January 2021 Texas School Law Section

July 2020 Minutes

Meeting Minutes

School Law Section Retreat
State Bar of Texas
Business Meeting
July 17, 2020

The meeting was called to order at 11:45 a.m. by Chair Marney Collins Sims (Cypress-Fairbanks  ISD) and the business meeting began with the Chair’s report. The Chair began by reviewing  Section activities from 2019-2020 including Access to Justice Foundation’s 35th Annual Gala and  the appointment of Tiger Hanner and Bryce Corsaut as Pro Bono Workgroup Liaisons and  recommendation that liaisons serve two-year Chair appointments.  

The Chair reviewed the proposed changes to Article VI of the Section Bylaws. The proposed  changes were as follows:  

Section 3. Report and Budget. The Treasurer shall submit to the State Bar of Texas  Executive Director by July by June 15 of each year a complete financial report for the  preceding Fiscal Year ending May 31 and a Section budget for the current Fiscal Year. The  Treasurer in consultation with the Chair shall annually draft the next year’s proposed  budget, which shall provide projected expenditures and revenue by July 1. The Treasurer  will submit the proposed budget to the State bar by July 15. The budget shall then be  submitted to the Section membership for approval during annual meeting of the Section  held during the School Law Section Retreat.  

Section 4. Depositories. The Treasurer shall collect and deposit dues income into either a  branch of the State Bar banking depository, or an alternative banking depository meeting  the requirements of the investment policy as set forth in Policy Manual Section 3.05 and  Policy Supplement Section 3.05. In the event the Treasurer selects an alternative  depository, he/she shall instruct the depository to provide directly to the State Bar a  duplicate of the bank statements, canceled checks and deposit slips. Any expense incurred  in providing such duplicates to the State Bar shall be borne by the Section. Bookkeeping  Duties. At the Section’s expense, the Section shall use the State Bar banking depository  and the State Bar Accounting Department for the following bookkeeping duties:  

(a) Issue checks; (b) Pay invoices within two weeks of receiving the invoice; (c) Obtain  approval on all payments as established in these policies; (d) Deposit revenue within three  business days of receipt; (e) Keep accounting books according to Generally Accepted  Accounting Standards. Revenues should be recognized when earned and expenses should  be recognized when a liability is incurred; (f) Reconcile bank and investment accounts by  the end of the month following the reporting month; (g) Prepare financial reports by the  end of the month following the reporting month: (h) Retain all documentation, such as  invoices, approvals, reports, etc. according to the records retention policy; (i) Calculate and  pay sales tax; (j) Collect W-9 forms for all contracted services; (k) Provide State Bar with  financial reports in a timely manner; (l) Provide section chair and treasurer with financial 

reports in a timely manner; (m) Protect the confidentiality of and access to section financial  information; (n) Provide financial information or complete other duties as required; (o)  Communicate yearly with State Bar auditors; (p) Provide explanation on budget-to-actual  variances.  

Section 5. State Bar Assistance to Sections. Upon request by the Treasurer, the accounting  department of the State Bar shall prepare a monthly and year-to-date section financial  report. Additionally, the Treasurer may elect to have the State Bar manage Section funds,  including depositing dues, managing operating expenses, issuing checks, and preparing  financial reports and budgets, at the Section’s expense. Treasurer Duties. The Treasurer  shall review and monitor the Section finances by serving as the primary approver of Section  expenditures.  

(a)Detailed transactions and checks are reviewed by the Treasurer upon receipt from the  Bookkeeper on a quarterly basis. Documentation of approval must be retained for two  years; (b) All invoices shall be approved by the Chair in advance of payment by the  Treasurer, unless the expenditure is made by the Chair, and in that case, the expenditure  shall be reviewed and approved by the Chair Elect prior to payment by the Treasurer.  Documentation of approval must be retained for two years; (c) All invoice or  expenditure approval must be done in writing by email to the Treasurer. Documentation of  approval must be retained for two years; (d) Any expenditure over $5,000 shall require the  approval of the Chair Elect in addition to the Chair. Documentation of approval must be  retained for two years.  

Section 6. Payment and Reimbursement Requirements.  

(a) A detailed invoice and/or contract shall be required by the Treasurer for any payment.  Money should not be paid to any person or company without detailed documentation.  (b) A reimbursement request form must be completed by the requestor (an electronic  signature is permissible) and contain itemized receipts and/or invoices or an explanation  for any lost receipts or requests that do not have back-up documentation.  (c) Vendors shall not be paid in advance of full completion of the contracted services with  the exception of reasonable advance deposits, airfare, or payments for subscription  services, such as insurance, rent, software licenses, etc.  

(d) Payment should meet the following criteria: (1) the expenses are reasonable and  necessary; (2) the expenses have been budgeted; (3) the goods and services have been  received; and (4) the contracted terms have been met.  

 Section 7. Fund Balance. A minimum fund balance for the section is defined as  approximately one year of budgeted operating expenses. The Section’s Board of Directors  and Officers shall review the fund balance in the event it exceeds one and half years of  budgeted expenses or $150,000, whichever is greater, and consider an investment strategy  in order to protect the Section’s principle while producing the best yield for the Section.  Any investments will comply with the Public Funds Investment Act. 

The Chair then moved to Legislative Proposals. She discussed that the State Bar allows sections  to propose legislation for inclusion in the Bar’s 2021 Legislative Program. The proposals that have  been submitted are available for review at www.texasbar.com/legislativeprogram. Any objections  to any proposals should be submitted by August 3, 2020 in writing to Emily Miller, Chair of the  Legislative Policy Subcommittee at govtrelations@texasbar.com or c/o KaLyn Laney, State Bar  of Texas, P.O. Box 12487, Austin, TX, 78711.  

Andrea Gulley presented the Treasurer’s Report for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. She reported for the  2019-2020 budget year: Total Revenue of $57,944; Total Expenses of $76,570; and a Fund  Balance of $90,749, which was decrease from last year’s balance of $109,376.82. The projected  Fund Balance for FY 2021 is $88,394.  

The Chair introduced Mark Tilley, Immediate Past Chair, to give his report on the Immediate Past  Chair Project regarding proposed changes to the Section Bylaws regarding the Newsletter. The  Immediate Past Chair reviewed the proposed changes to Article IX of the Section Bylaws. The  proposed changes were as follows:  

Section 1. Establishment. The Section hereby establishes a Newsletter Editorial Review  Board Communications Committee, which shall be composed of at least eight five  members of the Section, but not more than one (1) of whom may be a member of the  Executive Committee while serving on the Editorial Board Communications Committee.  The eight five members shall consist of six board three members and two co-editors chairs.  

Section 2. Co-editors chairs. Each co-editor chair shall serve for a term of two years –  one year as junior co-chair and one as senior co-chair. with t The senior co-editor chair  rotating off the Board Committee after completing their his/her second year of service  as co-chair. The senior co-editor chair shall serve as an ex officio member of the Section’s  Executive Committee. The senior co-editor chair shall appoint the junior co-editor chair.  The co-editors chairs shall appoint the members of the Editorial Board Communications  Committee, who must represent different groups and areas of practice within the Section.  Committee members may shall serve for no more than two consecutive two-year terms.  Editorial Board members may serve for two consecutive two year terms. In the event of  a vacancy in the position of senior co-chair, the Chair of the Section shall appoint a  senior co-chair to serve the remainder of the existing term.  

Section 3. Newsletter Communication to the Section. The newsletter of the Section shall  be published on a periodic basis, but in no event less than twice per year. The Newsletter  Editorial Review Board shall have sole control over the content of the newsletter, but  shall consult with the chair of the Section in exercising its authority The  Communications Committee is responsible for maintaining the Section’s website and  social media accounts, as well as communicating with the Section membership as  appropriate. The Communications Committee will publish a newsletter at least twice per  year in a format determined by the Committee. The Communications Committee shall  have sole control over the content of the Section website, social media accounts, and  newsletter, but shall consult with the Chair of the Section in exercising its authority. 

A vote was then held to approve the proposed changes to Article VI (Finances) and Article IX  (Newsletter) of the Section Bylaws. All proposed changes were approved.  

Next the Chair explained that due to updates to the State Bar’s Board Policy Manual for Sections,  the Section was not in compliance with two items. The State Bar requires an “up to date” website  and a minimum of two “newsletters” to the Section annually. The Chair turned the floor over to  Meredith Walker, Newsletter Editor, who was given the task to develop a plan to bring the Section  into compliance with the new requirements, including soliciting bids for an outside vendor to  redesign and possible maintain the Section’s website. Meredith then presented her report on  changes to the Section’s website.  

The Section’s Hotel Coordinator, Michael Curry, presented his report on future Section Retreat  dates and locations:  

• 2021 Retreat: July 23-24, 2021 at the J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa in San  Antonio  

• 2022 Retreat: July 22-23, 2022 at the J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa in San  Antonio  

• 2023 and 2024: Undetermined at this time, but possibly back to the Lost Pines Resort in  Bastrop  

Next the Chair introduced the nominations, elections and appointments for 2020-2021. The Chair  explained that by the Section Bylaws, the Nominating Committee (which is the Chair and Chair Elect) makes and reports the nominations for Chair Elect, Vice Chair and Treasurer and Directors  for confirmation by the Section. The proposed Officers and Directors were: Chair – Mari  McGowan (Abernathy, Roeder, Boyd & Hullett, P.C.) by ascension and nominations for Chair Elect Chris Gilbert (Thompson & Horton), Vice Chair Andrea Slater Gulley (Walsh, Gallegos,  Trevino, Russo & Kyle) and Treasurer Giana Ortiz (The Ortiz Law Firm).  

The Chair next announced the Director nominations: Leticia McGowan (Dallas ISD) and Brandon  Brim (Brim, Robinett, Cantu & Brim) for three-year term Directors. Leslie Story (TASB) and  Amanda Moore (TSTA) moved to the two-year term. Paige Williams (TCTA) and Cory Rush  (Karczewski, Bradshaw, Spalding, Nichols, Lamp, Langolois) moved to the one-year term. The  Chair then asked if there were any additional nominations from the floor; hearing none, the Chair  called for a vote. The motion carried unanimously.  

The Chair then moved to recognitions, and thanked the outgoing Director, Jamie Turner (firm),  who completed her three-year terms on the Section’s Board of Directors. A special thank you and  recognition was given to the Retreat Program Co-Chairs Leticia McGowan and Brandon Brim,  Hotel Coordinator Michael Currie, A/V Coordinator Cory Rush, and Pro Bono Workgroup  Liaisons Bryce Corsaut and Tiger Hanner. 

Mari McGowan presented the incoming Chair’s appointments for the one-year term on the Board  of Directors, who will assist the Chair in planning the Retreat for 2021. The appointments were:  Christie Hobbs (Northwest ISD) and Cory Hartsfield (Adams Lynch & Loftin). The incoming  Chair also discussed other business, which included the outgoing Commissioner of Education  Portrait. The Executive Committee approved the request to fund the official portrait of former  

Commissioner Michael Williams. The estimated cost for this expenditure was $1,200. The  Executive Committee proposed that this be a donation the Section funds in the future for each  outgoing Commissioner of Education.  

The floor was opened for questions.  

The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m. 

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