Aug 5, 2022, 9:22 AM
(From NBOA) On July 21, a federal judge ruled that tax-exempt private schools are subject to the same federal Title IX requirements as public schools in the case of Buettner-Hartsoe v. Baltimore Lutheran High School Association. Separately and shortly thereafter, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued an opinion with the same legal conclusion about
nonprofit status in E.H. v. Valley Christian Academy.
Given the potentially profound impact of this decision on the independent school industry, NBOA is partnering with the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), and the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW) and a team of legal experts to author an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of the school's motion to the Maryland federal court in the Buettner-Hartsoe case to reconsider its decision or, alternatively, to grant an immediate appeal. Our joint associations are also working with local, state, regional, and other national associations of independent schools and other education organizations to gather signatures in support of this brief. Separately, the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS) is authoring an additional amicus brief to advocate from a local perspective.
As stated in NAIS's legal bulletin yesterday, "it is important to note this opinion does not necessarily mean that all nonprofit schools must have Title IX programs today. The judges' decisions in these cases apply only to the parties involved. Any court (even a federal court in Maryland or California) hearing a subsequent case involving different parties will be free to make its own decision as to whether Title IX applies in the case before it. Courts, however, often rely on other courts' decisions if they agree with their reasoning or if they feel there is a consensus among other judges who previously decided the same issue, even though they are not required to follow those other courts. Other courts may use this decision to come to the same conclusion when presiding over claims alleging violations of Title IX against independent schools, and as a result, schools in Maryland and California may decide to exercise increased caution at this time. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that, given the school's motion in the Maryland matter, this case is ongoing and the decision may change or be overturned."
NBOA members are welcome to contact Jennifer Osland Hillen, NBOA's chief learning officer, or Grace Lee, NBOA's legal counsel, with any questions or concerns.
years is the target ceiling for a school plant's financial "age."