Ex-Fairland teacher sues board
Published 9:53 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Claims ORC statutes not allowed
ROME TOWNSHIP — A former Fairland Middle School teacher wants her job back, saying the district did not follow the proper procedure in terminating her contract.
On May 19 JoLee Cline filed a lawsuit in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court against the Fairland Board of Education.
Cline was a sixth grade social studies teacher working under a one-year extended limited contract for school year 2010-2011.
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On March 23, Cline was notified by district treasurer Loretta Wirzfeld that the board intended not to renew her contract at its April 11 meeting.
Cline’s suit alleges that that action violated the Ohio Revised Code statutes concerning teachers with limited contracts.
“Ohio Revised Code sets forth the manner in which teachers holding limited contracts are to be evaluated in any school year in which a board of education may wish to declare its intention not to re-employ the teacher,” the lawsuit states. “This evaluation is to be conducted at least twice in the school year in which the board of education may wish to declare its intention not to re-employ the teacher.”
The suit states the ORC requires one evaluation to be conducted and completed no later than Jan. 15 with the report of that evaluation provided to the teacher no later than Jan. 25.
Another evaluation must be conducted and completed between Feb. 10 and April 1, with the report received by the teacher no later than April 10, according to the suit.
“(ORC) requires a teacher … be observed on at least two occasions for not less than 30 minutes on each occasion by the person conducting the evaluation,” the lawsuit states. “(ORC) requires that the teacher be provided a written report which includes specific recommendations regarding any improvements needed in the performance of the teacher.”
On March 23, Cline was notified by district treasurer Loretta Wirzfeld that the board was not planning to renew her contract at its April 11 meeting. Cline then asked to appear before the board; Ohio Education Association Labor Relations Consultant Don Dalton spoke to the board on her behalf on why her contract should be renewed.
About two weeks later the board voted not to renew Cline’s contract. The next day, April 28, she was notified about that decision.
Cline alleges ORC procedure was not followed.
“The board, through its agents and administrators, failed to observe plaintiff twice and failed to issue her evaluation for the 2010-2011 school year,” the suit states. “The plaintiff was observed on or about Nov. 8. The plaintiff was not observed for a second time for less than 30 minutes by Jan. 15. Consequently, the plaintiff did not receive a written report of evaluation by Jan. 25 as required by the (ORC).”
Cline also did not get written reports for the Feb. 15 and March 14 evaluations by April 10.
Because of the alleged improper procedure Cline wants to be re-employed under a continuing contract and seeks any lost wages and benefits because of the non-renewal.
Calls made to Fairland Superintendent Jerry McConnell and the Ohio Education Association were not returned by press time.