...The system spent about $104,000 on legal fees related to the department’s investigation, Edwards said.
Two attorneys representing the school system, including Muedeking, wrote a Feb. 28 letter to Pfeiffer arguing that Rock Terrace’s program does not fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The lawyers said some of their arguments were based on the department’s criteria regarding whether educational programs have to follow the fair labor law.
The program is exempt from that law in part because it is educational and does not involve an employer-employee relationship, they said in the letter.
The attorneys described the program in which students learn work-related skills at local businesses or school system facilities.
“It is designed to teach the skills necessary for students to transition from the comfortable and familiar surroundings of Rock Terrace through a curriculum that is designed to provide ‘real-world’ educational experience while under the supervision of the Rock Terrace educators,” the letter states...
...Lyda Astrove, a Rockville lawyer and special-education advocate working with Rock Terrace parents, said she wants to see more information about the Labor Department investigation and wants to know if the department contacted the affected Rock Terrace families.http://www.gazette.net/article/20140723/NEWS/140729803/1124/federal-probe-clears-rock-terrace-of-labor-violations&template=gazette
Astrove said she thinks the school and students are “absolutely” involved in an employment relationship.
“They’re generating W-2 forms,” she said. “That’s wages.”