Education Law

Michael D. Caulfield

Saul R. Friedman

Taylor McMahon

Jeannie G. Sleeper

Andie L. Stone

Shaping Education Policy and Serving Alaska Schools Since 1976

From shaping statewide education policies that better serve students, to building tomorrow’s classrooms – school districts and education advocates across Alaska rely on JDO for sound advice and representation with all their legal needs. Headed by Saul Friedman and Andie Stone, our education practice has represented a majority of the state’s school districts since 1976 – from the largest in Anchorage and Fairbanks, to the smallest and most remote like Bering Strait and Yupiit. Our clients also include educational advocacy groups such as Citizens for the Educational Advancement of Alaska’s Children and the Special Education Service Agency.

Our education law team has litigated a number of high profile, precedent-setting matters that have shaped education policy. We also advise school districts on construction projects exceeding $100 million annually, and are proud of our role in building and improving classrooms for Alaska’s students. In the process, JDO has become Alaska’s preeminent education law practice – bringing our clients an unparalleled depth of experience and expertise.

Administrators Rely On Us

In the school setting, questions come up that demand quick and decisive action – e.g. when a child brings a fake gun to school or an employee is under criminal investigation. Administrators know that they can count on us for an immediate analysis and response.

JDO also understands the unique challenges facing educators in rural Alaska. We have successfully represented rural school districts and rural students on several matters that have established statewide education policies that better serve their needs.

We handle a broad array of issues for school districts and advocacy groups, including: labor negotiations; statutory and regulatory compliance; developing education policy and procedures; employee relations including grievances, arbitration and litigation; EEO investigations and appeals; defense of employment related litigation; tort and premises liability defense; school board policies; school construction; procurement and contracting; pupil transportation; special education requirements and related litigation; No Child Left Behind compliance; and student discipline.

We routinely represent school districts in every aspect of construction and real estate law – from acquisition and lease of property, through the design and competitive bid process, to resolution of construction claims and litigation. We have been involved in projects ranging from the design and construction of the state-of-the-art South Anchorage High School to litigation about prefabricated housing for use in remote Toksook Bay.

Among the Education Law matters we’ve handled:

  • Expanding the rights and resources available to rural students and rural school districts by successfully trying and concluding several matters – including a ruling requiring the Alaska legislature to remedy the under-funding of rural districts with a more equitable plan for distribution of school maintenance and construction funds.
  • Obtaining summary judgments for school districts in various cases involving claims of employment discrimination, school district immunity, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Annually reviewing and revising the policy conference manual used by the majority of Alaska school boards to maintain their compliance with changing state and federal laws.
  • Helping draft Alaska legislative changes impacting K-12 public education.
  • Successfully defending a school district in an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court challenging the district’s “best interest” decision to change its transportation provider.
  • Establishing a new rule of law holding that a school district cannot be held liable when a contractor fails to obtain a required bond.

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