Oakland Unified School District – General Counsel

Closing on: May 30, 2024
Company Intro
Our Mission

Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) will build a Full Service Community District focused on high academic achievement while serving the whole child, eliminating inequities, and providing each child with excellent teachers, every day.

Our Vision

All OUSD students will find joy in their academic experience while graduating with the skills to ensure they are caring, competent, fully-informed, critical thinkers who are prepared for college, career, and community success.

Our Commitments

Provide every student with access to a high-quality school
Ensure each student is prepared for college, career, and community success
Staff every school with talented individuals committed to working in service of children
Create a school district that holds itself and its partners accountable for superior outcomes
Guarantee rigorous instruction in every classroom, every day
Job Description/Duties
The General Counsel jointly reports to the Board of Education and the Superintendent. This critical role serves as the strategic liaison between the Board and senior leadership of the District and leads the District’s efforts regarding strategic governance, legal and regulatory compliance, record management, and public/government relations.

The General Counsel serves as both the primary advisor to the Board and Superintendent on governance matters and serves as the primary legal advisor/representative of the District. The General Counsel ensures the effective delivery of strategic governance, legal and regulatory compliance, and public/government relations of the District. As a member of the senior management team, the General Counsel serves as a highly visible representative of the school district and a participant in all major policy discussions. In addition, the General Counsel:

Provides legal advice to the Board, the Superintendent, and the District senior leadership team on legal issues, including general public education law, special education law, labor and employment law, litigation and claims, contracts, bids, construction, real property, and charter school law;
Manages and supervises the District Legal Office, including the Labor Relations Department and the District’s Board Office; and
Protects and preserves the legal, ethical, and financial stability of the District.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES

These duties are intended only as examples of the various types of essential job duties to be performed. The omission of specific duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is a similar, related, or logical assignment to the position.

Governance
Manages and maintains the governance framework
Manages and leads policies and positions on issues related to Board accountability and anticipates response from regulators, the media, and general public
Assists in the formulation and development of Board policies and procedures
Advises the Board and the Superintendent of unusual trends or problems and recommends appropriate corrective action
Support the District’s five year strategic plan to ensure that every student graduates from high school as a caring, competent, critical thinker, ready for college and career and advises on major policy initiatives
Interacts with the Board, executive leaders, and risk management functions as well as external stakeholders, regulators, and government officials
Applies strategic thinking to provide input and critical analysis of new and changing policies
Collaborates with other leaders to conduct business impact analyses for both new and updated regulations
Assures the integrity of the Board’s process by ensuring that the behaves consistently with its own rules and those legitimately imposed upon it from outside the district
Advising decisions that fall within topics covered by Board policies, with the exception of performance or employment related to the Superintendent
Represents, as directed, the Board or Superintendent to outside parties related to Board-stated positions and in stating decisions and/or interpretations within delegated areas

Legal/General Counsel
Advises the Board of Education and Superintendent in open and closed session, regular and special meetings on all legal matters
Advises the Board of Education, Superintendent, school sites and departments on legal requirements, and the development of and compliance with Board policies and administrative regulations
Ensure all District employees and partners comply with laws, regulations, policies and the District’s strategic plan
Advises the District on public records laws, open government laws, election laws, including parcel taxes and bonds, and conflict of interest laws and requirements
Drafting of legislative proposals presented by the District to the California legislature
Draft and review legal documents including rules, regulations, and resolutions

Management and Leadership
Plan, organize and implement long and short-term programs and activities of the Legal Division
Select, train and evaluate the performance of assigned staff
Provide for continuing departmental staff training regarding legal issues, process and procedures
Direct the preparation and maintenance of a variety of narrative and statistical reports, records and files related to assigned activities and personnel
Develop and prepare the annual preliminary budget for the legal division; analyze and review budgetary and financial data; control and authorize expenditures in accordance with established limitations

Labor and Employment
Advises the District on public employees’ legal rights and duties
Oversees Labor Relations and other departments around issues relating to collective bargaining rights
Advises on employee discipline and misconduct
Represents the District in employee discipline and termination proceedings
Represents the District in Labor and Employment law matters before state and federal courts
Investigates and responds to complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and other agencies

Litigations/Claims
Investigates and resolves Government Tort Claims
Defends the District in litigation agains the District

Business Operations
Drafts, negotiates, and/or reviews contracts and memoranda of understanding (MOU’s)
Advises staff on matters related to procurement, contracts, and legal agreements
Prepares and coordinates Request for Proposals, Request for Qualifications, and other contract outreach
Supports fiscal services audits, waivers and compliance
Supports the District’s Facilities and Buildings and Grounds programs and services, including the Bond program modernization programs, local business program and Project Labor Agreement

Special Education
Handles state and federal special education and Section 504 compliance issues
Represents the District at special education mediations and due process hearings
Represents the District in special education litigation

General Student Matters
Investigates and responds to regulatory inquiries from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the California Department of Education (CDOE)
Facilitates child custody conflicts and abuse reporting responsibilities at school sites
Responds to student records requests
Advises school sites and student discipline office in suspension, expulsion, and transfer of students
Advises on constitutional issues related to student’s civil rights, including free speech, searches, non-discrimination and other related issues

Charter Schools
Supports compliance with Proposition 39 and charter schools facilities requests
Reviews charters for legal compliance
Perform related duties as assigned.

PREREQUISITES (EDUCATION, TRAINING & EXPERIENCE)

Juris Doctor Degree from an American Bar Association accredited institution
Ten years of experience in the practice of law, including substantial responsible experience as Counsel for a large, urban public entity; directly related school law experience is highly desirable
Active membership in good standing of California State Bar Association
Licensed to practice law in the State of California
Valid California Driver’s License, if applicable
KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS

Demonstrated ability to effectively manage a departmental budget and a team in a complex organization
Exceptional organizational, communications, public relations, and interpersonal skills
Demonstrated ability to think strategically
Unwavering commitment to the mission of Oakland Unified School District
Ability to distinguish relevant facts and assimilate and analyze facts
WORKING CONDITIONS

Environment: Office and school site environments; fast-paced work; frequently changing environment.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to: Hearing and speaking to exchange information in person and make presentations; dexterity of hands and fingers to operate a computer keyboard; seeing to monitor various activities and read documents, and view computer monitors; traveling off-site; sitting or standing for extended periods of time; kneeling, bending at the waist, and reaching overhead, above the shoulders, and horizontally; lifting light objects.

NON_DISCRIMINATION POLICY

The Oakland Unified School District does not discriminate in any program, activity, or in employment on the basis of actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, veteran status, gender, sex, or sexual orientation.

Primary Location: Office of the Superintendent
Job Criteria
Demonstrated ability to effectively manage a departmental budget and a team in a complex organization
Exceptional organizational, communications, public relations, and interpersonal skills
Demonstrated ability to think strategically
Unwavering commitment to the mission of Oakland Unified School District
Ability to distinguish relevant facts and assimilate and analyze facts
Salary Range/Hourly Rate
$207,723.63 – $226,985.22 / Contract
Other Benefits and Perks
100% Employer paid Health, Dental and Vision Plan Insurance. Employee plus family coverage
California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)
Commuter and Health & Dependent Care Tax Free Spending Accounts
Employee Assistance Program, offered through The Hartford Group
Annual travel allowance ($7,200 a year paid over 12 months)
Annual $600 cell phone allowance
Annual $1,200 Master’s stipend
Annual $3,000 Doctorate stipend
Life Insurance: automatic enrollment upon hire in $25,000 group Accidental Death or Dismemberment coverage with ability to add additional self-paid coverage through Voya Insurance group
20 days paid vacation and 14 paid holidays per calendar year
403(b) and 457 Retirement Plans
Job Category: Classified Confidential
Job Type: Full Time
Job Location: Oakland Office of the Superintendent