Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on

In today's Legal Ledger, OSBA's division of legal services is introducing its new vlog, Sidebars, which will feature short conversations about legal issues frequently raised on the hotline and other topics. Today's Sidebar is a discussion between Sara and Jennie on executive sessions, which is a perennial hot topic. We'll cover the basics, delve into new case law, and provide practical guidance on how to manage executive sessions. 

Posted by Ralph Lusher III on

The restriction on gatherings of ten or more people was first introduced in the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director’s Mar. 22 “Stay at Home Order.” The ban on gatherings of ten or people has been extended through various orders and an exception was never given to boards of education.  

On Nov. 16, 2020, the ODH Director issued a new Order, “Revised Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio, with Exceptions.” The Nov. 16 order states in Section 5 that the prohibition on gatherings of ten or more people does not apply to “governmental meetings,…

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Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on

If you have towering piles of papers, bulging boxes of student files, or teetering stacks of outmoded technology storage, and you’re wondering how to manage it all, check out our records retention webinar:

Posted by Megan E. Greulich on

Earlier today, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released an updated version of Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual, which is commonly referred to as the “Yellow Book.” The manual includes information about Ohio’s Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act (collectively referred to as the Sunshine Laws) and includes recent updates. The manual serves as a great…

Posted by Sara Clark on

All elected officials or their appropriate designees are required to attend public records training approved by the attorney general (RC 149.43(E)).  The training must be for three hours for each term of office for which the elected official was appointed or elected to the public office (RC 109.43(B)).

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office (OAG) has recently made the training available online.  As an alternative to a live three-hour certification training session, public officials or their designees can take the training online. The training consists of 13 separate YouTube…

Posted by Candice Christon on

On June 30, 2013, House Bill (HB) 59, also known as the budget bill, was signed by Governor Kasich. Effective September 29, 2013, the bill added a new topic to the topics that may be discussed during an executive session of a public body.

Under current law, RC 121.22 (G) provides seven topics, six of which are applicable to school boards, which allow public bodies to remove themselves from public view to engage in discussion regarding certain matters.

As a result of HB 59, school boards will be able to discuss an eighth topic during executive session. This new topic deals…

Posted by Sara Clark on

The OSBA Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) recently assisted the Strongsville City School District Board of Education by submitting a amicus curiae brief supporting the district's position in a public records case.

On March 4, the Strongsville Education Association (SEA) began a labor strike of the district's facilities. The school board hired temporary replacement teachers and continued operating the schools. The strike continued until April 28, when the parties approved a successor collective bargaining agreement.

On March 5, two attorneys served various public records requests…

Posted by Hollie Reedy on

School districts sometimes receive requests for public records citing the federal Freedom of Information Act, or "FOIA."

Are school districts in Ohio, political subdivisions of the State, subject to the Freedom of Information Act? The answer is no.

The federal law does not apply to state agencies or local political subdivisions, which include school districts, township trustees, sheriff's offices, villages, city councils, county commissioners, etc. [U.S. Code Title 5, Sections 551(1) and 552(f)] There are a number of Ohio Supreme Court cases noting that the FOIA does not…

Posted by Candice Christon on

The Supreme Court of Ohio recently ruled on a public records case between Columbus State Community College and a former employee. The ruling may assist school districts dealing with overbroad public records requests.

In the case, State ex Rel. Zidonis v. Columbus State Cmty. Coll., 2012-Ohio-4228, Sunday Zidonis was terminated from her employment with Columbus State. Following her termination, Zidonis made several public records requests to the college for certain emails as well as complaint and litigation files over a six-year period.

After receiving the public…

Posted by Candice Christon on

The OSBA Legal Assistance Fund (LAF) recently participated in an Ohio Supreme Court case between The Ohio State University (Ohio State) and ESPN. The LAF joined the Ohio Legal Rights Service, Community Legal Aid Services, and Northeast Ohio Legal Services, and submitted an amici curiae brief arguing that Ohio State was prohibited from disclosing the records requested by ESPN pursuant to Ohio's Public Records Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

In the case, State ex rel. ESPN Inc. v. Ohio State Univ., Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-2690, ESPN…