Telephone Consultation Service
TASB Legal Line 800-580-5345
Your district’s TASB membership includes access to the TASB Legal Services’ telephone consultation service, the TASB Legal Line. The TASB Legal Line can be accessed by the decision makers of the district at no additional charge to the district. Here are some pointers on how to use the TASB Legal Line.
Who can call the TASB Legal Line?
The TASB Legal Line phone consultation service is available, at no additional charge, to school district decision makers, including each trustee and the superintendent. Additionally, the board and superintendent may authorize others to seek and act upon legal advice for the district. Legal Services also provides phone consultation to representatives of TASB's other active and associate members: ESCs, educational cooperatives, community colleges, and central appraisal districts.
How does the TASB Legal Line work?
Consulting with TASB Legal Services is easy. Simply call our toll-free number, 800-580-5345, and leave your information with our administrative staff. On any given day, there are at least three attorneys whose first responsibility is to answer your questions. One of those attorneys will return your call, in the order in which it was received. Calls are answered between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm most business days. Calls initiated after 4:30 pm may be returned the following business day.
Will a conversation with TASB attorneys be kept confidential?
Yes. We have purposefully structured our consultation service to preserve the confidentiality of our conversations with districts. Unless we have your permission, we do not share the contents of our phone conversations with anyone outside of TASB Legal Services or duly authorized representatives of the school district.
Occasionally, more than one representative of a school district will call with related questions about the same issue. In these circumstances, please bear in mind that our confidential relationship rests with the district as an entity, not with any individual person. Consequently, the content of conversations may be disclosed to other representatives of the same district.
Do TASB attorneys give legal advice to people other than school district representatives?
No. Because TASB Legal Services serves TASB's school district members as if they were clients, offering legal advice to parents or other members of the public would be a conflict of interest. Similarly, we do not advise employees of a district about their employment rights.
Will a TASB Legal Services attorney advise a trustee who is on the minority side of an issue?
Yes. Each trustee is an elected official who represents the district, and TASB Legal Services responds to calls from all members. Remember, however, that we are here to serve the best interests of the board as a whole, not individual members.
Can the TASB Legal Line take the place of a district's private attorney?
No. We offer a free service that can be a money and time saver for districts. We offer advice on a wide range of topics, our attorneys all have several years of experience focused exclusively on school-law issues, and our statewide scope and deep connection to the policy and governmental relations functions of TASB give us a bird's eye view of Texas public education that can be valuable to school officials and school attorneys alike.
That said, the service has its limits. We do not provide direct representation of school districts. If your district were to choose a course of action and later be challenged on the decision, we in Legal Services would not be the attorneys you would call upon to defend the choice. We are also limited in our knowledge of the relevant facts and circumstances to the information provided in a brief phone conversation. Even seemingly simple legal issues can become complicated as one gathers more information about the factual context. In such circumstances, the district's own attorney is in a superior position to assimilate the relevant facts.
We do our best to answer every question, but when appropriate, we will not hesitate to refer callers to their district's own counsel.
Do the TASB Legal Services attorneys provide written legal opinions?
No. The districts’ private attorney should write any formal legal opinions for the district. Although TASB attorneys may provide callers with citations to policy, case law, statutes, and other legal sources to support their legal advice and reasoning, TASB attorneys do not issue formal letter opinions.
Does TASB Legal Services answer questions sent by e-mail?
Yes. We have a Legal Inbox that members may use to send questions by e-mail. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Typically, we will respond to your e-mail by calling you, not by e-mailing a response. We do this because we find that live conversations give us a better chance to ask you questions and offer more complete answers and advice. We will respond to your e-mail with a phone call on the next business day (or sooner) if you provide your name, school district, position at the district, and phone number along with your inquiry.
We welcome you to use the TASB Legal Line whenever you have a question or concern regarding legal issues faced by your district. After all, we are here for you.
Updated by TASB Legal Services, August 2010
This document is provided for educational purposes only and contains information to facilitate a general understanding of the law. It is not an exhaustive treatment of the law on this subject nor is it intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney. It is important for you to consult with your own attorneys in order to apply these legal principles to specific fact situations.