The Teacher Contract
Ohio teachers work under one of two basic types of contracts–limited or continuing. Limited contracts must be renewed periodically. State statute or your collective bargaining agreement determine the procedure the employer must use to non-renew a limited contract. A continuing contract remains in effect until a teacher dies, resigns, voluntarily retires, is suspended or terminated for cause.
Supplemental: Supplemental contracts are limited contracts issued for extra duties assigned beyond the regular teaching assignment. Contracts must set forth in writing the additional duties to be performed and must specify compensation to be paid for that assignment. Supplemental contracts should cover all educational responsibilities outside the regular teaching assignment other than voluntary duties. There is no notice requirement for termination of supplemental contracts, unless otherwise negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement.
Types of Licenses
Resident Educator (Four-Year)–Upon completion of an approved teacher education program, graduates are given a four-yearl Resident Educator license, which may be used for full-time or substitute teaching. The Resident Educator license is non-renewable, but may be extended on a case-by-case basis. Advancement to a five-year Professional Educator License requires the successful completion of a four-year Resident Educator Program.
Reading Requirement for Teachers Holding the Following Resident Educator Licenses: Early Childhood Education, Middle Childhood Education, and Intervention Specialist. Newly-licensed teachers who hold the resident educator license in early childhood, middle childhood, or intervention specialist should be mindful of how many semester hours of reading they completed during their pre-service teacher education program. Some teacher education institutions require that graduates in these fields complete six semester hours of reading, including instruction in phonics, in order to qualify for graduation and the two-year provisional license. Other teacher education institutions require students to complete 12 semester credit hours. Because the five-year professional license for early childhood, middle childhood, or intervention specialist requires a minimum of twelve (12) semester credit hours, or the equivalent, in reading including phonics, newly-licensed teachers should determine whether they need to take additional hours in reading to meet the twelve-hour requirement. Assuming that the teacher has completed course work in the teaching of phonics, additional reading courses might address a range of instructional strategies for teaching reading, the assessment of reading skills, and the diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties. If a resident educator license holder has not completed the necessary course work before the expiration of the license, her/his application for a professional license will be denied.
Professional (Five-Year)—Conversion from the Resident Educator (four-year) license to the Professional Educator (five-year) license requires completion of a four-year Resident Educator Program in an assignment under the four-year Resident Educator license, including a state-required summative prescribed performance assessment.. No additional professional development credits are required, except as explained below.
Senior Professional Educator (Five-Year)—Advancement to a Senior Professional Educator license (five-year) from a Professional Educator license (five-year) requires that an educator meet the following requirements: 1) Have a Master’s degree or higher from an institution of higher education accredited by a regional accrediting organization; 2) have nine years experience teaching under a standard teaching license with 120 days of service as defined by ORC, of which at least five years are under a professional/permanent license/certificate; and 3) have successfully completed the Master Teacher Portfolio.
Lead Professional Educator (Five-Year)— Advancement to a Lead Professional Educator license (five-year) from a Professional Educator license (five-year) requires that an educator meet the following requirements: 1) Have a Master’s degree or higher from an institution of higher education accredited by a regional accrediting organization; 2) have nine years experience teaching under a standard teaching license with 120 days of service as defined by ORC, of which at least five years are under a professional/permanent license/certificate; and 3) have successfully completed the Master Teacher Portfolio AND earned the Teacher Leader Endorsement OR hold active National Board Certification.
Professional Development for Licensure Renewal
An educator’s Individual Professional Development Plan [IPDP] must be filed with and approved by the Local Professional Development Committee[LPDC] prior to earning credits for course work or continuing education to renew a license or to transition from a certificate to a license.
Transitioning to or Renewing a Professional (Five-Year) License—Transition from an eight-year professional certificate to a professional license requires the completion of a combination of course work, CEUs or other equivalent educational activities, equal to six semester hours, according to an LPDC-approved Individual Professional Development Plan and in accordance with LPDC criteria for professional development. There is no provision for reducing the course work or professional development requirements on the basis of work experience.
Professional License (Five-Year) renewals—The educator must successfully earn six (6) semester hours or 18 CEUs or other LPDC-approved educational activities, according to an LPDC-approved Individual Professional Development Plan and in accordance with LPDC criteria for professional development.
For more information about the Ohio’s licensure standards, including fees for application, contact the Office of Educator Licensure at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), 25 S. Front St., Columbus, OH 43215- 4183, (614) 466-2006 or visit the center’s website at www.ode.state.oh.us.
The necessary application for a new certificate or license or a renewal may be obtained at the ODE. An LPDC must review an individual’s professional development and verify that it meets the requirements for renewal before ODE will act on an application for renewal. For current licensure fees, visit ODE’s website search term “Educator License Applications.”
Teacher Sick Leave
The law requires that teachers be permitted to accumulate at least 120 days of sick leave at the rate of 15 days per year credited at the rate of one and one-fourth days per month. Many boards permit unlimited accumulation, based upon negotiated contracts. Teachers are entitled to an advance of five days of sick leave at the beginning of the school year.
The law permits the use of sick leave for personal illness, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, injury, exposure to a contagious disease, and absence due to illness, injury, or death in the employee’s immediate family.
Under the law, teachers who are disabled and who have exhausted their sick leave are entitled to unpaid leave for the duration of their disability, not to exceed two years, and may receive leave renewals after the two-year period has expired.
Members wishing to take a leave of absence for reasons of maternity, adoption or child rearing may be granted such leave based upon negotiated contracts. They may be entitled to such leave under equal employment opportunity laws and under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
Important Teacher Dates
April 30: Teachers with limited contracts which expire in the current year must be evaluated at least twice and must be notified in writing no later than April 30 of the board of education’s nonrenewal action based on the superintendent’s written recommendation not to re-employ. Failure of a board to provide such notice automatically results in re-employment. Each nonrenewed teacher is entitled to a written statement of circumstances surrounding the nonrenewal and to a board of education hearing. Check your locally bargained contract to make certain these requirements have not been modified.
June 1: Unless teachers notify the board of education in writing to the contrary by June 1, they are presumed to have accepted re-employment under the provisions of the contract offered by the board.
July 1: If teachers have a valid outstanding contract, they must be notified in writing by July 1 of their salary for the coming school year. The salary may be increased due to schedule improvements through negotiations.
July 10: A teacher with a contract covering the ensuing school year is free to resign after the current school session up to July 10 with five days’ notice. After July 10, the teacher must have the board’s consent or face a possible suspension of up to one year of his or her Ohio teaching certificate by the State Board of Education.
A member of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) may retire by meeting one of the following requirements:
- Age 55 with 25 years of service.
- Age 60 with 5 years of service.
In addition, STRS has recently improved the benefit calculation for those with 35 or more years of contributing service.
The formula for computing retirement income takes into consideration age at retirement, the number of years of Ohio service credit and average salary (average of three highest years of earnings). Written application for retirement must be made on a form provided by STRS with service retirement generally effective the first day of the month following the last day for which compensation was paid.
Termination of Service: If a teacher ends employment covered by STRS, deposits may be left in the system or withdrawn. Before making that decision, the teacher should make a thorough study to see which is more beneficial.
What Teachers Pay: 10 percent of total earnings is deposited to the retirement account. This account, together with the service credit it represents, provides three types of financial protection: (1) survivor benefits; (2) disability retirement benefits for the STRS member; (3) service retirement benefits.
Other Features: For the retired teacher, the retirement program provides a hospitalization plan, for a fee, that also can cover spouses and eligible dependents, and a $1,000 death benefit.
Teachers who are employed by county boards of mental retardation/ developmental disabilities are members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) or the STRS depending upon certification. The OPERS requirements for retirement are similar to those for STRS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information concerning your retirement benefits, contact STRS, 275 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215- 3771, (888) 227-7877, website: www.strsoh.org; or OPERS, 277 E. Town St., Columbus, OH 43215, (800) 222-7377, website:www.opers.org.
Teacher Severance Pay
Teachers can receive severance pay based upon accumulated unused sick leave at the time of retirement. Payment may be for all or part of accumulated unused sick leave based upon the policy in force in the district or the negotiated contract. If the district has no policy or there is no local contract language on this point, the law provides for severance pay in an amount equal to one-fourth of the accrued unused sick leave, up to a maximum accrual of 30 days. A teacher may carry accumulated sick leave from one school district to another, provided the break in service between jobs does not exceed ten years.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and various Ohio state laws offer protection against discrimination in the areas of supplemental salaries, pregnancy leave, promotion, termination, transfer and other areas. If a member believes he or she is being discriminated against for legally proscribed reasons, the member should contact his/her OEA/NEA Labor Relations Consultant.
Removing Disruptive Pupils from Class
Ohio law gives teachers the legal right to remove disruptive pupils from the classroom. OEA-backed legislation gives teachers the right to “remove a pupil from curricular or extra curricular activities” with the condition that the teacher submit written reasons for the removal to the principal as soon as possible. This right applies when, in the judgment of the teacher, the “pupil’s presence poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process.” In addition to regular suspension and expulsion, the law also permits a school district to permanently expel a pupil under certain circumstances.
Children with identified learning disabilities are subject to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law which may guide how to deal with disruptive students with such disabilities.
Teachers and Corporal Punishment
Corporal punishment is prohibited in Ohio schools unless a school board has established a policy that permits it. If your school board has a policy permitting corporal punishment, get a copy of that policy and adhere strictly to it when considering the use of corporal punishment. If you are unsure whether your district has a policy permitting it, refrain from using corporal punishment until you are certain of your school district’s policy.
Ohio law allows the use of such amount of force and restraint as is “reasonable and necessary” to quell a disturbance which threatens physical injury to others, to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects within the pupil’s control, for the purpose of self-defense or for the protection of persons or property.