Client Memoranda

Important New Guidance – Repeal of Religious Exemption to Immunization Requirement.
August 19, 2019
As you know,on June 13, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation that eliminated non-medical (i.e., religious) exemptions from school vaccination requirements for children. On June 18,2019, we disseminated a memorandum which provided information and guidance on the application of this significant change to the Public Health Law. See Chapter 35 of the N.Y. Laws of 2019 (S.2994A/A.2371).
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DOH Vaccination Requirements
Summary of Express Terms


Student Health Examinations and Certificates/Appraisals.
August 9, 2019
This memorandum is intended to update school personnel regarding the appropriate protocols for required student health examinations and health certificates/appraisals.
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Dental Health Certificate Form
Health Certificate Form
Health Appraisal Notice Letter
Health Certificate and Dental Health Certificate Request Letter



New Legislation: School Bus Camera Monitoring Systems.
August 9, 2019
As you may know, on August 6,2019, Governer Andrew M. Cuomo signed new legislation that autorizes a county, city, town, or village to establish a program designed to monitor and fine vehicles that fail to stop for stopped school buses. This program is known as a "demonstration program" and is intended to improve student safety. If and when a municpality establishes a demonstration program, a schoolboard may, in its discretion, partner with the municipality by installing camera monitoring systems on its distric's school buses (including buses "owned and operated by [the]...district" and/or buses "privately owned and operated for compensation under contract with [the]...district"). Participation is voluntary.
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Second Lawsuit Seeking to Reinstate Religious Exemption to Immunization Requirement.
August 1, 2019
This memorandum is to advise you of a second lawsuit challenging the repeal of the religious exemption to immunization requirements, this time, on behalf of students with disabilities. At the current time, nothing has changed with respect to your obligations to exclude students who do not receive requisite vaccinations. However, we want to keep you apprised of the pending litigation around this matter.
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Courtroom News Service


TRO Seeking to Reinstate Religious Exemption to Immunization Requirement Unsuccessful.
July 12, 2019
This memorandum is to provide an update regarding the lawsuit challenging the repeal of the religious exemption to immunization requirements.
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New York journal article


Lawsuit Seeking to Reinstate Religious Exemption to Immunization Requirement.
July 11, 2019
This memorandum is to advise of a new lawsuit challenging the repeal of the religious exemption to immunization requirements. If successful, the suit would allow families once again to claim religious exemptions immunization requirements. However, nothing has changed at the current time with respect to school districts' obligations to exclude students who do not receive requisite vaccinations.
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New York journal article


Alternate Assessments
June 18, 2019
This memorandum is to advise you of recently issued guidance from the New York State Education Department ("NYSED") regarding alternate assessments. While such assessments are not new, NYSED has provided new tools for Committees on Special Education ("CSEs") to use while making eligibility determinations and has updated requirements regarding parental notification.
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Eligibility and Participation Criteria - NYSAA
Eligibility Criteria for Participation in the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA)


Commissioner’s Regulations on School Counseling.
May 29, 2019
This memorandum is to remind you of the need to begin implementation of amendments issued by the Commissioner of Education and adopted by the Board of Regents Concerning school counseling/guidance counseling services.
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March 2016 Guidance Document SED
March 2019 Guidance Memo and Chart
May 2017 Memo to Bdvof Regents


Homeless Students and Summer Services.
May 28, 2019
This memorandum is to advise you of a recent document issued by the Office of Accountability for the New York State Education Department ("SED"), regarding the provision of summer services for homeless students. See May 17, 2019 SED Memorandum entitled, "McKinney-Vento Summer School Information," attached. SED has reissued the memorandum to remind school districts of their obligation regarding summer services for homeless children.
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2019 Summer School MV Memo


Update - U.S. Department of Justice May 21, 2019 Election Monitoring at Nassau and Suffolk County School District Elections.
May 21, 2019
As you are aware, Section 203 of the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA) requires that school districts in Nassau and Suffolk Counties provide information related to school district elections and budget votes in English and Spanish. That stature also requires translation of materials at that election site. This covers not only the ballat, but all election information such as sample ballots and instructional forms through the actual casting of the ballot, and the questions that commonly are asked at the polling place.
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Budget Re-vote.
May 14, 2019.
This memorandum will provide you with the options available to the Board of Education should be budget be defeated by voters on May 21,2019. As in previous years, the Board may hold a special meeting (a budget "re-vote"), in which case the Board can present the same or a modified budget to the voters. The procedures for a re-vote are outlined below. Alternatively, the Board may choose to forego a second vote and adopt a contingency budget. The parameters for a contingency budget also follow below.
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Paid Time Off for Voting.
May 01, 2019.
This memorandum provides information about recent amendments to the existing law that requires employers to provide all employees, including teachers, with paid time of to vote.
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Updated APPR Laws.
April 25, 2019.
As you may recall, in 2015, the State created a new Annual Professional Performance Review (“APPR”) system for teachers and principals that required State-created or administered assessments to be a factor in determining a teacher or principal’s effectiveness. Since that time, this new APPR system has not been widely accepted, has created many disparities, and may even have strengthened the “opt out” movement.
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FOIL Request from Data Research Partners.
April 11, 2019.
We are writing in response to the numerous Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) requests that clients have received seeking names and addresses of school district employees. This memorandum reviews the obligation of school districts to respond to such requests seeking lists of names and addresses. Recently, several school district clients have received such a request from an entity known as “Data Research Partners” (“DRP”) seeking the names, email addresses, titles and “primary campus/department” locations of school district employees.
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Model Non-Solicitation-fundraising Affidavit


Latest Legal Publication.
April 10, 2019.
Enclosed is a copy of the latest article published by Frazer & Feldman, LLP, partner Christie R. Jacobson, Esq. This article is entitled, “Principals Must Make Legal Distinctions on Religious Exemptions to Immunization.” It is featured in the April 2019 edition of On Board, the statewide newspaper published by the New York State School Boards Association (“NYSSBA”).
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Sample Board Resolution for Establishing TRS sub-fund


TRS Reserve Fund.
April 4, 2019.
The 2020 New York State Budget that was recently adopted on March 31, 2019, includes the long sought-after authorization for school districts to create TRS reserve funds. School districts may now establish a “TRS reserve sub-fund” within their existing retirement contribution reserve fund for purposes of financing contributions to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, subject to specified annual and overall limits. This new authorization is effective April 1, 2019, subject to the Governor’s veto 1 , and, thus, we urge you to promptly determine whether your district wishes to take advantage of the new TRS reserve fund rules prior to the close of the current fiscal school year. The parameters of the new reserve authorization are detailed below.
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Sample Board Resolution for Establishing TRS sub-fund


DOJ Conference Call Results
March 5, 2019.
The purpose of this memorandom is to hsare the results of a conference call in which I participated yesterday afternoon, together with Neil Block, an attorney from Ingerman Smith, and Michael Goldberger, Kaycee Sullivan, Megan Freismuth, and Rachel Evans, attorneys with the Department of Justice ("DOJ"). The purpose of the call was to discuss the content of my February 11,2019 letter to the DOJ arguing that school districts are political subdivisions under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act ("VRA"), not political units within political subdivisions.
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Decision of the Commissioner of Education Regarding Capital Propositions.
March 1, 2019.
This memorandum provides information about a recent decision from the Commissioner of Education ("Commissioner") which reiterates the fact that propositions that are placed on the ballot must be accurate and unambiguous in order to ascertain the intent of the voters.
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Decision No. 17587


Recent Federal Guidance on FERPA.
February 28, 2019.
This memorandum provides information on recently issued federal guidance regarding the application of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") to health or safety emergencies faced by school districts.
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SRO FAQs


Children in Foster Care.
January 22, 2019.
This memorandum provides information about recent state laws that are designed to help ensure educational continuity for children in foster care. See Education Law §§3244, §3202(4) and Social Services Law § 153-k. The legal changes bring State law into compliance with Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 ("ESEA"), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act ("ESSA") of 2015. These laws set forth school district obligations with regard to the education and transportation of children in foster care.
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2019 School District Elections
January 17, 2019.
On January 16, 2019, we held our annual seminar on School District Elections for our clients. Twenty five school district clerks, board members and business officials attended. In addition to covering pertinent dates for the upcoming 2019 annual district election, we discussed in detail the federal Voting Rights Act, which requires that school districts provide registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, ballots or other materials or information related to an election in Spanish as well as in English. A spirited discussion was held among our attorneys and clients as we brainstormed a school district’s various duties and responsibilities involved in conducting the budget vote and school board election. For those of you who were not able to attend, we are attaching the handouts from the seminar. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
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2019 School District Elections
January 16, 2019.
As you are aware, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") has not yet issued finding of guidance regarding their investigation related to school district compliance with Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act ("VRA"). School districts in Nassau and Suffolk Counties were notifed of the DOJ's investigation on or about June 28,2018, when school districts received letters requesting information form the last annual election and budget vote. Through the letter, the DOJ provided notice that school district elections are subject to the federal requirement that election information provided in English must also be provided in Spanish.
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Voting Rights Act

Read all about November-December 2018
December 26, 2018.
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review federal decisions by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the District Courts of the Southern District of New York and New Jersey, an administrative decision by the State Hearing Office of Arkansas, and guidance from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
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Annual District Election and Budget Vote Seminar – Save the Date.
December 03, 2018.
This is to inform you that we will be holding our annual seminar on School District Elections for all Superintendents, Administrators, Board of Education members and District Clerks who would like to attend. Topics to be covered will include pertinent dates for the 2019 annual district election, legal notice requirements, submission of propositions, voter qualifications, absentee and affidavit ballots, campaigning and electioneering, budget issues, recnet Commissioner's decisions and other quirky election-related items. We will also provide an update on the Department of Justice's investigation related to the federal Voting Rights Act, which requires that school districs provide registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, ballots or other materials or information related to an election in Spanish as well as in English.
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RAAI! September, 2018
September 2018.
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review two federal Court of Appeals decisions, a federal court decision, one administrative decision from the Office of State Review (“SRO”), and an advisory opinion from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Services and Educational Programs (“OSEP”).
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Amendments to Civil Service Law §75.
October 12, 2018.
This memorandum provides information about a new amendment to the New York State Civil Service Law that provides due process rights for certain labor class employees. Section 75 Protections
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Preparation for 2019 Annual Election and Budget Vote.
October 5, 2018.
The following provides an outline of pertinent election dates for the May 21, 2019 Annual Election and Budget Vote. Our annual election workshop will take place in mid January, at which time we will address all elements of the school district election process and review the latest Commissioner's decisions. We will also provide an update on the implications of the Department of Justice's ("Dal") investigation related to school district compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act ("VRA"). In the meantime, we would recommend that you begin the process of translating all election material related to voter registration and the election into Spanish.' We will notify you of the date and time of the workshop in early December.
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RAAI! August, 2018
August 9, 2018.
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review a circuit court decision, three federal district court cases, and an advisory letter from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”). We start with a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit that addresses what constitutes an appropriate response to bullying in an individualized education program (“IEP”). We follow with a decision by the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York that explores what sort of information is disclosable as ‘directory information’ under FERPA. This is followed by a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania discussing measurable annual goals, and how critical it is for a school district to monitor a student’s progress throughout the school year. We also examine a decision from the Southern District of New York which weighs the impact of a school district’s agreement to provide transportation services for a student to his nonpublic school in determining the student’s stay-put setting. We conclude with a letter from OSEP which discusses a school’s responsibility to provide make-up services following the administration of state assessments.
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Second Circuit Court Appeal – F.L. et al v. Board of Education of the Great Neck Union Free School Dist., Case No.: 17-2881.
August 24, 2018.
We are extremely pleased to enclose a favorable decision from the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding the decision of Judge Feuerstein of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and dismissing the above-referenced proceeding in its entirety.
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17-2881-Decision

Private School Transportation Requests - Students with Disabilities.
August 24, 2018.
Special Education Departments often receive a rush of transportation requests from families who have unilaterally placed their children in private, non-state-approved programs. To that end, this memo reviews the conditions under which transportation must be provided, as well as the information school districts should request from the family to make the determination of eligibility to receive transportation.
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ESSA 2018 Overview.
August 15, 2018.
The New York State Board of Regents recently adopted emergency regulations' to implement New York's plan for the implementation of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act ("ESSA") 20 U.S.C. 0301 et seq., which sets forth the conditions under which schools receive federal funding. ESSA requires that public schools implement challenging academic content and achievement standards, applicable to all students.
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Status Update - U.S. Department of Justice Review of Nassau and Suffolk County School District Elections for Compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
July 30, 2018.
As you are aware, virtually every school district in Nassau and Suffolk Counties has now received a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") seeking information related to the May 2018 annual district election and budget vote. Through the document request, the DOJ is attempting to determine the extent to which school districts have complied with the federal Voting Rights Act ("VRA" ).1 DOJ has designated school districts as "political subdivisions" under Section 203 of the VRA, mandating that they provide registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, ballots or other materials or information related to an election in Spanish as well as in English.
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Dues Deductions after Janus v. AFSCME.
July 27, 2018.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, public employers may no longer deduct agency shop fees from employees who decline to join the union which represents their bargaining unit. The decision has placed a focus on what may be considered a ministerial function of school districts, namely, the automatic deduction of union dues from employees' paychecks.
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Guide – How to PWN.
July 24, 2018.
We are often asked to review prior written notice (“PWN”) letters following a particularly contentious CSE meeting. This past year, we have come across some consistent, problematic areas which would raise red flags if the PWNs were reviewed by an impartial hearing officer (“IHO”). To that end, this memo reviews the purpose of PWN and some helpful tips for your staff to use when drafting these documents
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The PWN Cheat Sheet

RAAI! July 2018
July 18, 2018.
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review three federal cases and a Question and Answer Guidance document issued by the Federal Privacy and Compliance Office. We start with a case from Northern District of New York that addresses IEP errors made by the school district in its attempt to address a student’s school avoidance. We follow with a multi-year challenge in the Southern District of New York which examines the steps a CSE must take to ensure meaningful parental participation when the parent of the student in question speaks English as a second language. We also review a second decision from the Southern District of New York, which examines the dangers associated with over-reliance on progress reports from the student’s unilateral placement. We conclude with a Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) guidance document from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Privacy and Compliance Office describing the steps districts must take to ensure interested stakeholders have appropriate access to photo and video records.
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Newsday FOIL Request for Payroll Information.
July 13, 2018.
This memorandum addresses school districts' legal obligation to comply with the most recent Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL") request from Newsday, which seeks a substantial amount of employee data for a three year period.' Specifically, Newsday has requested employee payroll data, including each employee's full name, department, title, rate of pay, hire date, termination date, overtime compensation, termination/retirement compensation, and total compensation for each of the three years. A number of clients have asked whether it is necessary to comply with this request. The short answer is yes. A few caveats are set forth below.
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New Employer Obligations to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
July 09, 2018.
This memorandum is designed to introduce new obligations imposed on school district employers by legislation enacted in the 2019 New York State Budget to train staff about the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. These new mandates, which were signed into law by the Governor on April 12, 2018, impose several new obligations on New York employers, including school districts, to help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Among other things, employers are required to distribute a written sexual harassment prevention policy and provide annual sexual harassment training. These and other changes in the law concerning sexual harassment are detailed below.
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U.S. Department of Justice Review of Nassau and Suffolk County School District Elections for Compliance with the Voting Rights Act
July 03, 2018.
This week, each school district in Nassau and Suffolk Counties can expect a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") entitled "Compliance with Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act." The letter seeks certain information related to your most recent annual district election and budget vote in an attempt to determine the extent to which school districts are complying with the federal Voting Rights Act ("VRA").
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US Supreme Court Decision: Janus v. AFSCME
June 28, 2018.
As you are no doubt aware, the United States Supreme Court has issued its long-anticipated decision in the matter of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ("AFSCME"), a case of great significance to public employee unions, as it eliminates public employee unions' right to collect a fee from non-union members, yet retains the unions' obligation to fairly represent all members of a bargaining unit, irrespective of their union membership.'
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New Legislation Prohibiting "Lunch Shaming"
May 21, 2018.
This memorandum provides guidance regarding a recently adopted provision of the Education Law which is intended to eliminate embarrassment to students unable to pay for meals at school, sometimes referred to as "lunch shaming." 1 The statute requires school districts to adopt a plan which, among other things, requires school districts to take affirmative steps to assist families to apply for federal or local programs which enable students to receive meals at school free or at a reduced price. It specifically prohibits school districts from implementing practices which single out children who cannot pay for a meal, and requires school districts to take affirmative steps to determine if a family is eligible to receive free or reduced price meals at school.
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New SED Policy Guidance for Homeless Students
April 12, 2018.
This memorandum provides important information about new policy guidance from the New York State Education Department (“SED”) regarding the education of homeless students under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (“McKinney-Vento”).
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Sample Local Educational Agency (“LEA”) Policy on the Education of Students in Temporary Housing1

Newsday FOIL Request – Settlement Agreements
March 22, 2018.
Newsday recently emailed a Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) request to a number of our school district clients asking for “a copy of all settlement agreements executed by the district in 2017.” In follow-up to questions regarding the scope of this request, Newsday subsequently clarified that it was seeking only those “settlement agreements executed by the district in the calendar year of 2017 to formally close civil lawsuits against the district.”
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Paid Leave for Cancer Screenings
March 14, 2018.
Effective March 18, 2018, school district employees will be entitled to an excused paid leave, not to exceed four (4) hours, for expanded cancer screenings. The purpose of this law is to encourage regular screenings for all types of cancers as a matter of improving public health.
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“Walkout” Scenarios and Student Speech Considerations
March 12, 2018.
This memorandum supplements our March 1, 2018 memorandum entitled, "Walkout" Scenarios and Student Speech Considerations" As you know, school districts across the country are anticipating a surge in student protests in the upcoming days and weks in response to recent events such as the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. This memorandum lists a few reminders to help districts respond in the case of a student walkout or other mass protest.
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"Walkout" Scenarios and Student Speech Considerations
March 01, 2018.
In the wake of the tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, school districts across the country are experiencing student protest movements in response to school violence. This memorandum provides guidance to help districts respond in the case of a school "walkout" and other mass protests in the school setting.
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Archived Client Memoranda



For more information on how to access our client memoranda and documents, please contact info@ffedlaw.com.

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Events Calendar
  • UPCOMING EVENTS
  • August 19, 2019
    Live Teleconference 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

    Jacob S. Feldman, Esq., will present a Live Teleconference Seminar on “Sexual Harassment in Schools: Interpreting the Latest Legal Guidelines”. The program will cover the latest school sexual harassment guidelines you need to know. How to determine critical Title IX protections for victims of sexual harassment; how to properly respond to and document allegations using the latest federal guidance; and how to handle delicate sexual violence allegations the right way. For more information please visit www.nbi-sems.com.

  • October 4, 2019
    IEPs and 504 Plan Legal Workshop

    On October 4, 2019, Jack Feldman and Timothy Mahoney will present a program on 504 plans on behalf of National Business Institute. 504 plans, like IEPs, are essential tools to ensure positive learning outcomes for many students. They also have the potential to cause legal issues for schools if they aren't properly planned and carried out. The seminar addresses key considerations for implementing IEPs, functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs). For additional information, please visit www.nbi-sems.com.

  • October 25, 2019
    Rochester Riverside Convention Center
    123 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604

    Christie Jacobson, Esq., will present at the New York State School Boards Association Annual School Law Conference held on October 24-26, 2019. Ms. Jacobson will present on the topic of “Free Speech in the Era of Social Media.” The audience for this presentation will be school board members, school administrators and school attorneys from throughout the State of New York. For additional information visit WWW.NYSSBA.ORG.


  • RECENT EVENTS
  • June 3, 2019
    Four Points by Sheraton Melville Long Island
    333 S Service Road
    Plainview, NY 11803

    Jacob S. Feldman, Esq. and Timothy M. Mahoney, Esq., presented a seminar on “New York Special Education Law”. The program covered compliance with Special Education Laws to avoid liability; Strengthen knowledge of how recent special education legislation affects school policies and operation; Learning what to do and what not to do in 504 plans; Evaluating the legal protection offered by the Individualized Education Program (IEP); How to successfully handle disciplinary actions for students with disabilities; Exploring the role of manifestation determination reviewing the legality of disciplinary actions; and Understanding the rights of special needs students so as to avoid inadvertent illegal actions that may lead to a lawsuit. For further information please visit www.nbi-sems.com.

  • Monday, April 22, 2019
    Hofstra University
    Hempstead, New York

    We are proud to announce that our partner Christie R. Jacobson was honored as one of Hofstra University’s Outstanding Women in Law at an awards dinner reception held on Monday April 22,2019. This recognition celebrates women who have made meaningful and inspiring contributions to the legal community. For more information please visit www.law.hofstra.edu/owl.

  • Friday, December 7, 2018

    Jacob S. Feldman, Esq., presented a seminar on “Special Education”.
    Christie Jacobson, Esq., presented a seminar on “The Non-Resident "Resident" Student”.
    Joseph Lilly, Esq., presented a seminar on “Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace”.
    Laura Dilimetin, Esq., presented a seminar on “School Safety”.
    For additional information visit www.nassaubar.org..



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