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Private Schools

Take the Guesswork Out of School Law

Buelow Vetter is privileged to serve several private K-12 schools and higher education institutions across Wisconsin. We appreciate the hard work and sacrifice that the teachers, staff and employees of private school make to educate and enrich the lives of the students they serve.

 

Our attorneys help you to meet the needs of your students through our commitment to providing experienced advice to guide you in the education and discipline of students, assessing and compensating your teachers and staff, creating administrator contracts and much more.

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Students

We understand that students are at the heart of every action and decision made by school leaders. At Buelow Vetter, we are here to help you meet the needs of each and every student, by advising you in the areas of student discipline, privacy, mental health needs, educating students with special needs and fulfilling requests for student records.

Disciplining students is an unfortunate part of managing an educational institution. However, when issues arise, Buelow Vetter is committed to helping you to resolve these issues appropriately, efficiently and as discretely as possible, so you can remain focused on delivering a quality education to your students.

 

Our attorneys provide sound advice that ranges from drafting policies and student handbooks, to disciplining students for conduct occurring off school grounds. Additionally, we represent school boards or administrators during expulsion proceedings, including defending expulsion orders when appealed to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), or in state or federal court proceedings.

Buelow Vetter attorneys have exceptional experience in defending educational institutions during government investigations, including Office for Civil Rights (OCR) proceedings and Department of Justice audits. Additionally, we defend schools against student complaints filed with the OCR, alleged individual violations of the Rehabilitation Act or Title II. To help avoid these issues, we also draft and update policies and procedures on behalf of our clients, including non-discriminatory, behavioral assessment, involuntary withdrawal and readmission procedures.

With an increasing dependence on computer technology, the security of student records has become a more frequent and complex issue for school administrators. Buelow Vetter attorneys have extensive experience in advising districts on a variety of topics including parental rights to student records, the use of technology to maintain a safe school environment, access to student records by the media or law enforcement agencies, and even what constitutes a “student record” in the digital and social age. Finally, we also assist public schools in harmonizing any applicable public records requirements.

At Buelow Vetter, we regularly consult with school administrators on the legal rights and responsibilities of students. Common issues that we advise districts on include free speech, religion, search and seizure, harassment, bullying and drug and alcohol testing. While our role varies from district to district, you can count on our team to deliver sound day-to-day advice, diligence in reviewing and updating your policies and handbooks, and passionately defending your school board in the event of litigation.

We understand that a student handbook or code of conduct is an essential tool for every school and district, as clear and meaningful handbooks and policies are the keys to avoiding misunderstandings, liability and litigation. And while the needs of every school are different, it’s important to realize that a policy that works for one district may not be as effective in another. If you need help fine-tuning your district’s handbook or codes of conduct to align with evolving trends, technological advances and other elements driving change in education, the attorneys at Buelow Vetter are here to help.

From entrance testing to enrollment contracts, Buelow Vetter attorneys stand ready to assist your school in complying with non-discrimination requirements throughout the enrollment process. As the same time, we can help to ensure that your tuition contracts and handbooks inherently address enrollment or enrollment related issues, including expulsion.

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Teachers/Staff

We truly respect the teachers, staff and employees of school districts for the exceptionally valuable work you do, often at great personal sacrifice. That’s why Buelow Vetter is dedicated to assisting your district with all aspects of reviewing and developing teacher contracts, evaluating teacher compensation and more. Additionally, when employment issues arise with teachers and staff within your district, Buelow Vetter is here to help you resolve the issue while protecting taxpayer resources and the educator effectiveness model.

In an effort to protect teachers, the Wisconsin Legislature has created special laws on discrimination, discipline, contract renewal and nonrenewal, discharge and even performance evaluations for teachers. The attorneys at Buelow Vetter are well-versed in practices and procedures for assisting districts and schools in successfully correcting performance deficiencies of teachers, and in representing your organization in the event of teacher nonrenewal or termination proceedings.

 

Additionally, we can assist in developing policies to enhance the relationship between student achievement, instructional effectiveness and the evaluation process.

Buelow Vetter’s team of attorneys understands that individual teacher and administrator contracts are a matter of critical importance within every educational institution. Whether you need assistance in reviewing and updating existing contracts, or developing new documents that reflect the latest laws, we have the expertise you need.

 

Since the adoption of Act 10, we have been developing contract components that reinforce school board policy and handbook provisions. These changes assist districts in improving recruitment and retention of outstanding professional staff.

When it comes to evaluating the performance of your teachers and ensuring that their compensation is commensurate, Buelow Vetter can help you evaluate and update your current program to ensure that your school is attracting and retaining the highest quality educators.

 

Act 10 has opened the door to innovation in pay for performance and merit pay programs, yet revenue controls have limited this new found flexibility. Buelow Vetter can help you develop sustainable compensation programs which integrate both salary and benefits, while taking into account current budgetary realities.

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Administration

Compliance with a myriad of laws impacting employers is a vital part of every school’s strategy to reduce risk and unnecessary cost. We’re constantly scanning the evolving employment law landscape to alert you to any changes that impact how you educate students and offer your teachers and staff opportunities for enrichment. Additionally, we are prepared to develop strategies to protect your interests, including checklists, warning signs and best practices.

Our attorneys regularly conduct training and seminars for administrators, teachers and staff on a variety of school-related topics. In fact, we often create customized training sessions for both newly-hired and experienced teachers and administrators that incorporate your policies and best practices. To facilitate this, we thoroughly review important topics that professional educators need to know to perform their job duties and prevent or minimize legal issues for your district.

Since Buelow Vetter has the privilege of serving as general counsel for many of our educational clients, we provide a comprehensive set of business services, ranging from contract review to human resources and personnel insight. Whatever you may need, we are here to help.

 

Contracts

Before you enter into an agreement or sign a contract with a teacher, a contractor or a service provider, let Buelow Vetter review these important documents to ensure that your interests are protected. We can assist you in protecting the public interest while recognizing the business requirement of school district operations. From privacy to remedies to protecting from liability, we can assist in the review and drafting of contracts.

 

HR/Personnel

Before you enter into an agreement or sign a contract with a teacher, a contractor or a service provider, let Buelow Vetter review these important documents to ensure that your interests are protected. We can assist you in protecting the public interest while recognizing the business requirement of school district operations. From privacy to remedies to protecting from liability, we can assist in the review and drafting of contracts.

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Religious and Doctrinal Issues

We are experienced in defending religious schools and institutions and their valued employees against allegations of religious and other forms of discrimination, including challenges to an institutions religious exemption from Title VII or local anti-discrimination ordinances. At Buelow Vetter, our goal is to help our clients adopt policies and procedures that uphold the law while celebrating the unique religious and cultural identity of their institution.

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Charter Schools

At Buelow Vetter, we guide public schools and other entities through the process of establishing a charter school, including virtual charter schools. In addition to assisting you with the myriad of issues and laws relating to your employees and students, we can support you through drafting and reviewing charter school contracts and determining which statutes and regulations apply to your particular school. Additionally, we can provide guidance regarding your legal obligations to serving children with disabilities.

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