Public Schools

With representation of over 30 public school districts and numerous individual schools, including charter schools, in Utah and several in other states, our lawyers will likely have addressed most of your school or district's legal issues, letting you devote more time, energy and resources to your students.

Kirton McConkie attorneys serving schools and school districts know the industry inside and out from a legal perspective and first-hand as parents of public school students.

Key School Services

  • Leasing: A schools must get the best rate and the best location possible for sustainable success. As specialists, we guide you through all the possibilities before settling on the most competitive option for your present and future situations.
  • Purchasing: Our attorneys assist clients with purchasing facilities and insure an “arm’s length” purchase price that is affordable and sustainable.
  • Financing: Through our experiences raising over $500 million in financings for schools, we have developed strong working relationships with all the primary underwriters and financial advisors to schools in the western U.S.
    We have successfully represented schools on dozens of tax-exempt bond deals and, very importantly, pioneered the use of USDA and New Markets Tax Credit financing for eligible schools, saving our clients millions of dollars by avoiding current market interest rates in the tax exempt bond market. Kirton McConkie is listed in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace (commonly referred to as the “Red Book”).
  • Refinancing: A common mistake many school districts make is choosing legal representation by counsel who are not well versed with the terms and conditions in the original loan documents. Often times, schools are prevented from negotiating a refinance on more favorable terms or obtaining additional financing to expand. Our attorneys understand how to get the best terms possible so your initial purchase puts you in an optimal position for long term growth and success.

All aspects of school and school district law

  • Utah State School Board: Working relationships can frequently resolve concerns with a phone call or an email.
  • Employment law and Employment Benefits: All large employers have to routinely investigate and deal with formal or informal charges of harassment and discrimination. Our legal team has represented employment concerns with teachers and students. Our team can quickly investigate claims and frequently resolves issues without litigation. Kirton McConkie worked with a number of school districts in Utah to create sustainable benefit systems to help school districts continue to attract and retain employees. We bring unequaled experience to the table in areas such as affirmative action compliance, including developing written affirmative action plans, representing management in union campaigns, negotiating collective bargaining agreements, and handling labor arbitration.
  • Immigration: The firm is well-versed in the rules regarding hiring foreign-born teachers, enrolling foreign-born students and handling I-9 paperwork for employees.
  • Separation of Church and State: We have represented schools on issues related to release time for attendance at the seminary taught by difference religious groups and use of the school’s facility by religious groups.
  • Open Meeting Act Compliance: We provide counsel on how this law applies to your school.
  • Open Records Act: As public schools, schools are subject to open records and must understand what records are subject to the applicable laws, and which are not.
  • Foreign Exchange Students: Many schools have benefited from accepting foreign exchange students and charging them tuition, but need to do so within the applicable laws.
  • Conflicts of Interest: It is inevitable your school will encounter one or more conflicts of interest. Relying on the skilled legal advisors at Kirton McConkie, you can learn to navigate how conflicts are handled and disclosed as required by law.
  • Cell Phone Towers: The opportunity to locate a cell phone tower on your school’s property is a little known financial benefit. We have substantial experience negotiating cell phone tower contracts on behalf of public schools.
  • Building Use Policy: Many schools find it beneficial to host community events at their school, however, it is critical these events comply with applicable provisions in your lease or loan documents, as well as insurance requirements.
  • Fiduciary Duty of Board and Liability: Board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their schools. On major decisions, it is prudent for a school to consult with an attorney on the legal nuances of what this really means.
  • Online education: As legal counsel for several schools providing online education in Utah, our attorneys are well aware of the multiple legal issues facing this type of education as well as the ability of traditional schools to offer educational opportunities online.
  • Retirement Plans Legal Compliance: We have advised several school districts on the federal and state requirements of retirement plans, including advising those notified they were not in compliance.
  • Insurance Requirements: As a political subdivision of the state of Utah, school districts have access to the insurance program conducted for school districts by the State of Utah. Our attorneys have experience with this relationship. Public school districts enjoy governmental immunity and  Kirton McConkie has advised them in maintaining the district’s sovereign immunity when negotiating or purchasing insurance, defending a school against lawsuits or conducting negotiations  in circumstances where litigation is a possibility.
  • Redevelopment Agencies: While the creation of a Redevelopment Agency can benefit a school district, the amount and length of the property tax exemption should be only the amount required to get the property developed, or it can simply unfairly increase property taxes on the properties paying taxes in the district. Our firm can help negotiate and represent clients on any proposed Redevelopment Agencies to insure the District does not lose millions of dollars in potential property taxes.
  • Intergovernmental Agreements:  From time to time, it can make sense for school districts to enter into long term contracts with other governmental bodies in Utah. Our firm has extensive experience negotiating such agreements to insure they are in the best long term interests of the District.