As March begins, several actions must be taken soon regarding the continued employment of administrators in your district. This communication is intended to briefly remind you of those actions.
Who are we talking about? Anyone employed under an administrative employment contract pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 3319.02, including, but not be limited to, assistant superintendents, directors, coordinators, principals, assistant principals and non-certificated administrators who are management/supervisory-level employees. This excludes the superintendent, the treasurer and, where applicable, the business manager.
Evaluation requirements: Ohio Revised Code Section 3319.02 requires each board of education to adopt an administrative evaluation procedure and to consider the results of those evaluations when deciding whether to renew an administrator's employment contract. The evaluation is to be performed by the superintendent or designee, but the statute does not require that an administrator receive a negative evaluation before a nonrenewal of the employment contract can be made.
In any school year that the administrator's contract of employment is not due to expire, the statute requires that at least one evaluation be completed. A written copy of that evaluation shall be provided to the administrator no later than the end of the administrator's contract year as defined by the administrator's annual salary notice.
In any school year that the administrator's contract of employment is due to expire, at least a preliminary evaluation and at least a final evaluation shall be completed. A written copy of the preliminary evaluation shall be provided to the administrator at least sixty (60) days prior to any action by the board of education on the administrator's contract of employment. The final evaluation shall contain the superintendent's intended recommendation (to renew or nonrenew) to the board of education regarding a contract of employment for the administrator. A written copy of the final evaluation shall be provided to the administrator at least five (5) days prior to the board's action to renew or not renew the contract.
Since the action to nonrenew an administrative contract must be taken by the board and notice served on the administrator by March 31 of the year in which the administrative contract expires, the preliminary evaluation should be completed and given to the administrator by early January.
What other notices and actions are necessary? Separate from the evaluation procedures is a statutory requirement that the administrator receive a written notice from the board (can be from the treasurer or superintendent) that advises the administrator of the date when his/her administrative contract is to expire and that the administrator may meet with the board to discuss the renewal or nonrenewal of the administrative contract in executive session. The administrator must also be advised that he/she may be accompanied at that meeting by a representative of his/her choice. Since this requirement seeks to provide the administrator the opportunity to discuss the board's action on the employment contract, the meeting should take place, if one is requested, no later than the board meeting when the action is intended. If the board decides to nonrenew the administrative contract, the administrator must receive written notice of that action on or before March 31.
Potential consequences: If the administrator did not receive an evaluation as required by the evaluation procedure in a timely fashion during the term of his/her employment contract, the board of education is barred from nonrenewing the contract. In such a case, the only recourse is to offer the administrator an employment contract for the minimum number of years he/she is entitled to receive. The statute also permits the superintendent to recommend a one-year contract even if the administrator is eligible for a multi-year contract. However, that option is available only once to the superintendent for each administrator.
This communication is intended to emphasize the need on the part of the superintendent and the board of education to adhere to the timelines and requirements of the evaluation procedures and other notice requirements of the law if nonrenewal of an administrator's employment contract is contemplated.