Substitute Teacher Flexibility is Now Permanent – But Board Action May be Required

By Brian J. DeSantis

Permanent law is replacing the patchwork of temporary laws that have allowed boards to relax the education requirements for employing substitute teachers.  However, because prior authority was temporary and is expiring at the end of the 2023-2024 school year, your Board’s prior authorization may be expiring as well.  Your Board should ensure that it has taken action to establish its own education requirements for substitute teachers for the 2024-2025 school year and beyond.  Pepple & Waggoner has prepared draft resolutions that align with the permanent law’s requirements and can be customized to your Board’s needs.

A Patchwork of Laws Leads to Confusion

Over the last four years, a patchwork of uncodified laws temporarily allowed boards of education to establish their own education requirements for substitute teachers, deviating from the Revised Code’s post-secondary degree requirement.

However, the temporary nature of the legislation often compelled boards of education to “sunset” their flexibility on the educational requirement for substitute teachers at the end of a school year.  For instance, H.B. 583’s (2022) authority expired at the end of the 2023-2024 school year.  As a result, many boards of education passed a resolution that permitted flexibility — but that flexibility is sunsetting as the 2023-2024 school year ends.

Fortunately, the General Assembly has eliminated the patchwork of laws.  Under the most recent Budget Bill (H.B. 110), the General Assembly made the flexibility permanent.  The timing of its passage may have caused boards of education to believe that no further action was required.  However, because prior legislation was temporary, boards may have authorized flexibility that expressly expires at the end of this school year.  Those boards will need to adopt another resolution or take other action to extend their substitute teacher educational requirement flexibility into the 2024-2025 school year and beyond.

Boards May Establish Their Own Requirements

As in the past, boards of education have flexibility in establishing their own education requirements (e.g., associate degree, one year of college, or high school diploma).  Boards of education can also vary education requirements by grade or subject area.  Boards can even establish their own sunset dates (e.g., through the 2024-2025 school year) if they desire to limit how long the flexibility lasts.  The Pepple & Waggoner model resolution reflects these options and can be tailored to each Board’s particular needs.

When adopting new education requirements, boards should ensure that any new requirements do not conflict with board policy, administrative guidelines, or existing job descriptions, and resolutions should be worded accordingly.

Pepple & Waggoner has prepared a draft resolution that meets the statutory requirements.  If your Board wants to consider the model resolution or if you have questions about substitute teacher flexibility, do not hesitate to contact us.

Brian J. DeSantis