The Ohio Supreme Court recently issued a decision in the case of State ex rel. Nese v. State Teachers Retirement Board of Ohio. This case involved the issue of STRS Ohio membership for individuals who worked through a Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) online learning option for Jefferson County ESC and their relationship with Jefferson County ESC. In this case, the Court agreed with STRS Ohio’s determination that the individuals were independent contractors and not teachers within the meaning of Section 3307.01 of the Revised Code. This was a unique case, and the decision cannot be generally applied to all online teachers or virtual classroom teachers working in or for Ohio’s public schools or charter schools.
The Court also recognized that STRS Ohio has the expertise to determine who is a teacher under Revised Code Section 3307.01 and affirmed STRS Ohio is entitled to deference in its membership determinations. In all cases of doubt, STRS Ohio has the final authority to determine whether any person is a teacher for STRS Ohio purposes.
Employers with specific questions regarding the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision or STRS Ohio membership may contact STRS Ohio directly at 888‑535‑4050 to speak with your employer education coordinator.