From Your Counsel, 2014

“Legal” Marijuana? Not in Oklahoma

Originally published in October/November 2014

Several questions have come up in our office about the recent events in Colorado and other states legalizing the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. As you may be aware, Colorado passed a law that legalized the use of medical marijuana beginning in December 2012, and on January 1, 2014, it became legal in Colorado for any person over 21 to purchase marijuana at licensed retail stores. Colorado residents are allowed to purchase up to one ounce at a time and non-residents are allowed to purchase up to one quarter of an ounce. Full article.

OEA membership includes the best legal counsel available

Originally published in August/September 2014

With the new membership year rapidly approaching, now is a good time to review the myriad of legal services and benefits available to OEA members, simply by joining OEA and becoming a member. Full article.

Changes delay implementation

Full TLE will become effective in 2015-16

Originally published in June/July 2014

The Oklahoma Legislature passed SB 2033 in 2010, which created the Oklahoma Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation (TLE) system for Oklahoma schools. The new evaluation system creates a five-tier rating system (superior, highly effective, effective, needs improvement, and ineffective) along with quantitative and qualitative assessment components. Full article.

Contract reminder: renewal/nonrenewal dates now fall in June

As published in the April/May 2014 issue of The Education Focus

Most OEA members are familiar with the continuing contract law and the requirement that a local board of education must notify a regular contract teacher that there exists a recommendation for the nonrenewal of his or her contract before a date certain or a continuing contract is binding upon the teacher and school district for the succeeding school year. Full article.

Haves vs have nots

Three legislative fixes that would make charters accessible to all

As published in the March 2014 issue of The Education Focus

Although poverty is the second most reliable indicator, contrary to popular belief, the number one predictor of student success is not income level or socioeconomic status. Rather, the characteristic that successful students “have” is parental involvement. Studies on the topic have shown that family participation in education is twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status; where the participation is more intensive, the effects were 10 times greater than other factors. Full article.

AG Opinion supports OEA’s position on TRS payment responsibility

Transferring sick leave and national certification stipends also covered

Originally published in February 2014

The Oklahoma Attorney General (AG) has issued three opinions over the last several months that impact education employees and school districts. The AG has issued opinions dealing with creditable service from the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System (OTRS) for school employees who receive employment assistance from the School Consolidation Assistance Fund (Fund); the transfer of accumulated sick leave from one district to another and the carryover of unused personal leave; and the applicability of the moratorium on bonuses for National Board Certified Teachers to speech-language pathologists, audiologists and school psychologists who become nationally certified under a different statutory scheme. Full article.

Can I collect my salary if my school district runs out of money?

Originally published in December/January 2013-14

With the current climate of sparse education funding becoming a gradual reality year after year, many questions arise as to what will happen to an employee’s pay if a school district either runs short of money during the fiscal year, or runs out of money before the end of the current fiscal year. There are several remedies available to address either scenario. Full article.


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