Ronald Wenkart has represented school districts and community colleges for over forty years. Throughout his decades-long career in education law, he has handled a wide range of complex matters including teacher dismissal matters, discrimination claims, student discipline, and First Amendment issues.
Mr. Wenkart has previously served as Deputy County Counsel in Kern County and Legal Counsel to the Kern County Office of Education where he advised schools and county agencies and provided legal advice to school districts. He then served as a staff attorney to the Orange County Department of Education, where he was swiftly promoted to General Counsel, a position he held for over 34 years. In addition to overseeing the Department’s legal affairs, Mr. Wenkart and his staff regularly advised local school districts, community college districts, the Orange County superintendent of schools, and the Orange County Board of Education in all matters pertaining to education law.
A recognized expert in California education law, Mr. Wenkart has held numerous leadership positions including serving as the former director of the National School Boards Association’s Council of School Attorneys and past President of the California Council of School Attorneys. Mr. Wenkart is widely acknowledged throughout the state as a thought leader in his field and has served as adjunct professor, written several articles on education law, and played key roles in legislative efforts involving education-related legal matters and funding.
Honors & Recognitions
In May 2018, Mr. Wenkart was honored with the Orange County School Boards Association’s Maureen DiMarco Award, established to highlight exemplary and far-reaching leadership in service of Orange County’s youth.
Kletzelman v. Capistrano Unified School District, 91 F.3d 68 (9th Cir. 1995) (U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied attorneys fees to attorney representing the parents of a special education student).
Chalk v. U.S. Dist. Court Cent. Dist. of California, 840 F.2d 701 (9th Cir. 1988) (whether employee with AIDS is protected by federal law prohibiting discrimination of the disabled).
Blake v. Board of Trustees of Capistrano Unified School District, 212 Cal.App.3d 513 (1989) (whether teacher was properly dismissed following 71 day administrative hearing).
Leeb v. DeLong, 198 Cal.App.3d 47 (constitutionality of school district's regulation of school newspapers).
Capistrano Parents Committee for Academic Freedom v. Capistrano Unified School District, Orange Co. Superior Court Case No. 46-02-32 (district prevailed on motion for summary judgment; involved fundamentalist religious groups' challenge to district's self-esteem curriculum).
Gordon J. v. Santa Ana Unified SChool District, 162 Cal.App.3d 530 (1984) (applicability of exclusionary rule to student expulsion proceedings).
Kern Community College District, 7 PERC 14229, PERB Dec. No. 337 (1983) (negotiability of the effects of certificated layoff).
Kern Community College District, 8 PERC 15016, PERB Dec. No. 372 (1983) (negotiability of the effects of classified layoff; discrimination against employees based on union activities).
Nunes Turfgrass, Inc. v. County of Kern, (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 855 (taxation of turfgrass).
- ADA, IDEA & Section 504
- Board Governance
- Business Services
- Charter Schools
- Construction—School Facilities
- Contract Enforcement & Collective Bargaining
- Discrimination & Harassment
- Education Litigation
- Employee Performance & Evaluation
- Equity in Education/Office for Civil Rights
- Public Finance
- Student Discipline
- Student Services and Disabilities
News & Publications
Events & Speaking Engagements
Mr. Wenkart has been a frequent speaker at NSBA, CSBA, ACSA, Council of School Attorneys, NSBA, and the California Council of School Attorneys.
Alerts & Articles
- SB 89, SB 117, and CDE Guidance: What Local Educational Agencies Need to Know About the State’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)03.21.2020
- Governor Calls for “Home Isolation” of Persons 65 and Older and With Chronic Conditions; School Employers May Grant Additional Leave, Including Paid Leave03.15.2020
- Court Requires Record of Threatened Litigation to be Included in Agenda Packet for Closed Session Item03.09.2020
Mr. Wenkart has published over 35 articles in the West’s Education Law Reporter, various NSBA publications, several law reviews, and is the author of the California Educators’ Guide to School Law (posted on the website of the Orange County Department of Education).
Community & Professional
Mr. Wenkart is a member of the Orange County Bar Association and serves on the Board of Counselors, Chapman University, Speech and Language Disorder Program.