Ennis Britton attorneys named 2018 Ohio Rising Stars!

We are very pleased to announce that four Ennis Britton attorneys have been selected as 2018 Ohio Rising Stars! No more than 2.5 percent of attorneys in Ohio receive this award, which is given for demonstrating excellence in the practice of law. Congratulations to these Ennis Britton attorneys!

Super Lawyers is a national rating service that publishes a list of attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

To qualify as a Rising Star, an attorney must score in the top 93rd percentile during a multiphase selection process that includes peer review and independent evaluations. A Super Lawyers rating is considered a very prestigious designation in the legal field, and we commend Pamela, Gary, Erin, and Megan for their continued achievement!

Pam Leist

Pamela Leist is an attorney who has been with Ennis Britton since 2005, when she began serving as a law clerk while attending law school. As a member of Ennis Britton’s Special Education Team and Workers’ Compensation Team, she represents school districts across Ohio on a number of issues including special education, student discipline, labor and employment matters, and more. She also serves as the firm’s marketing coordinator. Pam is a frequent presenter on many education-related topics.


Gary Stedronsky is a shareholder who has been with Ennis Britton since 2003. He started as a law clerk while attending law school. As a member of Ennis Britton’s Construction and Real Estate Team and School Finance Team, he provides counsel to school districts throughout Ohio on matters related to property issues, public finance, tax incentives, and more. He is a published author and frequent presenter on many education-related topics. This is Gary’s fifth year in a row to receive this prestigious award.

Erin Wessendorf-Wortman

Erin Wessendorf-Wortman is an Ennis Britton attorney. As a member of Ennis Britton’s Workers’ Compensation Team and Special Education Team, Erin represents school districts across Ohio on a variety of matters including labor and employment issues, civil rights, special education, public records, and more. She is a published author and frequent presenter on many education-related topics. This is Erin’s second year in a row as a Rising Star.

Megan Bair Zidian

Megan Bair Zidian is an Ennis Britton attorney who advises school districts on a variety of education law matters. As a member of Ennis Britton’s Special Education Team and School Finance Team, Megan represents boards of education on collective bargaining, student discipline, board policy, and much more. She is a frequent speaker at school conferences and in-service trainings for staff and administrators. This is Megan’s second year in a row to receive the Rising Star award.

Visit the Super Lawyers website to learn more.

Resignation Triggers Halt to Fringe Benefits

In an arbitration decision published June 12, a grievance calling for a school district’s employment benefits to continue past the effective date of a teacher’s resignation was denied. After three teachers retired, their health insurance benefits ceased, but the teachers’ association demanded that the school district continue to provide and pay for these benefits up to the end of the school year, defined by the contract as August 31.

The basic facts of this grievance were undisputed. Both the school district and the teachers’ association agreed that the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) contained the agreed terms regarding employment benefits. These terms noted that all full-time employees are eligible to participate in the district’s insurance plan on a “yearly basis.”

Three employees who had participated in the insurance plan submitted their resignation to be effective on the last working day of the school year. Because they had fulfilled their contractual obligation to work the required number of days, they continued to receive payment for the school year through August. However, their health and other fringe benefits ceased as of the effective date of their resignation or the last day of the month of their resignation, in accordance with the CBA.

The teachers’ association filed a grievance arguing that the fringe benefits should continue through the entire school year, as defined by the CBA to end on August 31, as the employees had received their paychecks through that period.

The district argued that its past practice had always been to terminate employment benefits as of the effective date of resignation and was able to show that it had consistently held to that practice. Furthermore, employees who were contemplating retirement were routinely advised of severance matters by the district treasurer, including notification that health, dental, vision, and/or life insurance generally would end as of the effective date of resignation.

Interestingly, the previous teachers’ association president, who had more than two decades of leadership in the association, provided testimony that when an employee resigns or retires, the employee severs the employment relationship, and the fringe benefits and other contractual entitlements cease as of the date of resignation or at the end of the month. Additionally, she had encouraged the association to bargain for fringe benefits to continue through the end of the school year but was unsuccessful in bargaining for this very provision.

The arbitrator agreed with the Board of Education and held that an employee ceases to be an employee as of the effective date of resignation and as such ceases to be a member of the bargaining unit covered by the CBA. The arbitrator went so far as to declare that the association is “estopped from taking a contrary position through this Grievance since it has been long-standing and it has been aware of the District’s practice.” The association, the arbitrator held, must bargain for this provision in the contract if it is so desired.

2018 Requirements for High School Diploma

Beginning with the class of 2018, Ohio’s graduation requirements will change. In addition to the state’s academic curriculum requirements, which have not changed, students must fulfill an additional requirement to earn their high school diploma. Students have three options to choose from to fulfill this additional requirement. (Note: The Ohio Graduation Tests are still in use for the class of 2017; however, these students may use the new end-of-course tests to satisfy the testing requirement.)

  1. Ohio’s State Tests: Meet the minimum number of points on end-of-course tests

Under this option, students must accumulate at least 18 total points on the seven state tests, with a minimum number of points in each of the three subject areas. The points given for each test range from 1 (limited performance level) to 5 (advanced performance level).

Subject Area

Courses Tested

Number of Tests

Minimum Points Required

Points Possible

English English I 2 4 10
English II
Math Algebra I or
Intermediate Math I
2 4 10
Geometry or
Intermediate Math II
Science and Social Studies Biology (or Physical Science – 2018 only) 3 6 15
American History
American Government
Additional points required from any of the above tests 4
Total Points 18 35

This option gives students flexibility in which subject areas to earn points – as long as the minimum number of points is met in each subject area. Thus, a high score in one subject area can help to offset a lower score in another subject area.

Retakes: Students may retake any test anytime during the student’s academic career within the testing window offered by ODE.

Alternatives for Science and Social Studies tests: Instead of taking the state’s end-of-course tests in Science and Social Studies, the following alternative options are available:

  • Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses: The tests offered in these courses will substitute for the end-of-course tests.
  • College Credit Plus courses: The grade earned in the college course will determine the number of points credited to the test.


  1. College Readiness Tests: Meet the minimum scores on the ACT or SAT test

Under this option, students may meet or exceed the minimum score requirements on the ACT or SAT tests. (Note: These minimum scores are known as “remediation-free” scores, which are set by Ohio’s college and university presidents; therefore, they are subject to change.)



Subject Area Minimum Score Subject Area Minimum Score
English 18 Writing 430
Math 22 Math 520
Reading 22 Reading 450


  1. Industry Credential and Work Readiness: Earn an industry credential and meet the minimum score on the WorkKeys test

Under the credential option, students graduate high school ready to enter the workforce with a job skill that Ohio employers need right now. Students must earn a minimum of 12 points from an approved, industry-recognized credential or group of credentials in a single career field, and then score 13 or greater on a job-skills test, WorkKeys, which shows their work-readiness in that job.

Students can choose from 13 career fields:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts and Communications
  • Business and Finance
  • Construction
  • Education and Training
  • Engineering
  • Health
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Law and Public Safety
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation

WorkKeys Test

Subject Area Minimum Points Required
Reading 3
Applied Mathematics 3
Locating Information 3
Additional points required from any of the above areas 1 (class of 2018 and 2019)
2 (beginning class of 2020)
Total Points 13 (2018/2019)
14 (2020)