129th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
Ohio House is Back to 99 Members: Kevin Boyce, former State Treasurer and Columbus City Council member, was sworn-in on May 9, 2012 to serve the current 27th House District, replacing Representative Carlton Weddington, who resigned in March. With this
appointment the Ohio House is back to its full 99 members.
Update on Pension Plans: Four bills have been introduced in the Ohio Senate to change Ohio’s pension systems. The bills are SB340 (Niehaus/Kearney), Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund; SB341 (Niehaus/Kearney), School Employees Retirement System; SB342 (Niehaus/Kearney), State Teachers Retirement System; and SB343(Niehaus/Kearney), Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. Discussions continue on the legislative changes in store for the Highway Patrol Retirement System. Hearings on the bills are being held in the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator Kevin Bacon.
News from Washington, D.C.
More Action on the National Budget: The U.S. House Committee on the Budget, chaired by Representative Paul Ryan, reported HR4966 the Sequester Replacement Act of 2012 on May 7, 2012. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this bill and HCR112 (approved on March 29, 2012) stop across the board automatic federal spending cuts that would go into effect in January 2013. The automatic cuts, referred to as sequestration, were included in the Budget Control Act (BCA) approved in August 2011, and go into effect if Congress fails to reduce the federal budget by $1.2 trillion.
Instead, HR4966 and HCR112 abandon the BCA plan in FY13 for defense and non-defense discretionary funding; maintain sequestration for Medicare and some mandatory programs; and reduce discretionary funding by $19 billion, which brings the total funding cap to $1.049 trillion, the amount set in HCR112. The bills also increase funding for defense by $8 billion above the existing cap, but lower funding for non-defense discretionary funding by $27 billion below the existing cap. To make up for the increases in defense, a separate bill was approved by the House Budget Committee to reduce funding by $309 billion over ten years for a number of federal programs that support children and low-income families, including food stamps, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and social service programs for children and the elderly.
HR4966 must still be approved by the U.S. House and Senate. President Obama has already stated that he would veto the bill in its current form.
Read more about the cuts.
SOS (Save Our Schools) Convention this Summer: Save Our Schools (SOS) is holding a “People’s Platform Convention” August 3-5, 2012 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington D.C. Save Our Schools is a coalition of individuals and groups that came together last year in Washington, D.C. to support public education. The coalition
developed the following four guiding principles to support their work:
- Equitable funding across all public school communities
- An end to high stakes testing used for the purpose student, teacher, and school evaluations
- Teacher, family, and community leadership in forming public education policies
- Curriculum developed for and by local school communities
This year the coalition is coming together to develop a legislative plank that will address public school reforms that are not focused on standardized testing and privatization of public schools.
Information about how to attend the convention in August is available at http://saveourschoolsmarch.com/
HB521 (Dovilla) Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit: The Ohio House approved on May 9, 2012 HB521, which increases the maximum total amount of tax credits allowed per year for completion of motion pictures certified as tax credit-eligible productions. The vote was
94 to 3.
SB295 (Coley) Repeal HB194: The Ohio House approved SB292 (Coley) on May 8, 2012 by a vote of 54 to 42. SB295 repeals HB194 (Blessing/Mecklenborg) Election Reform, but it does not return election law to pre-HB194 status. For example, provisions regarding
early voting, which were part of Ohio law pre HB194, are not reinstated in SB295.
HB194 is facing a referendum in November 2012 backed by Fair Elections Ohio. There isn’t any precedent in Ohio for the legislature to repeal a law also facing a referendum. Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a statement on May 8, 2012 saying that with its repeal, there isn’t any reason to keep the referendum of HB194 on the November ballot. However, Fair Elections Ohio, according to their web site, wants the early voting provision to be put back into law, and is considering all of their options regarding the pending referendum.
This Week at the Statehouse
TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012
Senate Education, Senator Lehner chair The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9:30 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on the following bills:
- HB375 (Butler) Property Sale by School Districts, which would allow school districts to sell real property to private, nonprofit institutions of higher education.
- HB437 (Roegner) School Board Vehicles: Increases the number of miles a school district board may authorize its motor vehicles for out-of-state travel.
- SB335 (Turner/Lehner) Municipal School Districts/Community Schools, which would revise the management of school districts and community schools located within municipal school districts.
House State Government and Elections Committee, Representative Maag, chair. The House State Government and Elections Committee will meet at 1:30 PM in Hearing Room 116. Among the bills that the committee will consider is SCR14 (Jones) the World Choir Games, which would recognize the 2012 World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a global event of cultural significance to Ohio and the U.S. and expressing support by designating the month of July 2012 as “World Choir Games Month.” A vote is expected.
House Education Committee, Representative Stebelton, chair The House Education Committee will meet at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room 313. The committee will receive sponsor testimony on SB316 (Lehner) Mid-biennium review — Education/Early Education/Workforce, pending referral.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2012
House Education Committee, Representative Stebelton chair. The House Education Committee will meet at 5:00 PM in Hearing Room 313. The committee will receive testimony on HB525 (Williams/Amstutz) Municipal School Districts-Community Schools, and SB316 (Lehner) Mid-biennium review — Education/Early Education/Workforce.
THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2012
House Education Committee, Representative Stebelton chair. The House Education Committee will meet at 10:00 AM in Hearing Room 313. The committee will receive testimony on HB525 (Williams/Amstutz) Municipal School Districts-Community Schools, and SB316 (Lehner) Mid-biennium review — Education/Early Education/Workforce.
State Board of Education to Meet:
The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, will meet on May 14 and 15, 2012 at the Ohio School for the Deaf.
MONDAY, MAY 14, 2012
The Executive Committee, chaired by Debe Terhar, will meet at 9:00 AM. The Committee will discuss the July Retreat and the annual evaluation of the State Superintendent.
The Achievement, Capacity, and Select Urban committees will meet at 9:30 AM.
The Achievement Committee, chaired by Angela Thi Bennett, will discuss the following:
- Approve a resolution of intent to adopt the revised standards for fine arts and world languages
- Approve a resolution of intent to adopt the standards for financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and business education
- Receive an update on revisions to the Early Learning Standards
- Receive an update on standards for social studies relative to SB165 (Obhof) to include content on specified historical documents in the state academic standards and in the high school American history and government curriculum.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will discuss College-Preparatory Boarding Schools- Recommendation for Selection of School Operator under Chapter 3328 of the Revised Code; HB 116 updates to the Anti-Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Model Policy; OAC Rule 3301-24-05, Licensure; Compulsory Attendance and Truancy Laws.
The Select Committee on Urban Education, chaired by Joe Farmer, will receive an overview of special education services and the needs of students with disabilities in Ohio’s urban areas presented by the Office of Exceptional Children and Columbus City Schools; discuss a parent and advocate perspective on students with disabilities with Mrs. Margaret Burley, Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities; discuss the April 23 visit to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
The Board will recognize Title 1 Schools at 11:15 AM and then recess for lunch.
Following lunch at 1:00 PM the full board will participate in required annual ethics training from the Ohio Ethics Commission.
At 3:15 PM the Board will receive updates from the Achievement, Capacity, and Select Committee on Urban Education committees, and then convene into an executive session. Following the executive session the Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by C. Todd
Jones, will discuss the Mid-Biennium Budget Review Bills; receive an update on the Cleveland Plan legislation; discuss Special Education; and receive legislative updates on House Bills 462 and 437.
The Board will then adjourn for the evening.
TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012
The Policy and Procedures Committee, chaired by Rob Hovis and Ohio State School for the Blind and Ohio School for the Deaf Governance Task Force, chaired by Dannie Greene, will meet at 8:00 AM.
At 9:00 AM the full Board will receive a presentation about the implementation of the Common Core standards.
The Board will reconvene its business meeting at 11:15 AM. The Board will receive public participation on agenda items, the report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and take action on the resolutions included below.
The Board will then discuss old business, new business, and miscellaneous business, and receive public participation on non-agenda items, at 1:00 PM, and adjourn.
Resolutions To Be Considered by the State Board of Education on May 15, 2012:
#6 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Academic Content Standards for the Fine Arts and World Languages.
#7 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Adopt Academic Content Standards in Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship and Business.
#11 Approve a Resolution of Appointment to the Educator Standards Board.
#12 Approve a Resolution of Intent to Adopt the State Board of Education’s Diversity Strategies for Successful Schools Policy.
#13 Approve a Resolution to Select the SEED Foundation as the Operator for the SEED School of Cincinnati, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 3328.11.
#14 Approve a Resolution to Delegate to the Superintendent of Public Instruction the Responsibility for Negotiating and Entering into an Operator Contract with the SEED Foundation for the Operation of the SEED School of Cincinnati.
#15 Approve a Resolution to Approve the Plan of the Governing Board for the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center to Appoint Additional Members to the Board, pursuant to Section 3311.056 of the Ohio Revised Code.
View the State Board of Education’s schedule.
Policy Matters Ohio Weighs-in on MBR: Wendy Patton, Senior Project Director, Policy Matters Ohio, presented testimony on the Governor Kasich’s legislative package referred to as the Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) before the Senate Finance Committee on May 9, 2012. The testimony summarized the legislative changes in HB487 and the other MBR bills as more cuts to services; more “unscrutinized” tax breaks that leave Ohio with “inadequate revenue to make necessary investments” for the future; more unfunded or underfunded mandates; and more privatization.
The testimony notes, for example, that the third-grade guarantee (included in SB316 – Lehner) would cost hundreds of millions of dollars spanning preK-3rd grade, and no funds are allocated to support the plan for early child care programs to implement the Step Up to Quality (tiered rating system) criteria.
The MBR bills expand privatization in several areas, such as the sale and leaseback of state and local public buildings; weights and measures; and public health inspections. According to Ms. Patton, when the public loses oversight of services, there is less
transparency, and the public loses the ability to keep tabs on how public money is spent, or not spent.
Several cuts in services are proposed, including those for the Department of Youth Services, nutrition, the Department of Aging, and disease prevention.
The proposed changes in tax policies for financial institutions would close some tax loopholes, but then the tax revenue saved is given back to the banks, when Ohio needs additional tax revenue to restore state and local services that have been cut. And, Ohio is failing to capitalize on the state’s mineral wealth as lawmakers fail to take action on the governor’s proposal to increase the severance tax on shale oil/gas extraction, which was removed from HB487 as introduced. Lawmakers should also oppose the governor’s ill advised income tax cut, which mostly benefits high income individuals and is attached to the severance tax increase.
The testimony concludes with the following statement, “Tax cuts eliminate the revenue we need to provide schools with uniform quality across the state that helps kids graduate and community services that keep families’ assets intact. The Mid-Biennium Review fails to review what’s really wrong with the biennial budget and the corrections bill doesn’t correct the problem.”
The testimony is available.
Update on SB316 (Lehner): SB316 is shaping up as a major education reform bill. Last week the Senate approved an amended version of the bill by a vote of 30 to 2.
The bill as amended makes changes in a variety of education provisions including the following topics: Third Grade Reading Guarantee, Assessment and Intervention, and Grants; Legislative Recommendations Regarding Reading Readiness: Promotion and Retention Policies; School and District Accountability; Joint Vocational Schools District Rankings and Report; Performance Indicators for Dropout Prevention Programs; School Report Cards for Parents; Reports of District and School Spending; Presentation of Academic Standards and Model Curricula to the House and Senate Education Committees; Model Curricula for Career Connections Learning Strategies; Parent Trigger/School Restructuring; Teacher Evaluations; Assistant Principal Evaluations; Testing Teachers; Teacher Evaluation Data; Nonrenewal of Teacher and Administrator Contracts; School District Business Manager Functions; Digital and Blended Learning; OhioLearns Gateway: Ed Choice Eligibility; Assessment Data for Scholarship Students; Autism Scholarship and Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program; Calamity Days; Community School Sponsor Rankings; Additional Measures to Rank Community School Sponsors; ESC Sponsor Community Schools; New Sponsor for Community Schools; Community School Sponsor Definition; Combining Community School and
District Data; Community School Governing Authority Membership; Single Sex Community Schools; Community School Contracts on the ODE Website; Community School Enrollment Verification; Community School Mandate Review Panel; Access to School District Property; College Preparatory Boarding School Governance; STEM Schools; Educational Service Center Agreements; Direct Billing for Educational Service Center Services; Graduation Credit for the Study of History and Government; Admission of Transferring Students; Licensing of Preschool and Latchkey Programs; Reporting Data of Young Children; Definition of State Education Aid; School Facilities Programs; Study of Licensure Requirements for Media Specialists; Body Mass Index Clarification; Sale of Beverages in Schools; Tiered Quality Rating System; Child Day-care Center Administrator Qualifications; Licensure of Type B Family Day-Day Homes; In-Home Aides; Employment of Persons with Developmental Disabilities; State Workforce Policy Board; Registered Apprenticeships; Workers’ Compensation Learn to Earn; and Office of Workforce Transformation Web Site.
Earlier in the week the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, made significant changes (over 40) by adopting an omnibus amendment and an amendment that requires schools/school districts to provide parents with the latest report card of a school during the admissions process offered by Senator Schiavoni before reporting the bill.
In summary, the bill now delays implementation of the third-grade reading guarantee until 2013-14 and lowers the qualifying test score from “proficient” to “limited” for students to be promoted to fourth grade; provides $13 million to implement the reading guarantee; delays implementation of the A-F report card rating system until 2012-13 school year and establishes a task force to recommend changes in the state’s accountability system; changes the teacher re-testing provision; excludes certain students, such as “habitual truants” from the calculations of teacher evaluations; extends the date in which teachers and administrators must be notified about the status of their contract; makes the Body Mass Index optional; and more.
During the Senate debate on the bill several amendments were tabled, including amendments that would have required teachers in charter schools to participate in the state’s new teacher evaluation system; removed the third party evaluators from the bill; removed the expenditure ranking system from current law; and an amendment that would have provided more flexibility to school districts regarding teacher evaluations. The bill now moves to the Ohio House for consideration.
Read a comparative synopsis of SB316.
School Funding Presentations Continue: Paolo DeMaria, a principal at Education First, concluded on May 8, 2012 his overview of Ohio’s system for funding schools before the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz. Mr. DeMaria’s remarks focused on how local revenue is raised and the challenges that state and school leaders must overcome in Ohio to implement a school funding system.
According to the presentation, Ohio’s school districts in 2010 received 44.6 percent of their revenue from local sources through the income tax ($331 million) and a variety of property taxing options ($8.6 billion).
A map of school district valuations per pupil by quintile for the 2011-12 school year shows that many school districts in the southern and northwest part of the state could generate only $90,591 or less per pupil in local revenue, while wealthier school districts could generate $178,846 or more per pupil through local taxes.
To make Ohio’s tax structure even more complicated, there are adjustments in law that affect the amount of local revenue that can be raised. These adjustments include rollbacks, the homestead exemption, other exemptions, and House Bill 920, which became law in 1976 and adjusts the tax rate (creating an effective tax rate) to ensure that school districts (and other local taxing authorities) only raise the amount of revenue specified in the original levy, except for new construction.
Mr. DeMaria explained how boards of education calculate the benefits of all the taxing options relative to House Bill 920. Currently 302 school districts have chosen to operate at the twenty mill floor, which means that their effective tax rate for one or more classes of property has dropped below 20 mills, and as a result, these school districts receive some growth in their local taxes. Other school districts have combined the 20 mill floor growth with an income tax to raise additional revenue.
Mr. DeMaria also opined that to the public it appears that boards of education ask for more mills for a levy than they really need. This is because school districts must raise enough local revenue in the beginning of a levy to balance income and expenses over several years of the levy. In terms of ballot frequency, from 1995-2005 207 school
districts were on the ballot up to 2 times; 154 districts 3-4 times; 124 districts 5-6 times; and 130 districts 7-15 times.
Under “Challenges and Emerging Issues” Mr. DeMaria talked about charter school funding, special education, gifted education, money following the child, human capital management, technology, inequities, return on investment/efficiencies, and more. Mr. DeMaria said that the overall question that policy makers should consider is, “How can fiscal policy support other reforms– and improve student achievement?”
Chairman Amstutz announced that a web site is being developed and will include additional resources about school funding.
If you are interested in receiving copies of Mr. DeMaria’s testimony, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
HB536 (Gerberry) Business Property Tax Exemption: Allows a board of township trustees to reduce the percentage or term of a property tax exemption granted to a business under a tax increment financing agreement if the business fails to create the number of new jobs the business agreed to create.
HB543 (Anielski) Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention: Enacts the “Jason Flatt Act” to require public schools to train staff in youth suicide awareness and prevention.
SB340 (Niehaus/Kearney) Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund: Revises the law governing the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.
SB341 (Niehaus/Kearney) School Employees Retirement System: Revises the law governing the School Employees Retirement System.
SB342 (Niehaus/Kearney) State Teachers Retirement System: Revises the law governing the State Teachers Retirement System.
SB343 (Niehaus/Kearney) Public Employees Retirement System: Revises the law governing the Public Employees Retirement System.
New Report on the Status of Arts Education in New Jersey: The New Jersey Arts Education Census Project released on May 10, 2012 “Keeping the Promise-Arts Education for Every Child: The Distance Traveled — The Journey Remaining” an update of a previous report released in 2006 on the status of arts education programs in New Jersey. The report was prepared by Bob Morrison of Quadrant Arts Education Research and is supported through a public-private partnership that includes the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, New Jersey Department of Education, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, and Quadrant Arts Education Research.
According to the report “…New Jersey has made great strides in achieving equal access to arts education for all students in the state but there is still work to do”.
The number of students who have access to arts education has increased to 97 percent, with music and visual art nearly universally available, but according to Bob Morrison “more remains to be done.”
He writes, “Two key findings include the need for better accountability for arts education. Great policies with uneven accountability mean many students who should participate in arts programs are not given the opportunity. Secondly, there are great arts programs across all economic categories in New Jersey, but for the first time we are seeing a connection between the affluence of a community and the level of arts education.”
The report is available at http://www.artsednj.org/.
P. Buckley Moss Foundation: The P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education promotes the integration of the arts into all educational programs, with a special focus on children who learn in different ways. The Foundation makes grants for new or evolving
programs that integrate the arts into educational programming in grades K-12. The purpose is to aid and support teachers who wish to establish an effective learning tool using the arts. The maximum award is $1,000. The deadline is September 30, 2012. For more information please visit http://www.mossfoundation.org/.
Guitars in the Classroom Program: The Guitars in the Classroom program (GITC) trains, supports, and encourages teachers who want to integrate music-making in their lessons and daily school activities. The program was started in 1998 by Jessica Baron in California, and now has spread to thousands of classrooms. GITC is free to teachers and provides a guitar, instruction, and singing and leading simple songs. The program is sponsored by by NAMM, The International Music Products Association, and GAMA, the Guitars and Accessories Marketing Association. More information is available.