Tuesday, January 11, 2011

School Board terminates teacher's contract, adopts referee's recommendation

The Mount Vernon School Board of Education voted this week to terminate the contract of a teacher accused of, among other things, violating school board policies, violating the U.S. Constitution, and teaching Christianity in class. In their 4-1 vote, the school board adopted the decision of the "referee" or hearing officer.

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 3319.16, public school teachers employed pursuant to a contract may only have that contract terminated for "good and just cause." Before such termination may take place, however, the school board has to give the teacher notice of intention, and an opportunity for a hearing in front of either the board, or a referee. Both parties may be present at such hearing, be represented by counsel, subpoena witnesses, require witnesses to be under oath, cross-examine witnesses, take a record of the proceedings. The referee must then furnish her report, recommending a termination or not. The board must then vote to adopt the report and recommendation or to reject it by majority vote.

The teacher affected then has the opportunity to appeal the case to the court of common pleas in which the school is located.

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