Comprehensive Education Law
We offer experienced counsel in the entire gambit of education law and walk our clients through every legal question and challenge they face. Our team of counselors, advocates, and litigators possess a deep knowledge of the law and how it affects every type of decision that confronts a school district or public entity. We leverage this to our clients’ benefit in a thorough, practical, and personal way.
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The firm has a thorough familiarity with administrative law and practice. We have represented numerous governmental entities and individuals in contested case proceedings, regulatory matters, investigations and licensure actions before a broad range of administrative agencies, including:
State Board for Educator Certification
Effective representation of clients in regulatory matters requires both familiarity with the substantive law as well as the ability to effectively represent the client in an administrative environment. Our attorneys are experienced in providing advice and consultation during a regulatory investigation, representing clients in contested administrative hearings, and appealing administrative rulings in court.
Powell, Youngblood, & Taylor attorneys provide seasoned counsel and oversight for business transactions that range from establishing a business entity to drafting complex contracts. We have experience litigating contract disputes as well as business torts. Rick Lambert has served as legal counsel in litigation involving business disputes in Texas and other states. Blake Powell represented the Region 8 Education Service Center in the acquisition of a 125,000 square-foot class-A office building located in Pittsburg, Texas, as well as the structured sale of the service center’s former facility in Mt. Pleasant. Mr. Powell also represented the Region 5 Education Service Center in the long-term lease of two floors in the 17-story Edison Plaza, the only class-A space located in Beaumont, Texas.
For public school districts, strict compliance with governmental procurement laws is essential. Under Chapter 44 of the Texas Education Code, Texas public school districts enjoy greater flexibility in purchasing options, but must be conscientious in recognizing the sometimes subtle distinctions in procurement methods and their requirements. Where federal funds are involved, federal purchasing guidelines must also be considered. Our attorneys represent school districts across the state in procurement issues. For example, Blake Powell helped develop The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS), which is the Region 8 Education Service Center’s intergovernmental purchasing pool that provides pooled governmental purchasing options to school districts to obtain the best value for participating entities. The TIPS cooperative is expected to procure approximately $400 million in goods and its members for public school districts. Rick Powell has extensive experience in making sure that school contracts are compliant with state law and, when federal funds are used, that procurement protocols are in strict conformance with federal legislation. He is TASBO certified and has served as purchasing director for many large districts including; the Irving Independent School District. Rick Powell and Sarah Reynolds both work closely with TIPS on procurement, EDGAR and Department of Agriculture issues.
Representative transactions: organizational structures and business entities; acquisitions and sales; leasing; financing; foreign trade zones; economic development; Chapter 313 tax limitation agreements.
Representative litigation: breach of contract; breach of fiduciary duty; negligent misrepresentation; trust disputes; fraud and business torts; breach of covenants not to compete; misappropriation of trade secrets; collections.
We work on a daily basis with educational entities to assure compliance with civil rights legislation that impacts student and employee interests. We work closely with educational institutions to develop policies and procedures that conform to both state and federal law. Our experience in this area includes the investigation of significant discrimination claims.
Powell, Youngblood, & Taylor has extensive experience litigating contested civil rights claims. This experience includes, but is not limited to, groundbreaking litigation in the area of school desegregation, successful resolution of employment discrimination claims, litigation of academic freedom and First Amendment concerns and student and employee discrimination claims.
From developing unique procurement packages to creating and advising multi-step interlocal purchasing cooperatives, our experience in a broad range of bidding and procurement issues brings our clients the ability to maximize opportunities to attain the “best value” while complying with legal requirements. Our attorneys are experienced in litigating claims raised by unsuccessful bidders and proposers.
Our construction law practice is founded on substantive knowledge and practical experience in the area of public facilities construction. Our attorneys have extensive experience in the areas of construction negotiating and drafting contracts; insurance and bid, payment, and performance bond issues; purchasing laws; and working with decision makers to assure that they attain the best value in their school construction programs.
Our philosophy is that a team approach to major facility construction programs can greatly improve the finished project. Our detailed approach to contract negotiation, owner representation during the design phase and proactive legal representation during the construction phase results in the owner having effective representation throughout the process, while reducing the risk of litigation. We provide practical advice in developing construction contract documents, and advise our clients on how those contract decisions may impact the building process and remain alert for any potential disputes during construction.
When litigation is unavoidable, we have experience prosecuting and defending multiparty construction claims, with a record of favorable settlements, judgments and arbitration awards for our clients. In order to streamline the negotiation and contract preparation process, we subscribe to the electronic AIA Contract Document on the Microsoft Word platform.
Elections and Redistricting
We work with school districts across the state on local election issues, including tax rate elections, bond elections, special and regular election issues, agreements to conduct elections with other governmental entities, and obtaining preclearance for such elections with the Department of Justice.
Additionally, the attorneys at Powell, Youngblood, & Taylor have worked with public school districts, college districts and other governmental entities over the past two redistricting cycles in all aspects of redistricting and election law. Our experience includes:
Verifying boundaries of existing single-member districts.
Confirming the demographic make-up of election districts.
Evaluating compliance with state and federal election laws.
Formulating a process and procedure for adopting boundary changes.
Facilitating public outreach, conducting public hearings, and obtaining input from stakeholder groups.
Coordinating communication with media.
Preparing viable draft redistricting plans.
Providing comprehensive legal advice to decision-makers on compliance with the Voting Rights Act.
We have enhanced our redistricting capacity in anticipation of the 2020 census.
Our clients are commonly the largest employers in their communities. We represent public employers in all facets of employment law, from hiring practices and contract drafting and negotiation to termination of the employment relationship and representation of the employer in litigation.
Our depth of experience in employment matters allows us to assist our clients in developing employment practices and policies that conform with state and federal law, while seeking to maximize the learning environment. We work closely with employers in developing a record of employee performance that will protect an employer’s interests when dismissal is a consideration.
When educational institutions are sued in court, insurers depend upon our litigation experience and substantive knowledge of public education law to defend their insured. We work closely with school districts and their insurers to minimize risk of legal exposure, and aggressively and effectively represent educational entities and their officials in court.
Our litigation practice includes representation of clients in court through all levels of the appellate process.
Litigation and Appellate Practice
Our attorneys have extensive experience in contested case proceedings. We represent clients before administrative tribunals, as well as in state and federal courts. Where necessary, we are experienced in representing clients in appeals to the state and federal courts of appeals. Our litigation experience includes commercial litigation, construction litigation, civil rights and issues unique to governmental bodies, such as open meetings act cases.
Our clients are impacted daily by open meetings and public information laws, as well as legislative and regulatory issues unique to public educational institutions and other governmental bodies. We are well-versed in these areas and counsel school districts and educational institutions across the state in compliance with these laws.
Powell, Youngblood, & Taylor has decades of experience in public finance and is listed in the Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace (the “Red Book”). Our attorneys have devoted their professional careers to the representation of Texas public school districts and community college districts. As general and special legal counsel to Texas public school districts, we regularly serve as bond counsel or disclosure counsel in many types of public finance transactions, including the issuance of general obligation bonds, refunding bonds, maintenance tax notes, time warrants, qualified zone academy bonds, and qualified school construction bonds.
As underwriters counsel, our state and security law experience coupled with our depth of understanding of Texas public schools gives us a special vantage point from which to analyze disclosure requirements and support financial institutions in undertaking their due diligence. We pride ourselves on technical knowledge as well as unparalleled customer service. When our clients call, they will routinely reach a live person rather than a recording. We attend all the public finance related Board meetings to answer our client’s questions. We have found that attending to the small stuff makes the big stuff manageable.
Our experience in real estate law complements our education law practice. We assist our clients in the acquisition, sale and lease of real estate. We work with real estate developers where residential development requires new school facilities. We represent school districts in real estate disputes. Our attorneys have represented clients in condemnation actions and boundary and easement disputes. We are experienced in assisting public entities negotiate for the sale or purchase of real estate in conformance with state laws.
Our attorneys have devoted their professional careers to the representation of Texas public school and community college districts. We are qualified to handle the broad range of general school law and litigation issues that will face Texas public school districts, and bring significant experience in every area of school law to our clients.
Special Education and Section 504
Our attorneys have extensive experience advising clients on serving students covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Attorney representation is recommended for the following matters:
Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee (ARDC) meetings in which a parent/student brings an attorney or advocate
Training school personnel on special education laws
Filing and responding to due process hearing complaints
Due process hearings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Due process hearing appeals in district court
Mediation of disputes between parents/students and the District
Section 504 hearings
Drafting and Selecting Section 504 policies and procedures
Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Complaints
Texas Education Agency (TEA) Complaints and Investigations
Powell, Youngblood, & Taylor attorneys frequently deliver presentations on legal topics to various professional associations and organizations. We are also available to provide in-service training opportunities for trustees, administrators, and certified and non-certified staff. We provide training on a variety of topics and can work with you to develop a program to suit your needs. Contact us today to set up your next in-service.