Four dozen substitute teachers sue Dayton school board, contractor

Then-Dayton school board members (from right) Adil Baguirov, Hazel Rountree and Robert Walker meet with community members in 2016. No one who served on Dayton's school board in 2015 or 2016 remains on the board today. (Jeremy P. Kelley/Staff)
Then-Dayton school board members (from right) Adil Baguirov, Hazel Rountree and Robert Walker meet with community members in 2016. No one who served on Dayton's school board in 2015 or 2016 remains on the board today. (Jeremy P. Kelley/Staff)

A group of 48 substitute teachers has sued Dayton’s school board and a former school district contractor, saying those agencies violated state law governing long-term substitutes in 2015 and 2016.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, names Parallel Employment Group, the company that managed substitute staffing for Dayton Public Schools from 2015-19.

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The teachers claim they were employed by Parallel as subs for DPS, and that each served in the same assignment for more than 60 days, but were not provided the benefits Ohio law requires in that situation.

State law says after 60 days subbing in one specific teaching position, a teacher shall “be granted sick leave, visiting days, and other local privileges granted to regular teachers including a salary not less than the minimum salary on the current adopted salary schedule.”

Substitute teachers are generally paid on a per-day basis, at lower wages than the salary schedules for full-time teachers.

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Parallel, a Wisconsin-based company that operates in several states, began managing DPS’ substitute operation in January of 2015, the first time the district had outsourced that function.

In the lawsuit, the teachers say the violations occurred shortly after Parallel’s contract with DPS began — in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. The suit says 19 subs who met the 60-day threshold in 2014-15 failed to receive appropriate benefits, then 44 subs had the same thing happen in 2015-16.

Susan Jansen, attorney for the teachers, declined to comment on specifics of the case, including how much back pay and benefits could be at stake. The lawsuit seeks “appropriate compensation, including all benefits and backpay required to make them whole.”

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DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, who didn’t join the district until late 2016, also declined comment on the lawsuit. Parallel Employment Group officials did not respond to requests for comment.

In summer of 2019, DPS terminated its contract with Parallel and hired ESS Northeast LLC as its new substitute staffing contractor.

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