128th General Assembly: Both the Ohio House and Senate are scheduled to hold sessions and committee hearings this week.
*The Ohio House approved on March 24, 2009 the budgets for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (HB 15 – Sykes) and the Ohio Industrial Commission (HB 16 – Sykes). These budgets are funded through employers’ workers’ compensation premiums rather than the General Revenue Fund, and are considered separately from the state’s operating budget, Sub. HB 1 – Sykes.
*The Conference Committee on the Transportation Budget (HB 2 – Ujvagi) made little progress last week resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The committee is scheduled to meet again on Monday. The transportation budget is considered separately by the General Assembly, and needs to be signed into law 90 days (by March 31, 2009) before the FY08-09 budget ends on June 30, 2009.
*The Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee, chaired by Senator Carey, and the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Cates, released tentative hearing schedules for Sub. HB 1 (Sykes), the FY10-11 budget. According to this schedule the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee will start hearings on Sub. HB 1 (Sykes) on April 14, 2009, although the House is not expected to vote on Sub. HB 1 until the week of April 20, 2009. The Senate schedule calls for a Senate committee vote on Sub. HB 1 on June 2 or 3, 2009. The Ohio Department of Education is scheduled to testify before the committee on April 28, 2009.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Cates, has scheduled supplemental hearings to consider the education components of Sub. HB 1 (Sykes) starting on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. This week a representative from Governor Strickland’s office will address the committee about the Governor’s education reform and school funding proposal and the Tax Commissioner, Rich Levin, will present information about the conversion levy proposal.
This Week at the Statehouse
MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009
*The HB2 Transportation Budget Conference Committee, chaired by Representative Ujvagi, will meet at 10:00 AM in Hearing Room 313. The conferees will review the House version of HB2, the FY10-11 Transportation Budget (Ujvagi).
TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2009
*The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Sykes (614-466-3100), will meet at 1:30 PM in room 313 to accept public testimony related to human services on Sub. HB1 (Sykes) Biennial Budget.
*The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Cates (614-466-8072), will meet at 2:30 PM in the Senate Finance hearing room, or after session. A representative from the Governor’s office will present an overview of Governor Strickland’s proposed education reform plan included in Sub. HB 1 (Sykes).
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2009
*The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Sykes (614-466-3100), will meet at 9:30 AM in room 313 to accept public testimony on Sub. HB1 (Sykes) Biennial Budget.
*The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Cates (614-466-8072), will meet at 2:30 PM in the Senate Finance hearing room, or after session. The committee will hear a presentation on Governor Strickland’s proposal for conversion levies from Tax Commissioner Richard Levin.
THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2009
*The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Sykes (614-466-3100), will meet at 9:30 AM in room 313 to accept public testimony related to education on Sub. HB1 (Sykes) the Biennial Budget.
Federal Budget Update: President Obama introduced his budget recommendations for FY10 on February 26, 2009. Both the U.S. House and Senate budget committees approved budget resolutions last week. The full House and Senate are expected to vote on these budget resolutions this week. Unlike bills that are signed into law, the annual federal budget resolution does not have to be signed by the President. It serves as a blueprint or guideline for Congress as is approves appropriation bills for government departments and agencies for the next fiscal year (FY10), which begins October 1, 2009.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Budget, chaired by Representative John Spratt, approved on March 25, 2009 House Concurrent Resolution 85 on the Budget for FY10. The House version differs from the budget introduced by President Obama, but still incorporates key provisions for cutting the deficit, and funding initiatives in health care, energy, and education. For more information please visit http://budget.house.gov/.
The U.S. Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Senator Kent Conrad, approved its budget resolution on March 26, 2009. Like the House, the Senate version also differs from the budget submitted by President Obama, but includes provisions for cutting the deficit, addresses global warming, supports education, and improves access to health care. For more information please visit http://budget.senate.gov/democratic/.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Williams, met on March 24, 2009. Representative Garrison appeared before the committee to answer questions about HB4, Interactive Distance Learning (Phillips). If approved by the committee, Representative Garrison said that the bill should be referred to the House Finance and Appropriations Committee to determine how the pilot project should be funded. Currently discussion have been underway with the Board of Regents, eTech, and the Ohio Department of Education.
Representative Garrison also deferred suggestions from committee members to expand the proposed project, saying that funding for the bill still needs to be determined, and expansion can be discussed after the project is underway.
Chancellor Eric Fingerhut also appeared before the committee, and provided an overview of the University System of Ohio and the Strategic Plan for Higher Education. The Chancellor described the role of higher education in the economic recovery of the state and the need to graduate more students, keep more graduates in Ohio, and attract college-educated people to Ohio. The Chancellor is working to make The University System of Ohio affordable, flexible, and accessible to more students.
The committee then heard sponsor testimony on HB59 Guardian Residency (Stebelton), and also testimony from several individuals on HB19 Dating Violence (Harwood), and HB21 Community School Transportation (Luckie).
The committee reported out favorably HB26, Corporal Punishment (Williams), and amended and reported out favorably HB4, Interactive Distance Learning (Phillips).
Policy Matters Testimony: Zach Schiller research director of Policy Matters Ohio, testified on Sub. HB 1 (Sykes) before the House Finance and Appropriations Committee Hearing on March 25, 2009. The testimony focused on the effects of the tax cuts and other policy decisions on Ohio’s economy, the expansion of tax credits in Sub. HB 1 (Sykes), and $7 billion in “tax expenditure”, which are losses in tax revenue by the state as a result of tax deductions, exemptions, and credits.
According to the written testimony the tax cuts implemented by the General Assembly over the last few years have not accomplished the goal of generating jobs and improving Ohio’s economy. The tax cuts referred to in the testimony include the 21 percent reduction in the state’s income tax, the elimination of the tangible personal property tax, and the elimination of the corporate franchise tax. In fact, the author notes that the tax cuts are actually contributing to the state’s economic troubles now, because the state will lose $2.1 billion in revenue in FY10 and FY11. The business share of state and local taxes is actually lower than when it was in 1970. The Commercial Activity Tax, which replaced the Tangible Personal Property Tax and the Corporate Franchise Tax, will bring in $1 billion less in revenue, and faces court challenges.
The tax cuts also helped the wealthiest Ohioans. “Seventy percent of the income-tax cuts went to the 20 percent highest earners. Taxpayers in the top 1 percent by income – whose average income was close to $900,000 in 2007 – on average saw a reduction in their annual state income tax of more than $10,000 a year, or 1.2 percent. Taxpayers in the middle fifth of the income distribution, who made an average of $38,000 a year, saw a cut of $187, or 0.5 percent.”
The testimony also noted a major policy shift regarding the use of tax credits for job creation, which will also affect state revenue. The proposed changes in the Job Retention Tax Credit and the Job Creation Tax Credit included in Sub. HB 1 (Sykes) will allow businesses to include new part-time jobs to qualify for the tax credits, and does not specify the number of new jobs needed to qualify for the tax credit.
According to the written testimony, HB 1 will not provide sufficient funds to meet the needs of Ohioans, and a more stable and adequate source of funding is needed for the future. The testimony includes the following recommendations:
-restore the 7.5 rate of state income tax on income over $200,000 a year. “This would affect fewer than 2 percent of Ohio taxpayers and generate around $375 million a year.” -roll-back other income-tax rates to 2007 levels -institute a state earned income tax credit for low and moderate income taxpayers -restore the corporate franchise tax -bolster the commercial activity tax and require businesses that don’t pay it to continue to pay a general business tax, such as the franchise tax -eliminate tax loopholes
To read the full testimony, please visit http://www.policymattersohio.org/pdf/HB1TestimonyZSchiller2009_0325.pdf
News about Charters and Vouchers:
*A study by the RAND Corporation released on March 18, 2009 called “Charter Schools in Eight States: The Effects of Achievement, Attainment, Integration and Competition”, by Ron Zimmer, Brian Gill, Kevin Booker, Stephane Lavertu, Tim R. Sass, and John Witte, examines charter schools in Chicago, San Diego, Philadelphia, Denver, Milwaukee, and the states of Ohio, Texas, and Florida. Using longitudinal, student-level data, the study finds few differences between student achievement in charters and traditional public schools. On the plus side, charter schools appear to increase the likelihood that students will graduate and enter college based on data from Chicago and Florida, and charter schools seem to attract students with comparable achievement levels as those in traditional public schools. On the negative side, the low achievement levels of students attending online charter schools, especially in Ohio, raise concerns. The study also notes that there is little evidence that the competition for students between charter schools and traditional public schools has had a positive effect. The study includes several recommendations for policy makers. The study is available at http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG869/
*The School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas released on March 26, 2009 a second year evaluation of the Milwaukee Public School District (MPS) and the Milwaukee Parent Choice Program (MPCP) called “The Comprehensive Longitudinal Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program” by Patrick J. Wolf. The report, which is divided into several sections, examines the fiscal impact of the Choice program on Wisconsin taxpayers; provides descriptive information about MPCP schools and the average performance of the 4th, 8th, and 10th graders attending them; compares the average gain scores from carefully matched panels of MPCP and MPS students; examines the competitive effects of the MPCP on the achievement of students in the MPS; considers the likely effects of the program on housing prices and the income integration of neighborhoods; and presents qualitative data regarding how MPCP and MPS families evaluate, choose, and experience Milwaukee schools.
Among the reports many findings, “When matched against the state of Wisconsin’s proficiency levels, MPCP students are performing at lower proficiency rates than income disadvantaged MPS students in 4th grade but at higher proficiency rates than such students in two of the three subjects in 8th grade.” The report is available at http://www.uaedreform.org/SCDP/Milwaukee_Research.html.
*The Arizona Supreme Court ruled unanimously on March 25, 2009 that a 2006 Arizona law that gives taxpayer-funded vouchers for private- and parochial-school tuition to students through two programs is unconstitutional. This decision, in the case Cain v. Horne, overturns a voucher program for foster children and one for students with special needs.
According to the Arizona Constitution, Article 9 Section 10: “No tax shall be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any church, or private or sectarian school, or any public service corporation.”
*Student Art Work at the Statehouse: The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education and Ohio Art Education Association have partnered to sponsor an exhibit at the Statehouse of fifty works of art by students in grades K-12 from Ohio’s public schools. The exhibit starts on April 1, 2009 and coincides with the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio and Arts Day. The student works were selected by arts educators in each of the Ohio Art Education Association’s regions. The month long exhibit will be on view in the Ohio Statehouse Map Room, Columbus, Ohio, from April 1 – 25, 2009 with a closing reception on April 25 at 11:00 AM for the students and their families and teachers.
*CELEBRATE ARTS DAY APRIL 1, 2009: The 2009 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio and ARTS DAY will take place on Wednesday, April 1, 2009 in Columbus. This day long event, demonstrating public value and support for the arts, is sponsored by Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. The day begins with an arts briefing, legislative visits, and a student exhibition. Students from several high schools will visit all legislators and deliver a personal message about the importance of the arts in their lives and in Ohio’s communities.
The 2009 Governor’s Awards ceremony and luncheon will be held at the Columbus Athenaeum starting at noon. Governor Ted Strickland will present the keynote address, and Senate President Bill Harris and Speaker of the House Armond Budish will present the awards to each of the 2009 Governor’s Award recipients. The following recipients will receive awards:
-Arts Administration, Marc Folk, Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, (Toledo) -Arts Education, Dr. Corwin Georges (Springfield) -Arts Patron, Roe Green (Aurora) -Business Support of the Arts, Huntington Bank (Statewide) -Community Development & Participation, Cityfolk (Dayton) -Individual Artist, Derek Mortland and Michael Joseph Ulery, musicians, Sketches of the Inner World -Irma Lazarus Awards, Willis “Bing” Davis, (Dayton); The Honorable Patrick Sweeney, (Cleveland).
Jean Koeller, a painter from New Carlisle, has been chosen to create the Ohio Arts Council’s 2009 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio. The awards are from her Pathway to Light series of paintings.
Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation provides education about the arts in Ohio and educates citizens about ways to participate effectively in their government. The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. For more information about ARTS DAY please visit http://www.oac.state.oh.us/events/govawards/
Music Instruction and Reading: A study published in the Psychology of Music Journal published by SAGE called “Music tuition can help children improve reading skills” (PHYSorg.com. 16 Mar 2009) shows that children exposed to a multi-year program of music instruction display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared to peers without the music training.
The study was conducted by researchers Joseph M. Piro and Camilo Ortiz from Long Island University at two elementary schools over several years. The study examined the effects of keyboard music training on student cognition, vocabulary, and verbal sequencing. The results of the study clarify the role of music study on cognition, language, and literacy. Vocabulary and verbal sequencing are important language skills needed for decoding and reading comprehension. Students participating in the music training had significantly better vocabulary and verbal sequencing scores than students in a matched control group. The authors conclude that music training should be considered one of several instructional approaches that educators use to improve reading achievement in children.
Summer Institute Features Jazz: Kent State University will host a summer institute entitled “Jazz and the American Century: Using Jazz as a Primary Source in Humanities and Social Sciences Classroom” on June 21-26, 2009. Jazz and the American Century will introduce concepts and ideas regarding popular music as a primary source document, engage participants in discussions related to bringing jazz into the classroom as a means to enhance student engagement, and help develop humanities-based curricular models using popular music as a primary source.
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Information Coordinator for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.Ohioedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.OAAE.net).