The State Employment Relations Board (SERB) upheld the clear and unambiguous language of R.C. §3319.111, holding that school districts may implement a new teacher evaluation policy in line with OTES without negotiating with their teachers association when the applicable collective bargaining agreement naturally expires.

The Parma Education Association filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Parma City School District Board of Education alleging that the Board of Education violated the collective bargaining agreement and collective bargaining laws when the Board of Education unilaterally implemented a new teacher evaluation procedure while the parties were in negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement and the current agreement had expired.

SERB indicated that school districts are not typically allowed to make changes to the terms and conditions of employment during negotiations of an expired collective bargaining agreement.  However, if laws specifically indicate that they supersede the collective bargaining rights outlined in Chapter 4117 of the Revised Code, then a school district may follow the specifics of the law.  In this case, R.C. §3319.111 specifically states that teacher evaluation procedures supersede Chapter 4117 of the Revised Code and any conflicting terms of a collective bargaining agreement when the existing collective bargaining agreement naturally expires.

The Board of Education did not violate the rights of the Parma Education Association.  The Board of Education acted within its legal rights when it unilaterally implemented its teacher evaluation policy and procedures once its current collective bargaining expired, even though it was negotiating a successor collective bargaining agreement.

SERB’s decision appears obvious based on the clear, unambiguous language of the statute, but this decision is important to highlight the management rights given to boards of education in establishing teacher evaluation policies and procedures through the House Bill 153 and Senate Bill 316 changes to R.C. §3319.111.