Relaxed standards for substitute teachers may soon be in place

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Senate Bill 1, a bill requiring high school students to complete one-half unit of financial literacy instruction to graduate, is on its way to the governor for signature after the Ohio Senate concurred with House changes to the bill on October 6, 2021.  

An uncodified provision in the bill relaxing requirements for substitute teachers for the 2021-2022 school year will likely be welcome news to many school districts struggling to fill staffing shortages. Similar to flexibility granted under prior legislation for the 2020-2021 school year, Senate Bill 1 permits a school governing body, in accordance with the district’s or school’s own set of educational requirements, to employ an individual who does not hold a post-secondary degree as a substitute teacher. The State Board of Education must issue a non-renewable temporary substitute teaching license for such individuals. Applicants must meet all other requirements in Ohio law and regulations for substitute teachers. Note that this flexibility is for the 2021-2022 school year only. If the governor signs the bill, this section (Section 4) will go into effect immediately.

The bill also enacts new requirements for teachers providing instruction in financial literacy. Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, such teachers will be required to have a financial literacy license validation (obtained at the school district’s expense). Teachers who hold a license or endorsement in social studies, family and consumer sciences or business education are not required to have the financial literacy validation, but may obtain it at the district’s expense. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) must reimburse districts for the total approved costs incurred by a teacher or $500, whichever is less, but may limit or prorate the reimbursement if allocated funds are insufficient.

* Special thanks to OSBA Certified paralegal, Cassandra Casto, for monitoring legislative activity for the Bricker & Eckler Education team.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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