Ohio School Administration Contract Lawyer
Farlow & Associates LLC represents Ohio’s school principals, assistant principals or vice principals, central office personnel, and other primary and secondary school administrators in contracts and contract issues, disputes, licensing, and other professional matters. The firm’s founder, Beverly Farlow, was a teacher for fourteen years before beginning a successful law practice several years ago. She has been recognized as an Ohio “Super Lawyer” in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Ms. Farlow’s combination of proven legal skills, experience representing Ohio school administrators and staff, and educational background uniquely position her to advise Ohio’s school personnel in legal, contract and disciplinary issues.
Contact a Lawyer at Farlow & Associates, LLC
At Farlow & Associates, LLC, our clients expect prompt and attentive legal services – and our lawyers provide it cost effectively. To speak with an attorney at our Dublin, Ohio, law firm about your legal concerns, please contact us by calling 614-734-1270.
An Overview of OH School Administrator Contracts
ORC § 3319.02(C) requires that all administrators must be issued written limited contracts. The contract must specify: 1) the employee’s administrative position, 2) the duties of that position, 3) the salary and other compensation to be paid, 4) the number of days to be worked, 5) the number of vacation leave days (if any), and 6) the paid holidays in each contract year.
The initial contract issued to an administrator may be for up to three years; subsequent contracts can be for any term up to three years until the administrator has served a total of three years; once s/he has served three or more years, s/he must be given a contract of no less than two years and no more than five years. The board may on a one-time basis and upon the recommendation of the superintendent, issue a one-year contract to an administrator. If the superintendent refuses to nominate an administrator whom the board wishes to reemploy, the board may, by a three-fourths vote of its full membership, reemploy such person.
In addition to these existing requirements, the legislature has added new mandates protecting the rights of school administrators. ORC § 3319.02(D) now provides that in any year in which an administrator’s contract is set to expire, at least one preliminary evaluation and at least one final evaluation must be completed in the year of expiration. The administrator is to receive a written copy of the first evaluation at least sixty (60) days prior to any action by the board of education on that administrator’s contract of employment. The administrator’s final evaluation must indicate the superintendent’s intended recommendation to the board of education for the administrator’s contract. The administrator is to receive the second written evaluation at least five (5) days prior to the board’s action to renew or non renew the administrator’s contract.
If a board wishes to non-renew the contract of an administrator, it must adopt a resolution to that effect and provide written notice of the administrator on or before March thirty-first of the year of expiration. If the board fails to provide written notice on or before the first day of June, the administrator is automatically reemployed for one year at the same salary plus any increments that may be authorized by the board, or for two years if the administrator’s service is of three or more years’ duration.
The newly revised statute also requires the board of education desiring to non-renew the contract of an administrator to notify the administrator of his/her right to meet with the board in executive session. In that meeting, the board must discuss its reasons for considering renewal or non-renewal; the administrator may meet individually with the board or may have a representative present as well.
If the board of education fails to provide evaluations as set forth in the newly revised statute, OR if it fails to comply with the requirement to meet and discuss its reasons, Ohio law now provides that the administrator must be re-employed at the same salary plus any increments that may be authorized by the board for one year. If the administrator has been employed by the district for three (3) years or more, the period of re-employment must be for two (2) years.
An administrator may not be transferred during the life of his/her contract to any position of lesser responsibility. An administrator’s contract can be terminated only in accordance with ORC § 3319.16. The authority to assign principals to particular schools in the district lies solely with the superintendent of schools, and a board of education has no authority to prescribe rules and regulations governing the assignment or reassignment of principals.
An administrator who has earned teacher tenure in the district retains such status while serving as an administrator. Any administrator who previously obtained teacher tenure in another district achieves teacher tenure in the district after re-employment with two (2) or more years’ experience as an administrator in the district. The precise date on which tenure divests has been the subject of controversy.
The board of education may not reduce an administrator’s compensation unless the reduction is part of a uniform plan affecting the entire district. There is no legal requirement that administrators be paid according to a schedule, although the board may establish a salary schedule for its administrators, with the exception that the salaries of the superintendent and assistant superintendents are reviewed annually and determined by the board. So, the board could “freeze” an administrator’s salary, irrespective of any raises paid to other administrators in the same district. Principals may be reimbursed by a board for official travel in the course of their duties, subject to board regulations, but not travel to and from home. The board may adopt a policy stating that an administrator’s expense may be paid for attendance at a professional meeting.
The board of education may provide vacation leave to administrators. Such leave may be accumulated and paid to an administrator upon her/his leaving the district, up to an amount accrued during the last three years of employment. Vacation leave should be paid at the rate existing at the time of separation. If an administrator dies, her or his unused vacation leave must be paid to the estate, to the surviving spouse, or other family members. See ORC § 2113.04, § 3319.02. If vacation leave is provided, vacation service credit must be given for prior employment with the state or other political subdivisions. ORC § 9.44.
Boards of education may adopt a policy for suspension of administrator contracts for certain reasons. All suspensions must be made pursuant to ORC § 3319.171. In the absence of such a policy, no administrator’s contract can be suspended other than as set forth in ORC § 3319.17. The policy must include at least one or more reasons (including the financial condition of the district), procedures for determining the order of suspension within given employment service areas, and provisions requiring restoration of contracts for administrators who have been suspended.
Contact an Ohio School Administration Contract Attorney
Questions about contract issues are serious issues which can affect the career path and quality of life for Ohio’s school administrators, principals and office staff and personnel. Contact an Ohio School Law professional with the experience and expertise to guide you through matters from minor issues through contract and licensing issues, even criminal allegations. We invite you to please contact us, or call 614-734-1270.