February 2020 Texas School Law Section

SLS Planning meeting 2/19/2020

Meeting Minutes

Submitted by: Chris Gilbert. Vice Chair

In attendance: Marney Collins Sims (Chair), Mari McGowan (Chair Elect), Chris Gilbert (Vice Chair), Andrea Slater Gully (Treasurer), Mark Tilley (Immediate Past Chair), Gianna Ortiz, Jamie Turner, Cory Rush, Paige Williams, Amanda Moore, Leslie Story, Brandon Brim, Leticia McGowan, Michael Currie

Welcome & introduction (Marney)

Treasurer’s report (Andrea)

  • Reports from State Bar are actually up-to-date this year
  • $91,973 – fund balance
  • New members generate roughly $18,425 in dues
  • Treasurer Report is attached
  • In response to a question from Mark, Andrea clarified that the decrease in fund balance YTD is because last year at this time, the State Bar hadn’t debited our retreat hotel yet

Michael Currie: Reported on costs associated with summer retreat

  • Some problems with dinner last year
    • Hotel claimed we had 100 people more than pre-registered.
    • Michael disputed the bill, got the amount reduced some.  
    • People may not realize that they didn’t pay, especially for adult children and their guests
    • Committee talked about possibly doing tickets for dinner, but nobody is thrilled with that idea (will make it less informal)
  • Decreased count on Saturday – lots of people walked last year.
  • Michael has done a great job handling the room block issue
  • Marney has appointed Michael as hotel coordinator (a Chair appointment for next two years)
  • Upcoming dates for retreat: July 16-19, 2020

July 22-25, 2021

2020 Summer Retreat Topics

  • Brandon Brim and Leiticia McGowan are in charge of planning retreat
  • Need 3.5 hours of presentations per day
  • Discussed 2020 School Law Section Retreat Topic Suggestions (see attached list)

Kelly Frels Lifetime Achievement Award Procedures

  • Marney recommends that the Frels Lifetime Achievement Award be presented at theFriday night dinner
    • The seminar to too busy to continue doing it Saturday morning.
    • Discussed whether to do the presentation before or after dinner?
    • Agreed to do presentation award during dinner, after kids get their food.
    • It was noted that fajitas always work for dinner.
    • Marney noted that she was disappointed that Wayne Haglund did not get a chance to speak at the 2019 summer retreat when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and proposed that he be given the chance to speak at some point during the UT School Law Conference. 

Section Website

  • Discussed whether we should we hire a company to create and manage the website
  • Adam Burton used to manage our website for the State Bar.  He has left the State Bar and now runs his own company – maybe we should use him?
  • Marney has appointed Cory Rush as AV Coordinator.  He will work on the website.

Suggested Changes to Section Newsletter

  • Mark Tilley has been reviewing this issue for the Section.
  • The Bylaws call for an 8-person Editorial Board – we just don’t do that anymore
  • Raises the questions of whether we still want a newsletter, and what its format should be?
  • Mark proposes that the Section merge the newsletter with the online function, and focus on online media.  This can also be merged with the section Twitter account, which Leticia started.

Suggested changes to By Laws (fiscal policy mandate and others)

  • The Section’s actions are not always consistent with our bylaws
    • 1-year board members supposed to plan retreat, but Julie and Mark corrected this, so we are now consistent
    • Vice chair supposed to do minutes, and Marney started this when she was Vice Chair
    • Chair elect supposed to handle CLE for retreat, and Marney and now Mari are filling these roles; doing more to ensure consistency with bylaws, but we need to continue to review bylaws and either conform practices or change bylaws.
  • We need to work on a financial/fiscal policy that is being requested by the Bar.  Marney thinks it should be fairly simple and consistent with our current procedures, which are already in compliance with Bar’s guidance.  Marney will finish draft and submit to the Executive Board before the July section meeting
  • The Chair has the authority to make appointments – AV Coordinator (Cory) and Hotel “Room Wrangler” (Jamie Turner).  Cory and Jamie accept the appointments
  • Marney will work on other proposed changes to the bylaws and send them to Mari for her to consider when she is Chair
  • Marney and Mark will send emails to everyone re: change to bylaws for the newsletter section, once Mark and Meredith have time to confer

Discussion about Whether to Pay for Rooms for More People at the Retreat

  • Section has a fund balance & can afford to pay for rooms to encourage people to be involved.
  • Discussed whether we should reimburse the Officers (who are required to be at the retreat) for 2 nights?  Could be a big monetary hit. 
  • General consensus is to leave it at one night for Officers.
  • Discuss whether to add complementary registration for those who are providing service to the section, like the Executive Committee (officers and board members), Newsletter Editor and the Room Wrangler, and any other Chair appointments.
  • Executive committee voted to do registration and one night room for people required to be at the retreat (officers, speakers, AV coordinator, hotel coordinator), and registration only for those who are providing a service to the section (Board and other Chair appointments).

New (Miscellaneous) Business

  • Retreat recreational activity- there has been growing requests for an “alternate” recreational activity during the retreat other than/or in addition to golf.  Possibly tennis or another activity that is more family oriented. It was suggested that the Chair include a possible survey question in the retreat evaluation about this.  Marney/Leticia/Brandon will include this in the retreat survey.
  • A committee will be formed to look at recruiting new attorneys to the practice of school law. Chris Gilbert offered to form committee and will recruit others.
  • General discussion of Tritico Reception at Summer Retreat; much appreciation to Chris for his long-standing generosity in hosting this event.  It has grown however, and we need to solicit others to help.
  • Mari is in charge of CLE and will apply for credit with the state bar for our retreat
  • Do we still need notebooks for the summer retreat?  
    • Mark and Mari will decide whether to use TASB or not to copy the notebooks at all.  Marney shared that her assistant Janet reports that notebooks are popular and often requested at the registration table.
  • Cory Rush is in charge of all things online and will work with Leticia and Brandon to get speaker materials online
  • Jaime Turner is the Hotel Wrangler.  She did a great job last year, and will work with the hotel again this summer to help coordinate rooms that need to be canceled and pair with those attendees on the wait list.  This is a huge help to the Section and one of the ways we are able to meet our room count each year without a penalty.
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