One of the benefits of having an Active Membership in ASA is the legal services that are available to this category of membership after six months of Active Membership. Active Members are full dues-paying members and exclude the categories of retiree, graduate student, and associate members.
Below are the services offered to Active members to assist them with specific legal issues in the context of their administrative employment.
- After six months of Active Membership ASA will provide up to a total of $1500 per fiscal year toward legal services (excludes cases already paid on previous years). This may include the initial consultation and/or representation by an attorney on the ASA Referral Law Firms/Attorney listing, or an attorney of the member’s choosing that is in Good Standing with the Arizona Bar Association.
- No approval of funds from ASA will be provided without a completed Request for Legal Services form.
- ASA contracts for legal consultation fees at a reduced hourly rate with firms and attorneys on the Referral Listing. It is recommended you consult first with an attorney on the Referral listing.
- The purpose of the initial consultation is to determine the viability of the legal issue or need for legal assistance. If the issue occurred during the scope of employment, the District or Board attorney may be responsible for the legal representation of the ASA member. Following the initial consultation, the member may continue to work with the referral attorney or select an attorney licensed to practice law in Arizona. However, the total legal fees reimbursed by ASA will be limited to $1500 per fiscal year (excludes cases already paid on previous years).
- If the ASA member is a member of a national affiliate, such as the National Association of Elementary Principals (NAESP), the National Association for Secondary School Principals (NASSP), or the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the ASA member may be eligible for some reimbursement of legal services from the national affiliate. A five hundred dollars ($500) deductible to the national association is required, which may be paid from the $1500 ASA provides if such funds have not been depleted by the member. The areas of legal services reimbursed by the national affiliates are restricted to loss of employment. It is the member’s responsibility to determine the eligibility for legal services reimbursement from the national association.
ASA provides legal assistance in the following areas:
- Drafting and/or review of employment contracts and benefits including third party contracts and negotiations with the Board attorney (upon approval by the executive director of ASA persons new to AZ may seek contract assistance upon initial membership in ASA);
- Assisting members in termination of contracts including contract severance and the financial value of contracts for settlement or retirement purposes;
- Drafting settlement agreements and negotiating them with the Board attorney;
- Breach of employment contracts, licensure/certification complaints and
- Allegations of professional misconduct, dishonesty, discrimination and sexual harassment.
ASA legal coverage does not include criminal issues, divorce or family law, or personal injury or tort litigation (except in the employment context).
To qualify for legal services, the area of concern must also meet the following criteria:
- ELIGIBILITY – The member must have been an ASA Active member in good standing at the time the problem arose and must make written request for legal services promptly thereafter. The Active member’s request must include a full and truthful statement of fact respecting the problem and must indicate the inability to obtain satisfactory assistance from the school district.
- DUE PROCESS – The primary goal of the ASA legal services program is to assure that Active members are accorded due process of law in connection with the employment-related problem.
- MEMBER’S CONDUCT – The member shall demonstrate that they have acted in accordance with professionally acceptable behavior and ethics and have followed District policy and procedure.
- PROFESSIONAL SIGNIFICANCE– A related criterion is professional significance. That is, the extent to which the member’s problem significantly affects the profession as a whole as a matter of legal precedent.
The determination as to whether the member has met the foregoing criteria shall be made by the ASA Executive Director.