Governor Hosts Second Town Hall Meeting on the Budget: Governor Kasich will hold a second “Town Hall” meeting on the proposed FY14-15 budget on Monday, February 4, 2013 at 7:00 PM. The first Town Hall meeting was held last week and focused on school funding. (For details please see #3 below.) This meeting will explain the governor’s plan to cut taxes. It will stream live on the Ohio Channel.
State of the State Address: The Ohio House and Senate approved on January 30, 2013 two resolutions moving the governor’s annual State of the State Address this year to Lima, Ohio. The address will be presented on February 19, 2013 at 6:30 PM at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center, and will be covered by several media outlets, including the Ohio Channel.
First Bills Introduced: Lawmakers in the Ohio House introduced 23 bills on January 29, 2013 signaling the start of the “real work” for 130th General Assembly. The following bills introduced relate to education:
- HB1 (Derickson/Romanchuk): Workforce Development
- HB8 (Roegner/Kunze): School Safety
- HB10 (C. Hagen): Fiscal Integrity and Accountability Requirements for Public Schools
- HB14 (Pelanda): School Records
- HB18 (Patmon): Metal Detectors in School
Governor Kasich’s Executive Budget for FY14-15 will be introduced on February 4, 2013, but the actual language of the budget bill for education will not be available until later in the month.
130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold committee meetings this week.
The House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, will meet on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 10:00 AM in room 313. The committee will receive testimony from Tim Keen, Director of the Office of Budget and Management, and testimony from the Legislative Service Commission regarding the state’s FY14-15 operating budget, pending introduction and referral.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, will meet on Wednesday, February 6, 2012 at 5:00 PM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive a presentation from State Board of Education Vice President Tom Gunlock and Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Sawyers.
Governor Presents the Executive Education Budget: Governor Kasich made several presentations on January 31, 2013 explaining his administration’s new school/district funding formula and FY14-15 education budget. Accompanying the Governor were Tim Keen, Director of the Office of Budget and Management, Director Richard Ross and Assistant Policy Director Barbara Mattei-Smith of the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education, and Sara Dove, Teacher Liaison.
In his first budget, HB153 (Amstutz), Governor Kasich replaced the Evidence-Based Model, a school funding system implemented by Governor Strickland in 128-HB1 (Skyes), with a temporary “bridge formula”, and promised to develop a new school funding formula by the next budget.
According to Governor Kasich, his administration’s new school funding formula is fully funded; constitutional; removes politics from the debate; and includes a “guarantee” that no school district will receive “less in state formula aid” than in 2013. The governor was adamant about eliminating the guarantee in future years, although state aid for this biennium includes over $400 million in each fiscal year for over 400 school districts on a “state aid guarantee”. Several types of state aid guarantees have been used over the past years to stabilize state funding for school districts, when state per pupil aid has not kept pace with actual costs for services and/or mandates, and/or enrollment in school districts has dropped.
The governor’s proposed education budget provides combined General Revenue Funds (GRF) and Ohio Lottery Profits of $7.4 billion in FY14 and $7.7 billion in FY15, which is an increase of $1.2 billion (12 percent) over $6.9 billion in FY13. The increase is still shy of restoring the $1.8 billion that school districts lost in FY12-13, but, details about the funding levels for other components of the education budget will not be available until the budget bill language is introduced in the Ohio House over the next few weeks.
The governor’s presentations provided some information about how state aid would be determined and distributed to schools/districts, and some of the policy changes that would also be included in the education budget. For example, instead of using, a per pupil foundation formula to determine state aid, Governor Kasich is proposing to equalize the amount that school districts can raise on 20 mills at the 96th percentile in property wealth, which is $250,000 per pupil. About four percent of school districts (24) have a higher per pupil valuation than $250,000, and will not benefit from this equalization of the tax base.
Another part of the funding plan, Targeted Resources, provides state funding to supplement what can be raised on the next 5-15 mills, based on district property wealth and income wealth.
The following provides some additional information about the main funding components of the proposed budget. Please note, this information is subject to change as more information becomes available. These main funding components total $6.23 billion in FY14 and $6.43 billion in FY15:
Core Opportunity Funds: The plan provides state aid to equalize what districts can raise on 20 mills and what can be raised with a per pupil tax base of $250,000. Total allocation: $3.835 billion in FY14 and $3.879 billion in FY15.
Targeted Resources: Since most school districts levy between 30 and 40 mills, addition state aid to equalize from 5-15 mills, in addition to the 20 mills, will be provided, based on school district property and income wealth for school districts at or below the 80th percentile. Total allocation: $602.8 million in FY14 and $702.9 million in FY15.
Students with Disabilities: More details are needed, but the new plan funds the special education categories identified by the Ohio Coalition for Students with Disabilities at 100 percent. The plan also includes $25 million for preschool special education, and increases from $10 million to $100 million funding for exceptional special education costs. Total allocation: $711.2 million in FY14 and $765.3 million in FY15.
English Language Learners: More details need to be provided about this component, which would provide an additional $1,500 per pupil for English language learners in their first year of school; 75 percent of that amount in the second year; and 50 percent of that amount in the third year. However, some resources would still be allocated for students whose parents do not speak English. Total allocation: $17.7 million in FY14 and $18.8 million in FY15.
Early Childhood Education: More details about this component are needed. The total allocation will be $90 million in FY14 and $90.3 million in FY15 for school districts with high levels of poverty.
Economically Disadvantaged Students: Between $20 – $1000 per pupil will be allocated based on the concentration of poverty in the district as reported on the Local Report Cards. Total allocation: $488.8 million in FY14 and $488.8 million in FY15.
Gifted Education: Again, more details are needed, but the plan provides $50 per student for identification and services for gifted students. Total allocation: $85.2 million in FY14 and $85.2 million in FY15. There are questions about how services for gifted students would be provided if changes are made in funding for Education Service Centers, and how schools/districts would be held accountable for providing services to gifted students.
Guarantee: According to Governor Kasich, the guarantee is reluctantly continued in this budget to avoid the “chaos” which might happen if it was discontinued. However, the Governor urges educators and policy makers to find some way to eliminate the guarantee. Total allocation: $464.3 million in FY14 and $416.1 million in FY15.
Other funds included:
Straight A Fund: Creates the Straight ‘A’ Fund, which is a $300 million competitive grant program that would support innovation and efficient programs in schools/districts. Proposals for the grant would be evaluated by an outside panel.
Early College Credit: More details are needed, but sets a standard rate statewide for school districts to support students who are participating in a variety of programs to earn college credit in high school.
Community School Facility Funding: More details are needed, but provides $100 per pupil for community schools facilities. Since there are over 100,000 students this year attending charter schools in the state, the fund would be at least $10 million. This money would not be deducted from school district state aid. More information is needed about whether or not eschools would be eligible for the funds (since the students work from home), and whether or not for-profit charter school managers, that own their own school buildings, would be able to access this fund.
All Day Kindergarten: Funds all-day Kindergarten programs fully for school districts that have the program.
Career Tech. The plan includes increases in support for career tech programs, but the details were not provided.
Technology: Provides $10 million to support technology infrastructure, but few details were provided.
School Safety Grants: More details are needed, but the budget includes $8 million.
Transportation: According to the presentation, transportation will be funded separately based on a formula that considers efficiency, miles traveled, and density.
The following are some of the policy changes that are proposed:
- Maintains the current levels of reimbursements that some school districts are receiving for the phase-out of tangible personal property taxes. Again, more details are needed.
- Removes barriers and provides flexibility regarding some school district requirements. For example, school districts would be allowed to determine a school year based on hours of instruction rather than days and hours of instruction. Safety and health requirements will not be waived, and curriculum requirements will be maintained.
- Connects children to the jobs of the future. More details about this component are needed.
- Creates another voucher program. A new provision would allow Kindergarten students whose families have household incomes of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($46,000) to receive a voucher to attend private schools. In the following year first grade students would be allowed to receive the voucher. The state would allocate $8.5 million in FY14 and $17 million in FY15 to support this program, rather than making a deduction from school district state aid.
According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, about 45 percent of the approximately 1.8 million students who attend Ohio’s public schools could ultimately qualify for the voucher. However, the program would be capped by the amount of state money made available to fund it, and so 2000 students in FY14 and 4000 in FY15 would be able to obtain a voucher. (“Your Schools/Only Limit on New Voucher is the Budget” by Catherine Candisky and Jim Siegel, Columbus Dispatch, February 3, 2013.)
Vouchers would also be made available to K-3 students who attend schools that do not meet the third grade reading guarantee measure on the Local Report Cards. More information is needed to clarify if the students also need to be reading below grade level to qualify for the voucher.
- Expands academic supports for career-technical education so that students are also prepared to enter two and four year colleges. Proposes better connections between career technical education and the available jobs in the real world.
- Allows school districts to make their own decisions about contracting for services with Educational Service Centers.
- Empowers principals to have more control over funding decisions and ensure that funds are directed to students. More details are needed about this provision.
- Supports better comparative tools to share information with other educators and the community about schools/districts fiscal performance, school performance, and student performance.
- Permits school districts to raise additional revenue through local levies. (Doesn’t cap local levies.)
One of the many questions that the new school funding proposal raises is what research was used by members of Governor Kasich’s administration to support the decision to equalize the tax base at $250,000 per pupil given that so many school districts are still on the guarantee at a cost of $400 million a year?
More details about the new formula and the education budget will be available this week when the governor introduces his executive budget and the “Blue Books” from the Office of Budget and Management are made available. The language of the budget bill will be available later this month. According to the governor, district-by-district spreadsheets should be available this week also.
Information about the governor’s education budget and new funding system is available.
Race to the Top Year Two Report for Ohio Released: The U.S. Department of Education released on February 1, 2013 Race to the Top (RttT) progress reports for year two (2011-12) of the grant program for Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.
The U.S. Department of Education implemented in 2010 the Race to the Top grant program to focus state education reform efforts in four areas: implementing college- and career-ready standards and assessments; building robust data systems to improve instruction; supporting great teachers and school leaders; and turning around persistently low-performing schools. Approximately $5 billion in grants have now been awarded to 24 states and the District of Columbia for Race to the Top and Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge.
The year-two reports were prepared from Annual Performance Report data, other performance reports, site visits, and communication with state staff. According to a summary of state RttT progress, some states are developing tools and resources for educators, students and parents; some have created state-level support networks; some have developed new initiatives to turn around low-performing schools; and some have implemented new teacher and principal evaluations.
Ohio educators have committed to meet the following goals through the Race to the Top grant:
- Increase high school graduation rates by 0.5 percent per year to approximately 88 percent by the end of the grant period
- Reduce the graduation rate gap by 50 percent between underrepresented and majority students in participating LEAs and community schools
- Reduce academic performance gaps by 50 percent on national and statewide assessments for the same students
- Reduce the gap between Ohio and the nation’s best-performing states by 50 percent on national reading and mathematics assessments
- More than double the increase in college enrollment of students under the age of 19 to 14.5 percent by fall 2013, and more than double the increase in college persistence of enrolled students to 10.35 percent within the same time period.
According to the year-two report, Ohio has made progress in building a statewide data system that can track students’ progress from kindergarten through college; evaluating teachers and principals; credentialing evaluators for Ohio’s teacher and principal evaluation systems; developing survey tools to gather feedback from teachers and parents; drafting educator preparation program metrics; revising education preparation program report cards; developing more tools to inform local education associations and teachers; and establishing regional STEM hubs.
The report states, “Throughout the year, Ohio focused on implementing its Race to the Top plan with quality and fidelity. For example, in spring 2012 ODE held a stocktake meeting to analyze implementation challenges and make project adjustments where necessary. The State also surveyed participating LEAs about the State’s communication efforts and used the data to reevaluate and improve outreach to LEAs.”
The report also identifies the following challenges:
- Aligning ODE and Ohio Board of Regents priorities
- Developing a comprehensive contractor oversight process
- Providing support for low performing community schools and virtual schools
- Identifying ways to sustain Race to the Top reforms once federal funding ends
- Integrating data as a result of a delay in the implementation of the Instructional Improvement System (IIS)
- Evaluating alternative routes to teacher certification to ensure high quality implementation
- Clarifying expectations related to the use of student growth measures in an effort to mitigate the potential for variation of implementation of educator evaluation systems among local education agencies
In year three of the grant Ohio educators will continue to evaluate and refine the implementation of all Race to the Top projects, and will expand communication of the results with stakeholders, the general public, and policy makers in order to find ways to sustain financial support beyond the grant period.
The report is available.
News from the ODE:
Connecting the Dots Conference: The Connecting the Dots Conference will be held in Columbus on March 22, 2013. Registration for this free event opens the week of February 4, 2013. The conference will provide interactive training experiences for school/district teams. Participants will learn how to integrate reform initiatives to create a customized implementation plan. The afternoon breakout topics will include a presentation about Ohio’s Instructional Improvement System (IIS), Student Learning Objectives, Formative Instructional Practices, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and more. Online information about how to register will be available soon.
HB555 Includes Teacher Evaluation System Changes: Please visit the ODE teacher evaluation website often to keep informed about the ongoing changes that have been made to Ohio’s teacher and principal evaluation systems. The web site is available.
Legislation approved in December 2012, 129-HB555, contains changes related to the use of Value-Added data for teacher evaluations. Through June 30, 2014, the use of Value Added must constitute the majority of the 50 percent student growth measure required for evaluations for teachers who teach only subjects in which Value-Added data exists. Beginning July 1, 2014, the 50 percent student growth measure must be exclusively Value-Added data for those who only teach Value-Added subjects.
Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, for teachers who teach Value-Added subjects, as well as other subjects, Value Added must be weighted proportionately to their teaching assignments, with the remainder coming from vendor assessments or local measures, including student learning objectives.
A fact sheet with frequently asked questions is available regarding HB555 changes at the web site listed above.
2013 Ohio’s Education Technology Conference: Ohio’s annual Education Technology Conference will be held on February 11-13, 2013 in Columbus. The conference will focus on practical information about expanding and blending technology into classroom instruction and feature the newest technology available to streamline data and resources for school improvement data and services to support students. There will be several sessions on Monday and Tuesday about the new Thinkgate Instructional Improvement System. The first day’s program will spotlight blended learning for K-12 administrators and teachers. Day two of the program is Tech Coordinator Tuesday. Interactive sessions will focus on social media and practical ways to engage students in classrooms. Day three features a round table discussion that focuses on college-level learning in the digital age. This session will be hosted by the Ohio Board of Regents. Information about the conference is available.
Webinars on new Instructional Improvement System: ODE and recently-selected Instructional Improvement System (IIS) provider Thinkgate are hosting a series of webinars designed to introduce the features of the IIS. The webinars will be available online after the event.
The first webinar, which provides a general demonstration and rollout timeline, is now available for viewing.
Education Reforms Being Challenged: Jeff Bryant writes for the Campaign for America’s Future Blog that civil rights and social activists are increasingly speaking out about certain education reforms that are serving the self-interests of the reformers rather than children. (“The Inconvenient Truth of Education “Reform”” by Jeff Bryant, Campaign for America’s Future Blog, February 2, 2013.)
According to the Blog, members of the Journey for Justice Movement from Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Newark, and New York, met last week with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to protest the policies of the Obama administration that promote closing low-performing schools through the Race to the Top grant program’s “turnaround school models”. These policies are disproportionately affecting minority and low-income families in low-income neighborhood schools, which are often closed and then replaced by charter schools, run by for-profit entities that have no connection with the community or neighborhood, and no accountability to the parents. Journey for Justice has filed several Title VI complaints with the U.S. Department of Education as a result.
Mr. Bryant also writes that the National School Boards Association released a statement on January 29, 2013 saying that it is proposing federal legislation to protect local school district governance from federal intrusions at the local level. The statement is available.
The article also describes how the nonprofit organization In the Public Interest released last week emails that show how the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Chiefs for Change, both founded by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, are currently working with several state legislatures to write education laws that benefit the corporations that are supporting the foundations. For example, the Blog reports that an investigation by Lee Fang, who writes for The Nation, discovered that the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) has been involved in organizing meetings between corporate donors and state superintendents who are members of Chiefs for Change; how FEE influenced new laws in Maine that require students to take online courses and allow public dollars to pay for private entities to deliver online courses; and how FEE helped write legislation that increased the use of the Florida achievement test, a proprietary test under contract to Pearson, which is an FEE donor.
The author concludes that “…. the reform measures in their current frame are resulting in deep and pervasive civil wrongs. And people still considering themselves to be allied with the noble cause of “education reform” need to either drop the pretension of being “for students” and “civil rights” or pause to reconsider “whose side are you on”.
The Blog is available.
Read the In The Public Interest article.
Current Status of Ohio’s State Budget Reviewed: Policy Matters Ohio released on January 31, 2013 a budget policy brief that describes how the budget decisions that policy makers made in FY12-13 (129-HB153 Amstutz) will continue to harm Ohio’s citizens and communities unless a “more balanced approach to state budgeting” is adopted. The report provides timely information about the current status of several state programs and agencies in preparation for the release this week of Governor Kasich’s Executive Budget for FY14-15. The report includes general information about Ohio’s current budget, and then describes specific budget issues related to local government, education, higher education, health and human services, workforce and training, and tax policy.
According to Policy Matters the state budget for FY12-FY13 “…slashed many programs, seized funds from local government and schools, and sold off important state assets. The state took a billion dollars from localities, cutting the Local Government Fund in half and cutting tax reimbursements, promised when the state eliminated local taxes earlier in the decade, by nearly two-thirds. Another billion in tax reimbursements was taken from schools. Libraries, which saw their funds slashed in the previous budget, were trimmed further.”
Here are some details from the brief:
- Tax cuts from 2005 are costing the state about $2.5 billion a year – nearly a dime out of every budget dollar;
- These cuts went mostly to businesses, which no longer pay a tax on corporate profits, and affluent individuals, who got most of a 21 percent income-tax cut;
- The estate tax was eliminated in HB 153, effective in 2013; the local share of the estate tax brought $302.1 million to local governments in FY2011.11
- Other new tax breaks, such as a new personal income tax credit on investments in small business enterprises, will reduce state revenue in the upcoming budget.”
According to a report by Howard Fleeter, who is referenced in the Policy Matters brief, state revenue would not have recovered in FY12-13 without the resources redirected from schools and local governments. (Education Tax Policy Institute, “FY2012 Tax Revenues Come in $373 Million Above Estimates,” Facts & Figures, Summer 2012.)
The information about primary and secondary education, shows that annual state funding for primary and secondary education in Ohio (adjusted for inflation) “…dropped more than a billion dollars over a ten year period to less than $8.7 billion in FY13 from $9.7 billion in FY04, in 2012 dollars.”
At the same time that K-12 education received less funding through the state budget, the state directed more state funding to privately operated charter schools and voucher programs. The report notes, “Over the 10-year period beginning in FY 2003, charter school enrollment has increased 262 percent, while funding for charters has increased more than 500 percent over the same period.” The amount of state and local dollars “…directed to charter schools is approaching $1 billion a year deducted from school district funds.”
The brief is available.
Attention Arts Educators in Columbus!! The Columbus City Schools Board of Education is currently seeking a new superintendent to replace Dr. Gene Harris, who is retiring at the end of June 2013. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and Columbus City Councilman Andrew Ginther have appointed a special commission, the Columbus Education Commission (CEC), to determine how best to support student achievement and career opportunities for students in the Columbus City Schools.
The Columbus Education Commission (CEC), led by former Ohio Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, announced last week that it will hold eight public forums over the next month at selected Columbus City Schools.
The forums will provide an opportunity for community residents to discuss and make suggestions for the commission to consider as it develops its recommendations.
The forum also provides an opportunity for arts educators and arts education advocates to urge the commission to support standards-based sequential instruction in the arts in grades preK-12 in all of the Columbus City Schools, and high quality community-based programs for arts education in the schools.
Arts educators and advocates should share with the commission the role of the arts in the lives of students; how an education in the arts aligns with learning 21st century knowledge and skills; and the impact of the arts on the Columbus and central Ohio economies and communities.
High school students should be encouraged to attend these forums and share their personal stories about how learning the arts has supported academic achievement, inspired creativity, helped them develop collaboration and communication skills, and influenced their career and higher education choices.
Parents should also be encouraged to attend these meetings and describe the benefits of strong programs in the arts for students.
The forums will be held at the following dates and locations from 6-8:00 PM, and dinner will be provided:
Tuesday, February 5, 2012 at Wedgewood Middle School, 3800 Briggs Road
Wednesday, February 6, 2012 at Centennial High School, 1441 Bethel Road
Tuesday, February 12, 2012 Linden-McKinley STEM Academy, 1320 Duxberry Ave
Tuesday, February 19, 2012 South High School, 1160 Ann St
Wednesday, February 20, 2012 Briggs High School, 2555 Briggs Rd
Tuesday, February 26, 2012 Buckeye Middle School, 2950 Parsons Ave
Tuesday, March 5, 2012 Columbus Collegiate Academy-West, 115 S. Gift St
Thursday, March 7, 2012 East High School, 1500 E. Broad St
On Friday, February 8, 2012 the commission itself will also return to Columbus State Community College for its next public meeting. It will meet 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the college’s Center for Workforce Development and will address the following topics:
Morning: “Career Readiness and Business Engagement” – What are the best practices for helping students prepare for careers? How can the educational system and employers work together to create successful outcomes for students and businesses?
Afternoon: “Quality Teachers and Principals” – How do we recruit and retain the best teachers and principals? How does current practice support or undermine this goal?
Information about the CEC, its meetings, and membership is available.
Legislation to Add Arts to Florida Report Cards: The Tampa Bay Times reports on January 25, 2013 that Florida State Representative Charles McBurney and Senator Nancy Detert are sponsoring legislation (HB283 and SB428) that would count student participation in arts education on the state’s report cards for schools and districts. Both lawmakers are Republicans who have been recognized by the Florida Alliance for Arts Education for their support for the arts. (Tampa Bay Times, “Lawmakers propose adding arts education to Florida grade calculation” by Jeff Solochek, January 25, 2013.)
The legislation would require annual reporting of student access to and participation in fine arts courses; the number and certification status of educators providing instruction in the courses; and the manner in which schools are providing the core curricular contents for fine arts. The bills define the arts as visual art, music, dance, and theatre courses.
Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, school grades will include the participation rate of students who are enrolled in fine arts courses in any of grades kindergarten through grade 12. The State Board of Education is required to adopt appropriate criteria for each school grade. The bill, if passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, would take effect July 1, 2013.
The article is available.