If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear Alice Cooper singing in the distance. School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean all is quiet in the schoolhouse. We know that many districts use the summer months to complete building repairs and improvements and dispose of old or unused property. Several boards across the state will also experience turnover on their boards this summer, as board members step down from their positions or move out of the district. To help districts, OSBA has created resources that answer some of the more frequently asked questions we receive on these topics during the summer months. 

  • Competitive bidding
    Under state law, boards of education must solicit bids to “build, repair, enlarge, improve or demolish any school building” if the cost of the work is over $50,000. Boards must also competitively bid any contracts for the purchase of school buses under RC 3313.172 and 3327.08. To help districts understand their legal obligations for projects that must be competitively bid, OSBA’s legal division has created its Competitive bidding fact sheet. The fact sheet reviews the type of information the board must provide to bidders, potential options for advertising for bids, and the process of evaluating and accepting bids. The fact sheet also reviews when a board of education may utilize alternatives to the competitive bidding process or deviation from the process altogether.
  • School property disposal
    Many districts will use the summer months to evaluate their real and personal property inventory and needs as a district. If the district finds itself in possession of unnecessary or unused property, the district may dispose of that property in accordance with state law. It’s important to remember that the Revised Code requires a school district to follow specific procedures when it decides to dispose of its real and personal property. The procedures that must be followed vary based off the type of property and its value. Check out OSBA’s District property disposal fact sheet for more information, including details about the new definition of an “unused school facility” that will go into effect on July 1, 2022.
  • Virtual participation in board meetings
    Remember that HB 51 only authorized public bodies to meet remotely until June 30, 2022. On July 1, 2022, the temporary authorization will expire, the law will revert to the “old” law, and school board members will again be required to attend board meetings in person to be counted for quorum purposes or to vote. OSBA policy subscribers will want to review policy BD, School Board Meetings; BDDA, Notification of Meetings; BDDF, Voting Method; and BDDH, Public Participation at Board Meetings to make sure that these policies reflect the changes in law.

  • Board vacancies
    If you find yourself with a vacancy on your board this summer, I encourage you to download OSBA’s Board vacancy toolkit. The process for filling a board vacancy isn’t complicated, but there are some legal timelines and compliance details that must be followed. OSBA’s toolkit includes a fact sheet that explains the process for filling vacancies, sample questions for interviews with board candidates, a press release your board can use once a candidate is appointed, and more.

If you have other questions this summer, please know that OSBA is here to help. Please call our legal hotline at 855-OSBA-LAW. Have a great summer!

Posted by Sara C. Clark on 6/3/2022