the tax cap laws. During the  fiscal year, we advise our clients in the making of interfund loans and transfers and using the working cash fund and tax anticipation warrants to cope with cash flow needs of their school districts. When a tax rate or bond referendum is necessary, we draft the required resolution and ballot proposition; advise clients on compliance with the Election Interference Act; and act as issuer’s counsel on every type of bond transaction.

Labor & Personnel

We provide our client school districts with labor relations, collective bargaining, and personnel services that are designed to improve employee relations yet still preserve our clients’ ultimate authority to govern their school districts and educate their students.  We recognize that an effective labor relations program does not end with the signing of a collective bargaining agreement.  Accordingly, we provide our clients with day-to-day advice on personnel decision-making strategies, compliance with employment laws and administration of their collective bargaining agreements.

In the area of labor relations, we negotiate our clients’ collective bargaining agreements to successful conclusion for the school district, advise our clients regarding formation of bargaining units and the proper methods to respond to a union organizing campaign, provide on-going advice on contract administration to avoid unnecessary grievances and, when necessary, represent our clients at grievance meetings and arbitrations or in hearings on unfair labor practice charges.

We provide a complete human resources package of legal services involving policy and handbook development, training, day-to-day advice and litigation services on any employment matter including employee benefits, discipline and discharge, wage and hour issues, hiring, evaluation and remediation, sexual harassment, Family Medical Leave Act, employment discrimination, drug testing, civil rights and free speech issues, and FLSA compliance.

Litigation

When it comes to representing our client school districts in court or before an administrative tribunal, we do not like to lose, and we seldom do.  Our experienced team of litigators is always prepared to outwork opposing counsel in an all-out effort to win the case or achieve a settlement on favorable terms.

We have protected our clients’ interests before both the United States Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court and in all state and federal trial and appellate courts in Illinois.  We have litigated before all of the administrative agencies that affect schools, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Office for Civil Rights, and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

Our firm has been approved by numerous cooperatives and insurers that work with school districts throughout the state. We are regularly appointed to defend school districts in civil rights, wrongful termination, student, special education, and personal injury litigation.

We have defended or prosecuted cases on behalf of our clients on virtually every issue affecting school districts including commercial transactions, real estate, validity of bonds, annexation and detachment, elections, Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, special education, student and teacher rights, and employment discrimination.

Students & Special Education

We provide our school district clients with legal services that ensure all their educational programs comply with all applicable regulatory laws, from the Illinois School Student Records Act to the No Child Left Behind Act.  We work with our clients on such diverse student matters as admissions and graduation requirements; discipline; student constitutional rights, from free speech and religious freedom to search and seizure; grading; sexual harassment; student records; immunization; busing; student clubs; drug testing; and reciprocal reporting agreements with local law enforcement.

We provide a complete range of services in the field of special education to insure that our clients can provide a free appropriate public education to all students in need.  We develop policies as required by IDEA, conduct in-service training on IDEA issues, participate, when necessary, in IEP conferences, and represent our clients in due process hearings and in any subsequent appeal of a due process decision.

Real Estate & School Construction

We provide our client school districts with legal services from start to finish on any real estate transaction or school construction project.  We handle all legal matters involved in the purchase or sale of real estate including environmental report issues, condemnation, negotiations of the purchase of the property, and any other due diligence issue.   We also work with bond counsel in the role of issuer’s counsel on any bond issue needed for the financing of the construction project; advise our clients on all aspects of the bidding process from developing the specification to determining the lowest responsible bidder; negotiate all contracts between the school district and its architect, construction manager and/or general contractor; advise our clients during the construction project concerning any issues that may arise; and handle any litigation arising out of the construction project.