We wanted to direct your attention to two new legal resources that can be used by school attorneys, board members, and the districts they serve.

  • Academic Distress Commissions
    House bill 70, which was signed by Gov. John Kasich on July 16, made significant changes to state academic distress commissions. Under the new law, which will become effective on October 15, the superintendent of public instruction is required to establish an academic distress commission for any school district that: 1) receives an overall grade of “F” for three consecutive years; or 2) had an academic distress commission in place for at least four years as of October 15. The commission is made up of three appointees of the state superintendent, an appointee of the city mayor, and a district teacher appointed by the school board president. The commission is responsible for hiring a district CEO, who has full managerial and operational control of the district. 

    OSBA has posted resources on its website that summarize the changes set forth in HB 70, including information on the operation and authority of the new academic distress commission, responsibilities and powers of the district CEO, and the process for mayoral selection of boards of education.

    OSBA is also encouraging boards of education to adopt a resolution objecting to the manner in which HB 70 was passed and questioning how district reforms and improvements can be achieved without involving and engaging the elected board of education and the communities they serve.

  • Same-sex marriage
    On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that the U.S. Constitution requires states to recognize and license a marriage between two people of the same sex. In light of the Obergefell decision, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) has partnered with the National Education Association and the School Superintendents Association to publish “Same Sex-Marriage: What the Obergefell Decision Means for School Districts.”

    The guidance document addresses a number of questions that school leaders may have related to the court’s decision, including the potential impact on health insurance, retirement benefits, personal leave, collective bargaining agreements, and other areas of employer-employee relations.

If you are looking for other guidance documents or have suggestions for the development of other publications that might assist you, please don’t hesitate to contact OSBA’s division of legal services. 

Posted by Sara Clark on 8/3/2015