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 Legal Department-Office of the General Counsel

​​​​​​About Us
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) represents and reports to the Board of Education, Winnebago-Boone Counties, Illinois. In addition, the Office of the General Counsel is charged with the responsibility of managing the District’s legal affairs and providing legal and advice and representation to the Superintendent and individual administrators, in their official capacity. The General Counsel also serves as the District’s chief spokesperson in collective bargaining negotiations, coordinates the District’s labor relations with the District’s seven (7) bargaining units, acts as the Superintendent’s designee in the last step of the grievance procedure under each collective bargaining agreement, and serves as the first-line labor and employment counsel, working closely with the District’s Human Resources Department.

The OCG is staffed with District’s General Counsel, two full-time support staff (i.e., a Legal Coordinator/Paralegal and an Administrative Assistant II) and two investigators. The investigators conduct impartial, objective, accurate and thorough investigations regarding allegations of fraud, mismanagement of property and finances, and all aspects of employee, visitor, vendor, and contractor misconduct and negligence.  The investigators also provides input and recommendations to General Counsel regarding the practices and procedures of the Rockford Public School District to ensure their efficacy in preventing fraud, mismanagement, and employee, visitor, vendor, and contractor misconduct and negligence.

The mission of the Office of the General Counsel of the Rockford Public Schools is to effectively represent the District, provide advice and counsel designed to achieve ongoing compliance to support the District's mission, and to protect and advance the interests of the District and the students it exists to serve.​

Governance & Policy

  • Oversees the development of policy for the Board of Education.
  • Assists in the formulation of regulations for implementation on behalf of the Superintendent.  

  • Serves as legal advisor to the Board of Education, Board committees, the Superintendent, and other staff on legal matters relating to the daily conduct of the District's business. 

  • Advises the Board of Education in open and closed session, regular and special meetings. 

  • Advises the Board and administration on public records laws, open government laws and conflict of interest laws and requirements.

  • Responds to legal questions when requested by the Board of Education or Superintendent.  Provides such other information on legal issues to the Board of Education or Superintendent relating to the operations of the District as may be requested. 

Labor and Employment  

  • Provides legal guidance and opinions to the administration on matters related to labor and employment.

  • Collaborates with Human Resources and other departments on issues relating to employee collective bargaining rights. 

  • Assists the Human Resources Department on issues involving employee discipline and misconduct.

  • Represents the District in employee discipline and termination proceedings. 

  • Assigns counsel to represent the District in Labor and Employment law matters before State and federal agencies and courts. 

  • Investigates and responds to complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR), Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL), United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and other agencies.

  • Conducts internal investigations of District-related matters at the direction of the Board of Education and/or the Superintendent.

General Legal Matters 

  • Prepares necessary legal documents and oversees the legal compliance of all elections of Board members and for such referendums or special elections as may be called by the Board of Education.

  • Reviews, develops, drafts, and implements legal instruments, contracts, documents, and Board Policies for execution by Officers of the Board of Education or the Superintendent and in compliance with State and federal law and regulations.

  • Reviews incident reports when attorney liens are received.  

  • Assigns counsel to defend the District in litigation against the District. 

Business Operations 

  • Drafts and/or reviews contracts and memoranda of understanding (MOU’s).

  • Advises staff on matters related to bids, procurement and contracts.

  • Assists in reviewing and coordinating Request for Proposal's, Professional Service Agreements, and other procurement documents.

  • Supports financial audits and compliance.

  • Coordinates renewal of charter school agreements.

 Special Education 

  • Advises staff on State and federal special education and Section 504 compliance issues.

  • Assigns counsel to represents the District in special education litigation.

Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act

  • General Counsel serves as Open Meetings Act Officer.

  • Legal Coordinator serves as Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer.

  • Compiles documents and responds to FOIA requests.

General Student Matters 

  • Investigates and responds to regulatory inquiries from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

  • Facilitates child custody document reviews.

  • Oversees residency investigations.

  • Trains staff on abuse reporting responsibilities. 

  • Reviews court orders as they impact student issues.

  • Compiles and forwards documents responsive to student records requests. 

  • Assists school sites and student discipline office in suspension, expulsion, and transfer of students. 

  • Advises staff on constitutional issues related to student’s civil rights, including free speech, searches, non-discrimination and other related issues. 


  • Informs staff of changes in legislation, Board Policy, Administrative Regulations, sexual harassment, and other issues.

  • Presents training to staff on employee ethics issues.

Eth​ics Commission

Internal auditing​

Internal auditing​ is an independent and objective assurance, and consulting activity that is guided by a philosophy of adding value to improve the operations of the RPS 205.

​Contact Us
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Lori HoadleyGeneral
Yashekia GoldsmithDeputy General
Kim SemmelrothExecutive
Christine EuhusParalegal and Risk Management
Richard BockoverInvestigation
James McDougallInvestigation
Gregg WilsonSub-Investigation
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