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Managing Legal & Contractual Agreements in Education

Instructor: Kristilynn Turney

Kristilynn has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management. She has taught high school English, Public Speaking and Theater; served as instructional coach; consultant, assistant principal, principal, asst. director and college professor.

Educational leaders can manage legal and contractual agreements and records in ways that foster professional work environments. This lesson will identify ways to manage documents and promote student success.

The Nightmare

Each spring, educational leaders struggle with managing legal and contractual agreements and records of returning and non-returning staff. Legal and contractual agreements are agreements used in education to set the terms of a contract. These terms are the amount of days, duties, and salary. Legal and contractual agreements are admissible in court.

Typically, in February, human resources will send out an intent form to all current employees. This form asks if the staff member intends to return to the district the following school year. After that, these forms are collected, and contracts are written and board approved. For many educational leaders, this paper/pencil process can be a nightmare. When already dealing with the day-to-day operations of a school, the challenge of organizing the forms and sorting through information can be unpleasant. While this is only one scenario of managing legal and contractual agreements and records of school employees, it is the most common. However, due to the modern advancements in online technology, using technology tools can make the process described a breeze!

In this lesson, we will discuss how educational leaders can manage legal and contractual agreements and records in ways that foster professional work environments. We will also identify technological tools and how this all relates to the success of student groups.

Managing Legal and Contractual Agreements

Managing legal and contractual agreements is a necessity. Teacher contracts and agreements are legally binding documents and require proper care and security to avoid an issue that could result in a lawsuit. In the state of Ohio, a poor performing, non-renewed teacher can be reinstated if the documents were not properly signed or dated, or if performance information was voluntarily or involuntarily shared with another teacher. Because of this, educational leaders must be very cautious.

If using hard copy documents, here are some general steps to ensure proper management of legal and contractual agreements:

  1. Keep agreements and records in a secured file area.
  2. Set specific deadlines for submitting documentation.
  3. Confirm that documents are properly completed and accurately dated.

If using electronic programs, like the ones described below, here are some general steps to ensure proper management of legal and contractual agreements:

  1. Keep the password information secure. Avoid saving the password in the computer.
  2. Set specific deadlines for uploading documentation. Take into consideration the time it may take the system to update.
  3. Confirm that documents are properly completed.

These guidelines will help foster a professional work environment because expectations are firmly set. When employees know the expectations, it is difficult to challenge the expectations or expect favors if a document is submitted late or improperly.

Electronic Programs

Taking advantage of technology and online programs and systems can greatly reduce the time involved in managing your legal and contractual agreements. Let's review two.

TalentED

TalentED is an online software program that manages the hiring process, as well as educator record keeping, contract renewal, and absences of K-12 school employees. TalentED provides solutions to some of the most common problems of managing legal and contractual agreements and records. These programs and solutions include:

  • Recruitment and hiring tools that explore assessment results and hiring trends.
  • Access to legal documents and contracts at the click of a button.
  • Reduced waste of paper and file space necessary for paper documents.

In addition, TalentED offers ongoing webinars, podcasts, and blogs to keep the subscribers up-to-date on information and trends.

Soft Docs

Soft Docs is another online software program which helps manage and increase efficiency in school districts. Soft Docs is a K-12 program that can cater its structure from 20-20,000 employees. Their services range from human resources, financial, and to student records.

Some key features for educational leaders using Soft Docs to manage legal and contractual agreements are:

  • Employee Onboarding: This is a paperless way for employees to sign the endless amount of documents needed before beginning a position.
  • Electronic Teacher Contracts: The general information is pre-populated, and everything is time and date stamped.
  • Employee Self-Service: Employees can access this section at any time to find out tax information, receive direct deposit notifications, and review their contracts.

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