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Professional Support Plan

(Effective September 1, 2010)
The Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association's Professional Support Plan (PSP) includes a combination of the American Association of School Administrators’ coverage and RISSA's self-insured features. The plan does not provide personal legal coverage, but provides for improvedprofessional legal assistance for RISSA members. The plan consists of the following two tiers of legal assistance.
First Call service to a RISSA attorney is provided to active members. A First Call must be initially authorized and approved by the Executive Director. If the call is approved for referral to a RISSA attorney, an e-mail will be sent to the attorney indicating that the member will be calling and needs priority attention.
A. Eligibility
Applicant must be an active RISSA member at the time of the occurrence of the action for which legal assistance is sought. The member must also have been a member of RISSA for at least six months prior to the occurrence of the action for which legal assistance is sought.
B. Conditions for Submitting a Request for Support
1. Legal assistance may be requested given any of the following conditions:
a. an unfavorable evaluation,
b. a letter of reprimand,
c. suspension or dismissal, or
d. possible contract non-renewal action.
2. Written requests for all legal assistance must be forwarded to the Executive
Director with detailed documentation as required by the Executive Director who
shall provide those materials to the Professional Support Plan Committee.
3. Coverage is not automatic. Upon request, RISSA will make a determination as to
whether or not legal services shall be provided for the above reasons and as to
the extent and duration of the assistance. In making such determinations, all
factors will be considered including whether two or more members of RISSA are in
conflict, in which case RISSA may withdraw from the case.
4. Members may appeal decisions by the Executive Director or the Professional
Support Committee to the RISSA Executive Committee which shall be the sole
and final arbiter in questions involving the interpretation of policies, guidelines
and criteria for the RISSA Professional Support Plan.
5. If costs and attorney's fees are awarded against a member who is the plaintiff in
a civil suit, such costs and fees shall be the sole responsibility of the member,
not RISSA.
6. Legal assistance approved and provided by RISSA shall continue only to the
extent and duration that applicant is an active member of the Association.
7. If a member receives a monetary settlement or judgment as a result of RISSA
provided legal assistance, the expenses incurred by RISSA in providing such legal
assistance shall be reimbursed to RISSA out of settlement or judgment proceeds
except that the amount of such reimbursement shall not exceed one half of the
gross amount of the settlement or judgment.
8. Providing legal assistance does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the
particular case or complaint of the individual by RISSA.
9. There shall be a Professional Support Plan Committee (PSPC) comprised of
five members (three active members and two members who hold retired,
honorary, or associate status) and the Executive Director, ex officio. The PSPC
members are appointed for a two year term by the RISSA president, subject to
confirmation by the RISSA Executive Committee.
10. This Committee shall act on individual requests for legal assistance established
by this policy. The Committee shall also review and make recommendations to
the Executive Board for requested financial legal assistance beyond the financial
limits and indicated in this policy if it is felt that the case in question has
implications which are relevant for the membership as a whole. If approved,
legal assistance beyond the individual and group limits established by this policy
(see limits below) will be provided from a Legal Assistance Fund subject to
C. Limits of Available Assistance
  1. Financial assistance to members is based upon a minimum of one year of active membership in RISSA and is contingent upon available monies in the Legal Assistance Fund. RISSA will pay up to $500.
  2. Additional support is available from the AASA Legal Support Program, available only to AASA members in the Active Membership and Small School District categories. It provides for the reimbursement of fees incurred in due process and/or job-protection-related matters. After a deductible of $500, the plan provides an initial $1,000 benefit that increases by $1,000 for each year of continuous AASA membership, up to a maximum of $10,000.
The legal support program does not provide insurance to Active Members in all cases. Job protection coverage provided to eligible AASA members is for defense against due process and job action proceedings. In order to qualify, your employer must have instituted a threatened job action that could lead to your termination, demotion, involuntary transfer, suspension or other disciplinary action. You should report the initiation of a due process action or a job action as soon as you become aware of it to the AASA insurance plan administrator. Information is available at http://www.aasa.org/join-additional-info.aspx?id=2252 
NOTE: CONTRACT CONSULTATION SERVICE: There is currently no specific legal plan for individual contract assistance.
Policy adopted by RISSA Executive Committee on June 24, 2010; revised on September 6, 2012.