In our May issue of School Law Review, we covered important dates and procedures for teacher nonrenewal, including the required May dates for evaluations. Unless a collective bargaining agreement provides otherwise, a board of education that wishes to nonrenew a teacher must evaluate the teacher in accordance with R.C. 3319.111, which provides that observations for teacher evaluations must be completed by May 1 and that teachers must receive a written report of their evaluation results by May 10.
In June and July are other important dates on teacher nonrenewal and resignation. Check your collective bargaining agreement for any additional requirements or timelines that must be met. Below are important dates and procedures on handling changes in teaching staff.
- June 1: Deadline for employers to submit written notice of intent to nonrenew a teacher.
- July 10: Deadline for teachers to submit notice of resignation. After this date, a board of education is not obligated to release teachers from their contract.
A teacher may rescind notice of resignation only if it has not been formally accepted by the board. After the board accepts a resignation, the teacher may not withdraw the resignation.
Licensure of New Hires
New teachers’ licenses must be effective as of their first day on the job, regardless of whether class is in session. A board of education is not authorized by law to pay a teacher unless the teacher holds an effective state-issued license. Treasurers and superintendents should check each newly hired teacher’s license for verification of the effective date of licensure. Contact an Ennis Britton attorney if your district has any issues with teacher licenses in pending status.
Nonrenewal Procedure: Timeline
- The nonrenewal process begins when the board of education passes a resolution not to renew a contract and the treasurer sends notice of the decision to the teacher.
- Within 10 days of receipt of the notice of nonrenewal, a teacher may file with the treasurer a written demand for a description of the circumstances that led to the board’s decision to nonrenew the teacher.
- Within 10 days of receipt of the written demand, the treasurer must provide the teacher with this written statement of circumstances. This statement sets forth the substantive basis for the nonrenewal and must also expressly state the reasons for the nonrenewal.
- Within 5 days of receipt of the statement of circumstances, the teacher may file with the treasurer a written demand for a hearing before the board of education.
- Within 10 days of receipt of written demand for a hearing, the treasurer must provide the teacher with a written notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing. The hearing must be conducted within 40 days of the date on which the treasurer received the demand for a hearing (see below for more on the hearing).
- Within 10 days of the hearing, the board must issue a written decision to the teacher either affirming or vacating its intention not to renew.
- Within 30 days after receipt of the written decision, the teacher may file an appeal in the court of common pleas.
A nonrenewal hearing before the board of education must be conducted by a majority of the members of the board of education. The statute does not permit a designee to conduct the hearing. The hearing must be held in executive session unless both the board and the teacher agree to hold it in public. The board members, teacher, superintendent, assistant superintendent, legal counsel for the board, legal counsel or other representative of the teacher, and any person designated to make a record of the hearing may attend the hearing held in executive session.
The content, purpose, and procedures for the hearing are not addressed in the Ohio statute. However, the Ohio Supreme Court has held that the hearing should be more than an informal opportunity for the teacher to express objections to the board’s decision. Therefore, the nonrenewal hearing should contain, at a minimum, the presentation of evidence, the examination of witnesses, and a review of the parties’ arguments. Other Ohio courts have held that evidence is not limited to the current school year but may include that from previous school years as well. Based on the hearing, the board will either affirm or vacate its intention not to reemploy the teacher.
If the board affirms its intention to nonrenew, the teacher may appeal the board’s decision to the court of common pleas. The court of common pleas is generally limited to determining if the district made procedural errors during the nonrenewal. The teacher may not challenge the board’s decision, and the court may not consider the merits of the board’s reasons. Therefore, the court may order that the teacher be reinstated only if it finds that the evaluation procedures were not followed or that the teacher was not provided with written notice of intent to nonrenew by June 1. If the court finds that either of these violations has occurred, it may reinstate the teacher but is not required to do so.