Presented by Hodgson Russ LLP, SchoolNET provides topical information, analysis, commentary, and resources on the latest developments in education and special education law to help school districts meet their legal challenges. In their creation, both with content and design, we are helped by the outline writing service, so we can work out the blocks and properly describe and convey ideas. SchoolNET is written by a team of education law and public-sector employment law attorneys dedicated to helping school districts establish the best possible educational and work environments for their students and staff.

Blog Contributors

John AAttorney John A. Alessi. Alessi represents counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, fire districts, utility districts, underwriters, and trustees on a wide range of general obligation bond financings. He has worked on complex refunding matters, tax and revenue note financings, and large capital project financings. He is also heavily involved with the planning of various school and municipal projects and works closely with various financial advisors, architects and engineers, bond insurers, verification agents, escrow agents, and other market professionals.

Melanie J. Beardsley represents private and public sector employers before state and federal agencies, including the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Public Employment Relations Board, and defends private and public sector employers against employment discrimination, labor, wage and hour, and other state and federal claims.

Attorney Joseph L. BraccioJoseph L. Braccio is the practice area leader for the firm’s Employee Benefits, Immigration, and Labor & Employment Practice Groups. Since 1986, Mr. Braccio has counseled private sector employers on the full range of labor and employee relations issues with particular concentration in contract negotiations, contract administration, arbitration, representation of employers before the NLRB, strike management, and employee discipline and discharge cases. He also regularly counsels employers on wage and hour issues, prevailing rate problems, and employment discrimination.

Attorney Peter K. BradleyPeter K. Bradley is a partner in Hodgson Russ’s Education Law and Employee Benefits Practice Groups. He focuses his practice on pension and welfare benefit plans, qualified retirement plans, nonqualified executive compensation, cafeteria plans, and COBRA compliance.

Attorney Elizabeth D. CarlsonElizabeth D. McPhail represents both public and private sector employers regarding the full range of labor and employment-related issues. She counsels school districts on a variety of topics, including negotiations with labor organizations, conducting discrimination investigations, teacher disciplinary issues, and general board of education governance.

Attorney Ryan L. EverhartRyan L. Everhart concentrates his practice in education and labor law, with a particular focus on special education law. He has successfully represented school districts in numerous administrative and court proceedings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, with regard to investigations by the New York State Education Department, and in legal proceedings before the commissioner of education. He regularly consults with school districts in matters concerning employee discipline/termination, student residency/homelessness, and school record confidentiality.

Attorney Michael J. FlanaganMichael J. Flanagan is an attorney in Hodgson Russ’s Education Law and Employee Benefits Practice Groups. He concentrates his practice in employee benefits law, including qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, COBRA and HIPAA compliance, welfare plans, ERISA, tax, and stock- and equity-based compensation programs.

Attorney Andrew J. FreedmanAndrew J. Freedman focuses his practice on education law and has extensive experience counseling school districts and boards of education on the full range of complex legal challenges they face. His experience includes representing school districts in proceedings and appeals before the Commissioner of Education, advising school boards on their powers and duties under New York State Education Law, representing schools in all phases of special education litigation and student discipline matters, and advising on the development and implementation of school district policies.

Attorney John M. GodwinJohn M. Godwin is an attorney in Hodgson Russ’s Labor & Employment and Education Law Practice Groups. He focuses his practice on all aspects of worker classification, federal and state WARN Act compliance, wage and hour matters, and drafting and advising businesses on employment agreements, with a specific focus on restrictive covenants.

Attorney Karl W. KristoffKarl W. Kristoff has practiced law since 1968 and has been engaged almost exclusively in both school law and public sector labor relations work for more than 35 years. He has been designated by the New York State Commissioner of Education as a hearing officer for cases arising under Part 83 of the Commissioner’s Regulations concerning teacher certification. During the course of his work for school districts, Karl has been involved with administrator and teacher certification and tenure area matters, student discipline problems, school construction matters, sales and leases, student transportation matters, religious establishment and academic freedom questions, appeals from committees on special education decisions, abolition of position matters, public employee collective negotiations, contract administration, grievance handling and arbitration, employee discipline and dismissal cases (including more than 50 cases under Section 3020-a), unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation matters, and numerous similar matters.

Attorney Paul MeoskyPaul D. Meosky has more than twenty years of experience helping developers, schools, and nonprofit corporations implement development projects, including conducting environmental impact reviews under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). Paul advises clients on permitting and regulatory compliance matters, hazardous waste and petroleum cleanups, and environmental risk assessment and management associated with transactions, and represents clients in litigation and enforcement matters.

RAttorney Ryan R. Murphyyan M. Murphy concentrates his practice in the area of employee benefits, with particular focus on qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation plans. His practice includes drafting and reviewing plan documents, assisting clients in the administration of benefit plans, preparing submissions under IRS and DOL correction programs, and advising clients on reporting and disclosure obligations.

Attorney Paul I. PerlmanPaul I. Perlman has more than 30 years experience in complex business litigation, including employment discrimination, and intellectual property litigation. He has handled copyright, patent, and trademark/Lanham Act/trade dress lawsuits throughout the country and a multitude of Internet-related trademark actions and domain name disputes, including federal lawsuits under Anticybersquatter Consumer Protection Act and ICANN domain name proceedings.

Attorney Emina PoricaninEmina Poricanin counsels public school districts, including charter schools, with respect to federal and state laws affecting educational institutions. Emina counsels clients regarding special education laws, provision of services for students with disabilities, student residency and tuition, transportation and discipline of students, teacher seniority and layoff procedures, discipline and removal of certified and non-certified employees, anti-bullying policies, assessment and collection of taxes, compliance with student immunization requirements, election of school board members, Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPRs), and student instruction and curricula.

Attorney Michael B. RismanMichael B. Risman has more than 30 years of experience representing municipalities in a wide range of civil litigation and appeals. Prior to joining Hodgson Russ, he served as corporation counsel for the City of Buffalo. As head of the department of law, he served as chief counsel for the City of Buffalo, the mayor, Buffalo Common Council, the Buffalo Board of Education, and other municipal entities and public officials. He directed the city’s litigation in all areas, and was involved in many complex economic and real estate development projects for the city.

Attorney A. Joseph ScottA. Joseph Scott, III is managing partner of Hodgson Russ’s Albany office. He has practiced exclusively in the area of industrial development agency finance, public authority finance, and municipal and school district finance since 1983. Joe has acted as issuer’s counsel, bond counsel, and underwriter’s counsel on a variety of industrial development agency and public authority projects.

Attorney Daniel A. SpitzerDaniel A. Spitzer concentrates his practice on a variety of issues involving environmental law, renewable energy, sustainable development, land use law, municipal law, and real estate development. He counsels agencies and private clients on compliance with historic preservation laws, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and other federal environmental statutes and regulations. His projects include coordinating responses among federal and state agencies as part of federal and state environmental assessments.

Attorney Jeffrey StoneJeffrey W. Stone represents counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, underwriters, and corporate trustees as bond counsel or special counsel on a wide range of general obligation, revenue bond, and securitized lease and asset-backed financings. He frequently lectures on public finance, education, and municipal law matters at client seminars and at professional education seminars sponsored by the New York State and Erie County Bar Associations, the Government Finance Officers Association, the Association of School Business Officials, and other groups.

Attorney Jeffrey SwiatekJeffrey F. Swiatek regularly counsels private and public sector clients on a wide range of issues, including employment law and labor relations, personnel policies and procedures, COBRA and related issues, contract negotiations, employee discipline, review of handbooks and work rules, employment authorization (I-9) procedures and policies, purchasing and competitive bidding, construction and real property matters, budget and related financial issues, as well as representation in actions and proceedings before the courts and administrative agencies.

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