How to Prevent Lawsuits

By Patrice McCarthy

In 28 years of providing legal guidance to school board members, I often am asked: “Can I be sued?” -- quickly followed by: “Should I transfer my assets to my spouse?” While there are no guarantees against being sued, reallocating your assets is not necessary, unless you are feeling particularly generous. Most states insulate school board members from personal liability for actions they take within the parameters of their board responsibilities.

Even so, the distraction and negative publicity of a lawsuit are unwelcome intrusions that mostly can be avoided by using best practices. And, there is no better time than the start of a new school year to take stock of the  steps you can take in this area. The following 10 suggestions not only will limit your potential liability, but they also are best practices for maintaining an effective board.

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