Contracts between Indiana public school boards and their superintendent, administrators, teachers and bus drivers have always been public records under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act (Ind. Code 5-14-3). Contracts with certificated employees also are covered by Ind. Code 20-28-6-2(d). These contracts always have required approval by a public vote of a majority of the full board rather than a majority of a quorum. So transparency with respect to these important documents always has been guaranteed by Indiana law, but at times, the contracts were written to incorporate federal and state tax laws. These references were efficient, but at times, these references made the contract hard for a community member to understand.
The 2012, the Indiana General Assembly added conditions precedent to the approval of certain employment contracts through Public Law 148-2012, Acts Of 2012. Public Law 148-2012 (also known as HEA 1205-2012) is effective July 1, 2012. It requires Indiana school boards to publicize all of the employment contracts it enters into with its certificated employees. “Certificated” as used here means employed in a position requiring a license from the Office of Educator Licensing and Development in the Indiana Department of Education. The requirements of Public Law 148-2012 are summarized below:
Superintendent’s Contract (I.C. 20-26-5-4.3)
- Seven days prior to a governing body entering into a contract with a superintendent, the governing body shall hold a public meeting on the contract at which public comment is heard.
- Notice of the proposed meeting must be given in accordance with I.C. 5-3-1 and posted on the school district’s website.
- Notice is published at least one time at least 10 days prior to the meeting.
- Notice states date, time and place of meeting.
- Notice must state details of the proposed contract including the actual monetary value of the contract, benefits and any additional forms of the contract for each year of the
- For a candidate for employment the notice and contract may exclude the name.
- After entering into the contract, the governing body shall post the superintendent’s contract on the school district’s website.
Certificated Contracts (I.C. 20-26-5-4.7)
Other than the Superintendent and any other certificated employees that are not represented by an exclusive representative under the Teacher’s Collective Bargaining Act.
- The Superintendent shall post the provisions of an employment contract that the School Corporation enters into with a certificated employee on a School Corporation’s Internet website.
Teachers Collective Bargaining Agreement (I.C. 20-29-6-1.9)
- Not later than fourteen (14) business days after the parties have reached an agreement under this chapter, the school employer shall post the contract upon which the parties have agreed on the school employer’s Internet website.
Comments and Recommendations
In essence, Public Law 148, Acts of 2012 amends three different code provisions so that every contract on a certificated employee (by the collective bargaining agreement for teachers) is not required to be posted. The effective date is July 1, 2012.
Where a contract and/or addendum incorporates another document, such as an Administrative Fringe Benefit Guideline, that document also should be posted. Where a contract and/or addendum does not incorporate another document, again, such as an Administrative Fringe Benefit Guideline, that document technically is not required to be posted pursuant to the Mandate of Public Law 148, Acts of 2012. However, it is a public document. If it is not posted, it is not a violation of the newly mandated provisions, but that failure to post could result in the school corporation being criticized as to not complying with the spirit of Public Law 148, Acts of 2012 and failing to be transparent.