The Education lawyers at AlvaradoSmith help school districts, charter schools, community colleges, public and private universities, academic health centers, foundations, and other institutions navigate the unique legal and operational landscape facing the education sector.

We advise clients on governance, employment and benefits, and real estate and construction matters. We ensure compliance with environmental, student affairs, and privacy and personal information regulations. We guide them on maximizing the value of their intellectual property and managing their finance, procurement, and contracting systems. And we zealously defend their interests in contentious administrative and litigation matters.

Community Leadership

We help schools maintain their leadership positions at the center of each community they serve, and to create and nurture the partnerships they need to address a wide variety of student needs in an environment of ever-increasing scrutiny and transparency. For example, we helped one of California’s largest school districts in the development of several schools through public-private partnerships, as well as public-public partnerships that allowed the district to develop two schools in densely populated areas.

In addition, we have assisted colleges with the development of health centers, culinary programs, and workforce development programs that added tangible value to the communities they serve. We also have extensive experience in negotiations between cities and school districts, including the joint use of libraries and recreational facilities, as well as public/private joint ventures regarding a community college student center, bookstore, athletic facilities, food concessions, and copy services.

Management of Districts and Educational Institutions

Our lawyers have a long history of acting as general counsel for districts and institutions throughout California, and working with staff, administration, and school boards and trustees to identify objectives and develop plans for achieving those goals. We are active participants in the establishment and preservation of sound operational and fiscal policies and procedures, particularly in the areas of coordinating and managing outside counsel, streamlining legal services, and developing budgets to cover a wide range of routine and extraordinary legal expenses.

Positioning Clients for the Future

AlvaradoSmith’s Education lawyers have particular strengths helping schools and other providers prepare themselves for the future: expand into online programs that round out their curricula, modify infrastructure and administrative structures to prepare for the next generation of students, and rethink traditional concepts of boundaries, competition, and their relationships with other academic institutions.

Representative work includes:

  • Successfully negotiating on behalf of a college district and a school district a settlement regarding a military base closure, resulting in the granting of 15 acres to the college district and $60 million to the school district.
  • Overseeing a school district’s $500 million bond program for the acquisition and construction of several high schools and elementary schools and related modernization projects.  This included drafting and negotiating of construction management agreements, architect’s agreements, a general contractor’s agreement, and other related construction documents.
  • Representation of a college district in its $9 million acquisition of two medical office buildings and an administrative building. AlvaradoSmith also assisted in the district’s separate purchase of commercial properties adjacent to one of the district’s college campuses, for use in connection with the expansion of that campus.
  • Counselling community college districts’ boards of trustees on creating a process for the selection of a new college President/Superintendent and subsequent preparation and negotiation of contracts for the position of Chancellor/President.
  • Supervising the overhaul of and rewriting the public bidding documents and construction con-tracts one of California’s largest school districts.
  • Representing a large school district with an unblemished record of success in connection with its pre-condemnation inspections in more than 250 parcels for 36 primary center, elementary school, middle school, and high school sites. To achieve these results, we developed a streamlined approach to reduce pre-condemnation processing time by reserving court dates each month with the superior court judge pro tem assigned to oversee all eminent domain actions in the county. This permitted district staff to expedite large numbers of petitions in reasonably short order, saving money and avoiding unnecessary delays due to scheduling conflicts.
  • Negotiating and preparing a long-term commercial lease for an unused area at the northwest corner of the Golden West College campus that involved relocating a large sewer line running beneath the property, obtaining city approval to upgrade the college’s digital sign on the leased premises, avoiding interference with (and preserving access for) another tenant which maintains a cellular telephone antenna site adjacent to the property, and creating reciprocal parking and access agreements to accommodate traffic needs for the store’s customers and the district’s students. As part of this project, our lawyers completely revised a unified school district’s public works construction documents to conform to state law.
  • Representation of a school district in dozens of condemnation actions related to the acquisition of 72 separate legal parcels for a new high school and for new elementary school sites. In particular, our lawyers successfully acquired nine separate properties for these campuses, including two churches, a daycare center, and an auto reclamation business, negotiating the deals and resolving conflicts without the need for trial.