The State Board may request legal opinions from the Attorney General and/or the General Counsel’s Office by forwarding their request to the Commissioner.  The Commissioner is responsible for preparing the question and necessary background information and forwarding the question to the Attorney General and/or General Counsel.  The Commissioner shall provide all Board members with copies of the request.  Any written opinion provided by the Attorney General or General Counsel’s Office as a result of a question by the Board shall be provided by the Commissioner to all of the members of the Board.

The General Counsel’s Office represents the Department and not individual Board members or staff members.  The General Counsel or one of his or her assistant attorneys shall serve as legal advisor to the Board and Commissioner at State Board meetings.  When the General Counsel’s Office will be representing the Commissioner of Education in a contested case in which the Board is the decision maker, the Commissioner will notify the Board President and Attorney General, so that the Board may secure alternate legal representation from the Attorney General’s Office or another source approved by the Attorney General.

The primary role of the General Counsel’s Office shall be to provide day-to-day legal assistance to the Department, including the Board, Commissioner and staff.  The Commissioner and General Counsel are responsible for making certain that the Board is fully informed of all pending legal matters and legal issues affecting the Department.

Individual Board members may obtain general legal information directly from the General Counsel’s Office.  The Commissioner will be kept informed of the essence of conversations between Board members and General Counsel’s staff, except when such staff is representing the Board in a contested case in which the Commissioner is party, or as otherwise directed by the Board.  When requested, the General Counsel’s Office will outline the strongest legal arguments on each side of an issue before the Board for any Board member.