FAQs

YOUR PROFESSION and YOU – FAQs

Ohio offers several different types of licenses for educators including a Resident Educator 4-year License, a 5-year Professional License and Substitute License. Information regarding Teacher Licensure and Certification in Ohio can be found by accessing the Ohio Department of Education links below:

If you are applying for Initial Licensure: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Licensure/Apply-for-Certificate-License

If you are applying for Licensure Renewal: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Licensure/Renew-Certificate-License

For an overview of Teacher Licenses in Ohio:
http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Licensure/Apply-for-Certificate-Licens

Check with your Regional Office and District Association for events scheduled in your area. Their contact information can be found here

See your Labor Relations Consultant for more information as it pertains to your locally negotiated agreement.  General information regarding Improvement plans and teacher evaluation can be found on the Ohio Department of Education website at: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Evaluation-System/Ohio-s-Teacher-Evaluation-System

See your Labor Relations Consultant for more information as it pertains to your locally negotiated agreement.

Start planning for retirement early.  It is important that you know the eligibility requirements, get estimates on your expected level of benefits and understand the cost of retiree health care.  The retirement systems offer tools and retirement counseling that can help you with this information.  More information is available at their websites listed below.

STRS www.strsoh.org

SERS www.ohsers.org

OPERS www.opers.org

 

Ohio public education employees participate in one of three public retirement systems.  Membership in a retirement system is determined by state law and is based upon the type of public employer and job duties of the employee.  The majority of OEA members are also members of the State Teacher Retirement System (STRS).  STRS membership includes teachers, college faculty and school positions that require a teaching or another professional license.  Educational support professionals (bus drivers, school secretaries, food service workers, etc.) employed by school districts and non-teaching employees of public two year colleges are members of the School Employee Retirement System (SERS).  The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) is the retirement system for non-teaching employees of state universities, state agencies and local government.

O.R.C. §5705.391 and O.A.C. 3301-92-04 require a Board of Education (BOE) to submit a five-year projection of operational revenues and expenditures along with assumptions to the Department of Education prior to October 31 of each fiscal year and to update this forecast between April 1 and May 31 of each fiscal year. ODE encourages school districts to update their forecast whenever events take place that will significantly change the forecast.

Required funds to be included in the forecast are:

General funds (001)

Any special cost center associated with general fund money

Emergency levy funds (016)

Any debt service (002) activity that would otherwise have gone to the general fund

Education Jobs Fund (504)

Individual district forecasts are posted on the ODE Web site at: http://www.ode.state.oh.us finance and grants >school district financial status >five year forecasts.

Click here to learn more about five-year forecasts .

You can find your district’s five-year forecast here.

You can find the Ohio Auditor’s most recent financial audit report of your district here.

Click here to learn more about Performance Audits. You can find the Performance Audit of your district here.

To find your similar districts click here

OEA offers these suggested guidelines for public education employees on using social media.

THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT and YOU- FAQs

The Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators serves as the basis for decisions on issues pertaining to licensure that are consistent with applicable law, and provides a guide for conduct in situations that have professional implications for all individuals licensed by the State Board of Education, such as teachers, principals, superintendents, and other persons serving schools (e.g., school nurses, coaches, substitute teachers). Learn more about the code here.

The Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators applies to any individual licensed by the state of Ohio, such as teachers, principals, superintendents and other persons serving schools (e.g., school nurses, coaches, substitute teachers).

Under the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators, all licensed individuals should report to his/her superintendent or chief administrator any conduct that substantially impairs an educator’s ability to function professionally in his or her position, or any conduct that is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of students. Further, individual educators are mandated to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect to children welfare agencies or law enforcement. (See Ohio Revised Code Section 2151.421.)

The Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators recognizes that existing law requires superintendents and chief administrators for school districts, community schools, educational service centers, and MRDD schools to report educator conduct in certain circumstances. Amended Substitute House Bill 79 requires school authorities to submit a report of educator misconduct to the Ohio Department of Education if:

  • an educator has been convicted of a criminal offense listed in Ohio Revised Code §3319.31 or Ohio Revised Code §3319.39;
  • termination/non-renewal proceedings have been initiated due to an educator’s conduct unbecoming;
  • an educator has resigned under threat of termination/non-renewal; or
  • an educator has resigned in the course of investigation.

If an individual believes an educator has violated the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators (LCOPCOE), the first step is to report the alleged violation to administrators in the school district or educational entity that currently employs the educator. This informs the local board of education or governing authority of the situation and gives school administrators an opportunity to address the situation. This is a critical step because only local boards of education and governing authorities have the legal authority over employment issues, such as working assignments. The State Board of Education can limit, suspend, revoke or deny an educator’s teaching license but does not have any legal authority to remove a school employee from duties involving the care, custody or control of children.

If an educator’s conduct results in a criminal conviction or the educator’s separation from employment with a district or educational entity, this information should be reported to the Department of Education. If a school administrator or another individual has questions regarding whether a complaint should be filed with the Department regarding a violation of the LCPCOE, the Department encourages the person to contact the Office of Professional Conduct at educator.conduct@ode.state.oh.us or toll free at 1-877-644-6338, to discuss the matter further.

Upon receiving a complaint, the Department makes an evaluation to determine whether the State Board has jurisdiction over the educator and whether an investigation in the alleged violation should be initiated.

The Department may not investigate every violation of the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators (LCPCOE). Traditionally, some types of educator misconduct have been considered employment issues since they are better addressed by a local school district or educational entity rather than at the state level. Generally, the Department will not investigate violations of the LCPCOE involving disparaging a colleague, peer or other school personnel; using tobacco on school premises in a non-designated area; falsifying or misreporting absences; grading issues; issues related to job performance; and other minor violations of the LCPCOE. In addition, the Department may not investigate a violation of the LCPCOE if the school district or educational entity imposed a penalty, sanction or other conditions that adequately addressed the educator’s conduct.

Not in every case. The State Board of Education has the authority to suspend, limit, revoke or deny licenses, issue a letter of admonishment, or enter into a consent agreement with an educator. If there is a determination that the allegation is false or cannot be proven, no disciplinary action will be imposed. Upon a determination that the results of an investigation warrant the State Board to impose a disciplinary action pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §3319.31, the State Board may impose an appropriate penalty within the presumptive ranges as set forth in the disciplinary guidelines of the LCPCOE. Also, the State Board may determine that a penalty outside the range of the disciplinary guidelines is more appropriate in an individual case, based upon the aggravating and mitigating factors outlined in Rule 3301-73-21 and Rule 3301-20-01(E) of the Ohio Administrative Code or any other factors the State Board considers relevant. Further, the State Board may determine not to impose a disciplinary action based upon a local school district or educational entity appropriately addressing the violation of the LCPCOE at the district or building level.

No. Beginning with an investigation through imposition of any disciplinary action for a violation of the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct, educators are entitled to all due process rights afforded them under Chapter 33 and Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code,and Chapter 3301 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

Yes. Ohio’s Ethics Law details ethical standards for public officials and employees and works in conjunction with the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct. If you have questions regarding the Ethics Law and its impact on licensed educators, please contact the Ohio Ethics Commission at (614) 466-7090 or at their Web site:  http://www.ethics.ohio.gov/

For more information regarding the Code of Professional Conduct or to report a violation, please contact the Office of Professional Conduct at educator.conduct@ode.state.oh.us  or toll free at 1-877-644-6338.

YOUR ASSOCIATION and YOU – FAQs

Yes. Monday- Friday, 8:30am-6pm, call us at INFOEA at 1-844-OEA-INFO (1-844-632-4636) or email membership@ohea.org.

You can find your LRC here. If you need additional assistance contact the Regional Director.

Learn more about your union rights here. If you are uncertain as to whether you need union representation, please contact your Labor Relations Consultant.

You can find the breakdown of how your dues dollars here. The page is restricted to members only.

You can find a list of the current NEA Directors here. They are responsible for _.

OEA offers several conferences annually, including the Advocacy and Organizing Institute and the Leadership Academy, as well as many smaller trainings and workshops. Check the calendar for upcoming events or call you Labor Relations Consultant for opportunities in your area.

LEGISLATION/EDUCATION POLICY and YOU – FAQs

To find or contact a member of the Ohio Senate or House of Representatives:

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislators/find-my-legislators

To find or contact a member of the United States Senate of House of Representatives:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Because nearly every aspect of the school day is in part shaped by the decisions of election officials, it is imperative that we have a strong voice in deciding who is making those decisions.  Screening and endorsing candidates is our way to find out their views on critical education issues, develop relationships, and hold politicians accountable for their actions.

OEA members – not staff or OEA officers – conduct candidate screenings and make endorsement decisions.  Our screenings are non-partisan, and we invite candidates of both major parties to participate.

We encourage local associations to screen and endorse in local offices that may affect public education in their communities, such as local school board races.  Please contact the OEA Government Relations department with questions.

FCPE is the Fund for Children and Public Education.  Through voluntary donations to FCPE, we work to advance the mission of improving public education in Ohio by supporting and helping to elect pro-public education candidates to statewide offices.

FCPE focuses on the issues, not political parties.  Contributions are made to OEA endorsed candidates who understand the issues and support actions that will improve our schools and help our students.

Contact your Labor Relations Consultant (LRC) or OEA’s Government Relations department to request a form.  You can also give online at http://fcpe.ohea.org.

Both OEA and NEA employ a staff of lobbyists to review the many bills introduced each session that could affect association members.  Lobbyists work directly with legislators to present OEA’s positon and views on issues.

Many important gains, such as improvements to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES), changes to student assessment, collective bargaining rights for public employees, and sound public school employee retirement systems are a direct result of the association’s lobbying efforts.  Just as important has been the role of OEA and NEA in preventing the passage of bills that would be harmful to public education and education employees.

You can find OEA’s positions on a variety of issues in the Frequently Asked Questions below.

“Right to Work” laws undermine workers’ safety, economic security and well-being. The true goal of right to work is to put more money into the pockets of corporate shareholders. The consequence of these purposes, whether intended or unintended, is a diminished middle class. For more information on why Right to Work is wrong visit

https://www.ohea.org/right-to-work/

OEA recognizes the value of having a strong evaluation system for all Ohio educators while also acknowledging that there should be a shared responsibility for the success of students.  Under the current Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES), too much of the evaluation focuses on test scores.

A high-quality teacher evaluation system should identify the means by which improvement can be made, celebrate successes and provide for more peer-to-peer accountability.  For more detail on OEA’s position regarding teacher evaluations visit:
Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

Ohio’s charter school program has not fulfilled any of its original promises.  Data indicates that most of Ohio’s charter schools have produced poor academic results while placing a tremendous drain on education resources.

There is still more work to be done to fix Ohio’s broken charter schools.  OEA believes the following three principles should govern comprehensive charter school reform:  Accelerate the process for closing failing charter schools; ensure that charter schools are subject to the same public records laws and financial transparency standards as any other public entity; and fund charter schools in a way that doesn’t penalize traditional public schools.

For more detail on OEA’s position regarding charter schools visit:
Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA believes a school funding system should provide all students with the resources they need to succeed.  A constitutional school funding system should include a sound method for calculating the base cost of the components that makeup a high-quality education system, should be easily understood and have a distribution model that is fair to all school districts.   For more information on OEA’s position on school funding visit:

Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA supports making college affordable and accessible for all students regardless of family income and reducing student debt. Aspiring teachers are especially vulnerable to the student debt crisis: it is hard to recruit the best and the brightest to the profession if the prospect of a low starting salary is compounded with massive student debt.

For additional information on OEA’s position on college affordability visit:
Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA opposes voucher programs that use taxpayer money to pay private school tuition.  The vast majority of Ohio’s students are educated in our public schools, and there is no credible evidence of improved academic performance under Ohio’s existing voucher programs.  For additional information on OEA’s position on school voucher visit:

Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA believes that the school environment should be a safe, healthy, and positive learning environment for students.  OEA supports policy that addresses discriminatory enforcement of school district policies, student bullying and provides greater access to mental health services and other intervention programs.  For more detail on OEA’s position on voting rights visit:

Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

Research confirms that class size matters for students and teachers.  Smaller class sizes lead to more individualized attention, earlier identification of learning disabilities, and improved graduation rates.  OEA supports legislation that proposes to reduce class size.  For more information,Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

Research shows that providing a high quality education for children before they turn five yields significant long-term benefits.  Children in quality preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades, require special education services, or experience trouble with the law.  They are also more likely to graduate from high school and earn more money than those who were not in a program.

The OEA believes all three- and four-year-old children should have the opportunity to participate in high quality, publicly funded, universal Pre-kindergarten programs, provided that their parents wish to enroll them.  This is especially true for the children of families do not have the resources or capacity to provide the early-learning experiences research has shown to be linked to academic success and positive social development.  For more detail on OEA’s position on early childhood education visit:
Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA believes that Ohio’s K-12 students should have access to a complete curriculum, including the fine arts, music and physical education as well as comprehensive services provided by school nurses, social workers, library/media specialists and counselors.  These positions are critical in order to ensure that students have the support they need for a high quality education. For more detail on OEA’s position on student support services visit:

Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA supports policies that allow broad participation of all citizens in the democratic process.  Rooted in a belief that our nation is strongest when everyone has a voice, OEA supports fair and open elections and policies that make voting as convenient and easy as possible.  For more detail on OEA’s position on voting rights visit:
Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA supports payment of a fair living wage that supports the cost of basic needs and is indexed to inflation.  OEA supports the labor movement and believes that employees have a right to representation and a voice in their workplace.  For more detail on OEA’s position on these issues visit:

Legislative Policies for Achieving Excellence in Education

OEA’s legislative policies are adopted by our members.  They primarily focus on education issues.  However, OEA members care deeply about their communities and their students outside of the school setting.  Economic issues, voting rights, public health and social justice have consequences for all Ohioans.

Your OEA Labor Relations Consultant (LRC) will be able to assist you.  If you do not know how to contact them, ask your local president or building rep.  Your LRC will know the parameters of the OEA/NEA Legal Services Program and be able to answer questions related to your collective bargaining agreement.

All active OEA members, OEA Life members and Retired members are eligible for legal services.

Nonmembers of the OEA who pay a fee under an agency shop or other union security arrangement (fair share fee member) are eligible for certain portions of the Program (excluding liability protection and the Attorney Referral Program.)

You must be a member of the OEA and applicable OEA affiliates immediately prior to the time the adverse employment action is taken or the occurrence takes place, whichever comes sooner.

A member must not voluntarily terminate membership while receiving legal services under the Program.  If there is an ongoing legal case pending after a member’s employment is terminated, the case may remain open if the member pays the equivalent of one-half active dues.

There are four (4) programs under the OEA/NEA Legal Services Program:

  • United Legal Services Program (ULSP)
  • Educators Employment Liability Insurance (EEL) Program
  • Association Professional Liability Insurance (APL) Program
  • Attorney Referral Program (ARP)

Active, threatened employment disputes including terminations and nonrenewals, demotion, promotions, reprimands, suspensions, performance evaluations, transfers, assignment of duties, certification, continuing contract status, compensation in the form of salary or fringe benefits, leave, personnel file issues, retirement, unemployment insurance, RIF/layoff, working conditions, and initial assistance with criminal matters resulting in Children’s Services or police investigations.  A member will be required to obtain his or her own private attorney for criminal activities.

Members are covered for civil or criminal actions arising out of their education employment.  This liability protection is a back-up policy to the district’s insurance policy.  Benefits include:

  • Benefit A:  Educator’s Liability – $1,000,000 per member (other than civil rights issues); $3,000,000 per occurrence aggregate for all claims; $250,000 per occurrence (civil rights issues.)
  • Benefit B:  Reimbursement for attorneys’ fees for defense of up to $35,000 per criminal proceeding.  A member must plead not guilty and be exonerated of the charges in order to receive this benefit.
  • Benefit C:  $1,000 bail bond coverage.
  • Benefit D:  Assault related personal property damage – $500 per assault.

Local, district and state officers, as well as staff, are insured for civil actions arising out of their approved association activities.  The insurance policy provides for the payment of damages as a result of a lawsuit alleging personal injury, breach of duty, neglect, error, misstatement, misleading statement, act or omission while performing work specifically on behalf of the association.

Members receive two, free, one-half hour consultations with local attorneys per year for personal legal protection in the areas of wills and estates, domestic relations, real estate, consumer protection and traffic violations.  Work performed after the initial consultation is at a discounted rate from the attorney’s hourly fee.  The attorneys who participate in the Program are published yearly in the August/September issue of Ohio Schools magazine and can also be found on the OEA web page under the members’-only login at Membership/Legal Services.

  • Discrimination charges based on race, sex, religion, ancestry, nationality, age, and disability (unless the latter is for securing a job accommodation) must first go through the administrative agencies of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and no legal services will be provided until the OCRC/EEOC has completed all activity with respect to the charge.  At that time, we will review the matter and determine whether it is necessary to assign an attorney for review, appeal or other proceedings.
  • Grievable matters must first be processed through the LRC under the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.  At the completion of the grievance procedure and/or after binding or advisory arbitration, an attorney may be assigned to review the award and determine whether enforcement or appeal is required.
  • Defamation – libel and slander, which constitute defamation, are specifically excluded under the Program.
  • Personal injury actions
  • Workers compensation
  • General advice and counsel – questions or issues which arise that are not associated with an active or threatened employment action are generally not covered under the Program.  Your LRC will know how to assess such issues.