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EDUCATION

School districts across the state have for decades relied on Friday, Eldredge & Clark’s focused and insightful counsel to represent them in finance, governance and dispute resolution.

We counsel school districts regarding compliance with the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act, Public School Employee Fair Hearing Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400,  the Voting Rights Act, Title IX, the Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 4071, and other federal and state laws governing school districts, their students and employees. Our education lawyers also represent school districts in cases involving constitutional issues such as free speech, religion and student searches.

Focused on Clients

  • School districts
  • Colleges and universities
  • School bond underwriters

Focused on Services

Constitutional laws - We have represented clients in constitutional law cases before the Arkansas Supreme Court. We have testified before the legislature on the constitutionality of proposed rules regarding such varied areas as wage and hour, education, bond legislation, and property rights. We represent clients in matters regarding legislation, initiated acts, and constitutional amendments. 

Bond Counsel - Our firm is among the leaders in bond financing for Arkansas school districts, representing underwriters and issuers as fiscal agents on behalf of the districts themselves. Much of our work is oriented toward bond issues to finance school construction, and we have advised virtually every school district in the state in financing their school facilities. We have also assisted major universities, including the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University.

General Counsel - We offer to district administrators and boards of education a wide range of other services, from employee benefit and contract advice to courtroom representation in employment constitutional, civil rights matters (including complex school desegregation concerns) and other litigated matters.

Labor and Employment - Our firm represents school districts and administrators in employment hearings under the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act and Public School Employee Fair Hearing Act.

Public Policy Compliance - We counsel school districts regarding compliance with the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Access Act, and other federal and state laws governing school districts, their students, and employees. Our education attorneys also represent school districts in hearings before the Arkansas Department of Education and in federal courts under the IDEA.

Other services:

  • Special education
  • Contracts
  • Elections
  • Voting rights
  • Real estate

Focused on Matters

Little Rock School District v. Pulaski County Special School District, et al., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12833 (E.D. Ark. Feb. 23, 2007) - This case began in 1982, when the Little Rock School District sued the other two Pulaski County school districts and the State of Arkansas in an effort to preserve desegregated public education in Little Rock and to improve educational opportunities for LRSD students, particularly African-American students. Friday, Eldredge & Clark became lead counsel on this case in 1987. After more than 20 reported decisions in federal district court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, this case has resulted in increased diversity through the voluntary interdistrict movement of students to magnet schools in LRSD and to other schools throughout Pulaski County, as well as the implementation of programs designed to improve academic achievement. In February 2007, the district court held that Little Rock School District is a unitary school district that should be free from further federal court supervision. That decision was affirmed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 2, 2009.

Lake View School District v. Huckabee, 370 Ark. 139, 257 S.W. 3d 879 (Ark. 2007) -  The lawsuit filed by the Lake View School District alleged that public school funding was inequitably distributed, but did not allege that the statewide level of school funding was constitutionally inadequate. The Little Rock School District intervened, in this case, contend that students in Little Rock and throughout the state were not receiving an adequate education as required by the Arkansas Constitution. After years of litigation, the Arkansas Supreme Court agreed, finding “that public school funding was inadequate and that substantially equal educational opportunity was not being afforded to Arkansas students.” The Lake View case resulted in substantial education reform including increasing funding for pre-kindergarten programs and for students who live in poverty.

Focused on our Team

The education attorneys have been ranked in Chambers USA (3), Best Lawyers in America (4) and Mid-South Super Lawyers (3).  

 

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