Legal Assistance Trust

OSBA’s Legal Assistance Trust was established to help districts with the expense of litigation, primarily at the appellate level, which has a statewide impact. It is not intended to assist districts with routine legal services. Dues are based on the participating district’s average daily membership.

The Legal Assistance Trust Board of Trustees determines which cases to support and how much financial support will be allocated using the following criteria:

  • The district requests assistance through a board-passed resolution;
  • The legal action does not involve litigation between member districts;
  • The issue has impact or potential impact on education statewide; and
  • Trustees’ determination of the quality of the fact situation, the district’s financial resources and cost of the case.

Since it began in 1991, the Trust has provided over $1.2 million in legal costs. A case accepted by the Trust typically receives 50 percent reimbursement for legal fees. In some cases the Trust allocates more when the outcome could have a major impact on other boards, such as litigating the 2003 changes to PERS and the Forest Grove special education case that was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Public Employers’ Defense Alliance was formed to defend various public employers, including school districts, named in lawsuits stemming from the 2003 legislative changes to Oregon’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). The Trust contributed over $670,000 toward the litigation costs on behalf of all trust members.

A Board of Trustees, composed of the OSBA president, OSBA executive director, the president of the Council of School Attorneys and four other school board members appointed by the OSBA Board of Directors, administers the Trust.

Information about membership is sent to board chairs, superintendents/presidents and business officials annually. Or call OSBA at (503) 588-2800 or 1-800-578-6722.


  • Doug Nelson, LAT Chair, OSBA President, High Desert ESD/Board Member
  • Jollee Patterson, LAT Vice Chair, Council of School Attorneys
  • Betsy Miller-Jones, LAT Secretary-Treasurer, OSBA Executive Director
  • Sherry Duerst-Higgins, South Lane ESD/Board Member
  • Dave Krumbein, Pendleton School District/Board Member
  • Hank Perry, Douglas ESD/Board Member
  • Lyle Utt, Greater Albany School District/Board Member

Price information

Annual Dues

Annual dues may vary depending on action taken by the Trustees.  The Legal Assistance Trust voted again to reduce the cost of dues by 10% for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

School Districts
Up to 500 ADM $300
501 - 1,000 $500
1,001 - 5,000 $1,000
5,001 - 10,000 $2,000
Over 10,000 $4,000
ESDs/Community Colleges
Depending on ADM/FTE $300-$2,000