Sequestration and Other Bad News: President Obama signed on March 1, 2013 an order to begin sequestration, the automatic spending cuts of the Budget Control Act to reduce federal government spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade. Although the reductions could have been made through spending cuts, raising revenue, or by a combination of both, the President and Congress were unable to come to an agreement, and so the automatic cuts took effect.
The Government Accountability Office has determined that the U.S. Department of Education will be cut by about 5.3 percent. Ohio will lose over the next year approximately $25.1 million in funding for primary and secondary education and $22 million for students with disabilities. In addition there will be cuts in Head Start and federally subsidized child care programs, meaning that fewer children in Ohio will be served.
The list of federal programs that will be cut in Ohio goes on and on, but what really stands out is the number of people who will be furloughed, and how much Ohio’s economy will lose. 26,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense will be furloughed, which means a loss of $161.4 million in pay.
The budget cuts will affect education programs and school budgets starting in the fall of 2013, but school districts will need to notify teachers this spring if they are not going to renew contracts.
There are federal programs that won’t be affected by the cuts. These include student loans and Pell Grants, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, school nutrition programs, and child health programs.
The budget cuts will also affect the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). According to the latest reports, the NEA will lose about 5 percent, which would mean about $7.3 million. The cuts will affect the federal Arts in Education program (administered by the U.S. Department of Education), the Smithsonian, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and other programs.
Another deadline for lawmakers is also approaching on March 27, 2013. That’s when the temporary continuous resolution authorizing current spending for federal departments and agencies expires. Congress and the President were not able to agree upon appropriations for FY13 in October 2012, and so the government has been operating on continuous resolutions since that time. If the March deadline is not met the government could face a shutdown.
To top off the trifecta, on May 19, 2013 an agreement reached by Congress and the President to suspend the debt ceiling limit will expire. By August 2013 Congress might have to increase the debt ceiling again.
The list of federal programs in Ohio affected by the budget cuts is available.
Budget Schedule: The Ohio House seems to be on track to complete work on HB59 (Amstutz) State Operating Budget for FY14-15 and is expected to send the biennial budget bill to the Senate on April 18, 2013. A budget schedule released by the Ohio House shows that subcommittees of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, will meet through March 14, 2013. The House Finance and Appropriations Committee will then receive public testimony, and a substitute version of the bill will be introduced on April 8, 2013. The House schedule includes time for a conference committee on the budget bill the week of June 17, 2013, and a final floor vote on the conference report on June 27, 2013.
Budget Bills Approved: The Ohio House was busy last week putting final touches on four state budget bills while continuing to hear invited testimony on HB59 (Amstutz), the state’s operating budget for FY14-15.
The bills that were approved include HB33 (Hackett) the Industrial Commission Budget, HB34 (Hackett) Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budgets, HB51 (McGregor/Patmon) the Ohio Turnpike bill, and the Transportation Budget HB35 (McGregor).
The Ohio Turnpike bill will allow the state to issue $1.5 billion in bonds to fund highway construction projects. The bill was amended to require the Ohio Department of Transportation to prove the “nexus” between construction projects funded by bond funds and the Ohio Turnpike. The overall Transportation Budget (HB35- McGregor) would increase funding for the Ohio Department of Transportation from the turnpike bond revenue. The transportation budget would increase from $2.85 billion in FY13 to $3 billion in FY14 and $3.14 billion in FY15.
Third Grade Reading Requirements Amended: The Ohio Senate approved SB21 (Lehner) as an emergency measure by a vote of 30-1 last week. The bill revises the requirements for teachers participating in the Third Grade Guarantee Program and makes other changes in the program. The bill removes the requirement that teachers be actively engaged in reading instruction the previous three years.
Report Cards Released: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released on February 27, 2013 the 2011-12 official state report cards for all but five Big 8 districts and four other districts still under investigation by the State Auditor and ODE for attendance data irregularities. The report cards, usually released in August, were delayed due to the attendance investigations. School districts identified with irregularities are required to file a plan with the ODE to correct the errors and policies. Some might have reports cards revised as a result of the investigations.
According to a press release from Acting Superintendent Sawyers, the report cards show that districts and schools improved in 14 of 26 performance indicators and met the state’s stated goal on 21 out of 26. There was also a 61 percent increase in the number of school districts rated excellent with distinction.
However, The Cleveland Metropolitan and Lorain City schools districts are listed in academic emergency, along with 62 community schools.
The report notes that there are now 11 districts in academic watch including, Lima, Toledo, Dayton, Youngstown, East Cleveland, Warrensville Hts., Garfield Hts., Trotwood-Madison, Winton Woods, Painesville, and Upper Scioto Valley schools. 55 community schools are also listed in academic watch in 2011-12.
Superintendent Sawyers also noted that there are 90 high performing schools that are also serving students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The 2012-13 report cards will look very different, as the state transitions to different measures of school/district progress and an A-F rating system.
State, district, and school report cards are available.
This Week at the Statehouse: The House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The House Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 8:30 AM in hearing Room 017. The committee will receive testimony on HB59 (Amstutz) State Operating Budget for FY14-15 from the following organizations: Ohio Association for Gifted Children; the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities; the Association for Career and Technical Education; the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents; the Ohio Association for Career Colleges and Schools; STEM; the Ohio Education Computer Network; and the Ohio Educational Service Centers Association.
The Joint Senate School Safety Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on Tuesday, March 5, 2012 at 7:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on security, school infrastructure, and law enforcement response and protection.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The House Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 8:30 AM in hearing Room 017. The committee will receive testimony from Agudath Israel; the Catholic Conference; the Ohio Association of Independent Schools; and School Choice Ohio on HB59 (Amstutz) State Operating Budget for FY14-15.
The House Higher Education Subcommittee, Representative Rosenberger chair, will meet on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 311. The committee will receive testimony regarding HB59 (Amstutz) State Operating Budget for FY14-15 from the Inter-University Council and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
The House Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 8:30 AM in hearing Room 017. The committee will receive testimony from the Ohio Coalition for Quality Education; the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools; the Ohio Association of Charter School Authorizers; and Summit Academies on HB59 (Amstutz) State Operating Budget for FY14-15.
The House Higher Education Subcommittee, Representative Rosenberger chair, will meet on Thursday, March 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 121. The committee will receive testimony regarding HB59 (Amstutz) State Operating Budget for FY14-15 from the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools and the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.
Friday, March 8, 2013
The House Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet IF NEEDED on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 9:00 AM in hearing Room 017 regarding HB59 (Amstutz) State Operating Budget FY14-15.
Organizations Testify on HB59: Last week several organizations representing public schools presented testimony on HB59 (Amstutz) the State Operating Budget for FY14-15 before the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education (subcommittee), chaired by Representative Hayes. Overall the following themes emerged from the presentations:
- The public common system of schools should be strengthened.
- Governor Kasich’s school funding plan included in HB59 (Amstutz) does not increase equity.
- The cost of an adequate education should be determined and adequately funded.
- The capacity of school districts to raise local revenue should also be considered when determining valuation per student.
- The added state aid for disadvantaged students is too low.
- The fact that so many school districts are on the guarantees means that the school funding system proposed by Governor Kasich will not work.
- Several methodologies have been used in the past to determine an adequate per pupil amount, but state officials have refused to fund them adequately.
- The cuts in funding for educational service centers will also affect school district budgets.
- All students should have access to a complete curriculum that includes art, music, physical education, foreign languages, AP courses, etc. Test scores do not represent the totality of a child’s education.
- The changes in the governance structure of educational service centers will dilute public accountability and the educational focus of the ESCs.
- The proposal that requires school districts to divert funding to other entities to serve subgroups who are not making “consistent progress” is not clear. In some cases school districts might not receive state funding for these subgroups, because they are on the guarantee.
- Expanding voucher programs will dilute public funds and support for public schools.
- Charter schools still receive funds as a deduction from the local school districts, but information about the amount that charter schools will receive has not been made public. Charter schools will receive the full $5000 per pupil and full special education weights without the local share deducted, and other additional funds per student.
- There is no research about the success of the Parent Trigger Law. The law should be made clearer.
The following are highlights of the testimonies from organizations. The testimonies are available.
HB59 Testimony on February 28, 2013
Former State Representative Stephen Dyer, an education fellow at Innovation Ohio, analyzed the new school funding system proposed by Governor Kasich in HB59 and commented about the per pupil valuation, adequacy, the guarantees, flat funding rather than true weighted funding, funding for community schools compared to traditional public schools, and vouchers.
He told the subcommittee that Governor Kasich’s new school funding plan is “inadequate” and does not achieve what it sets-out to do, “even-out the gross disparities in property wealth around Ohio”. He said that it is “troubling” that the cost of an education program for students to succeed is not available in the new formula. The per pupil amount of $5000, (20 mills at $250,000 per valuation) is the “lowest foundation amount in two decades” and lower than the per pupil amount of $5,732, computed in 2009 under Governor Taft using the Building Block methodology. The proposed school funding plan also includes $1.2 billion in temporary funding composed of guarantees and the Straight A grants. When this one-time funding is eliminated, school districts will be back to 2005 funding levels.
According to the testimony students attending traditional public schools received on average approximately $235 or 6.5 percent less in state aid than funding for students in community schools. This budget will continue to fund community schools as a deduction from traditional public schools, and so this inequity will continue.
He also raised a constitutional question about using lottery profits to support another voucher program. According to former Representative Dyer, “…I have serious concerns about the constitutionality of the state earmarking state lottery profits for private education. That seems the antithesis of the reason folks voted for the lottery in the 1970s.”
The testimony includes the following recommendations:
- Integrate the capacity of school districts to raise a mill into the Opportunity Grant.
- Allow districts with higher concentrations of economically disadvantaged children to receive more economically disadvantaged aid.
- Change the weights to true weights, and not fixed dollar amounts that will not grow in future years.
- Figure-out what kids need to succeed and fund it.
- Fund community schools based on what they cost, not through the district of residence.
- Restrict community schools’ ability to accept children from better performing districts.
- Restrict vouchers so only kids transferring to private schools can receive them.
HB59 Testimony on March 1, 2013
Ohio Coalition for Equity and Advocacy of School Funding
Bill Phillis, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Advocacy of School Funding (OCEASF), stressed in his testimony support for the public common school system and the need for state officials to determine an adequate level of per pupil support and fund it.
He contrasted current efforts in Ohio to create a “market-driven” education system, in which some students are winners and some are losers, with the public common school system, which strives to make all students winners. Since the 1990s charter schools and voucher programs have drained funds from the budgets of public school districts, “thus diminishing emphasis on the constitutionally-required system” and shifting the focus of education away from communities. According to the testimony, between 2003 and 2013, the increase in the deduction from school districts for charter schools ($621 million) is more than the increase in foundation funding for school districts between 2003 and 2013 ($575 million). “HB59 enhances the funding of charter schools via deductions from public schools and sets the stage for expansion of the charter school movement.”
He went on to say that the school funding system proposed by Governor Kasich is underfunded and, as a result, hundreds of school districts are on the guarantee. Compared to the total Department of Education funding levels for 2010, during the height of the economic crisis, the proposed FY14-15 levels for K-12 education will be $339.3 million less.
The testimony includes the following recommendations:
- Greatly increase the funding for K-12 education and create a new temporary funding system for FY14, or greatly increase the funding and provide an increase to each district on an equalized basis for FY14. The FY15 funding should be based on a cost analysis of the components of a high quality education.
- Establish a permanent bipartisan, bicameral education finance research and study committee to determine the components of a high quality education, cost out those components and construct a rational system to distribute appropriate funding to all school districts. Or, commission a panel of experts to conduct a cost study and recommend a formula/distribution system for FY15.
- Increases in tax revenue enable Ohio’s leaders to appropriate greater funding increases to public K-12 education, but only if lawmakers “make the critical decision whether to invest more in public education and other services or to change the tax structure.”
- Enact a moratorium on the expansion of publicly-supported choice programs and immediately reduce the per pupil amount of the deduction from school districts for online charter schools.
- Subject privately operated charters and private schools to the same operating and program standards, and the same public audit of educational programming and all funding.
OSABO, BASA, and OSBA
Barbara Shaner, associate executive director for the Ohio Association for School Business Officials, presented testimony along with Damon Asbury, director of legislative services for the Ohio School Boards Association and Thomas Ash, director of governmental relations for the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. The testimony included an analysis of the proposed school funding plan compared to past school funding plans, and concluded that the proposed new plan “leaves many districts (and students) behind.”
In their analysis of the funding plan they found that high and low wealth districts receive just about the same amount of money as a percentage of the state total, and on a per pupil basis, as they have in the past, countering the assertion by the governor’s education consultants that the new system is more equitable.
The difference between this funding plan and past funding plans, however, is the level of the base cost. In this formula the base cost, set at $5000, is lower than in the immediate past, and as a result, many school districts end-up on the guarantee. The reduction in the charge-off from 22 or 23 mill to 20 mills also helps the higher wealth districts more. Declining student enrollment has been the explanation given by the governor’s school funding consultants for the number of low wealth school districts on the guarantee, but the testimony points out that there has been little shift in student enrollment from FY13 to 14. But, in FY13 there are 316 districts on the guarantee costing $68.5 million, while the new school funding plan would increase the number of school districts on the guarantee to 398 at a cost of $464 million.
The testimony includes the following recommendations:
- Direct more funds to districts through the formula rather than through the guarantee.
- Address disparities in educational opportunities among school districts.
- Direct the ODE to conduct a study to determine an appropriate base amount of funding for future budgets.
- Adjust the formula for special education. The proposed categorical amounts for special education are too low, and the proposed plan reduces the total amount of state funding for special education students by 15 percent to provide funds for the new catastrophic cost fund. Since low wealth school districts receive a higher share of state funding for special education students, their contribution to the new fund would be proportionately higher.
- Clarify the impact of the 15 percent reduction for special education funding on school district budgets, since the simulations presented do not include this amount or reductions for charter schools.
- Adjust the proposal for educational service centers. The reductions in funding for ESC will cost districts more.
- Eliminate the changes in the governance structure of educational service centers. The proposal will dilute public accountability and the educational focus of the ESCs.
- Eliminate the proposal that requires school districts to divert funding to other entities to serve student subgroups who are not making “consistent progress”. The proposal is not clearly defined, and in many cases not funded, because so many school districts are on the guarantee.
- Eliminate the two voucher programs.
- Clarify the funding formula for charter schools. Charter schools still receive funds as a deduction from the local school districts, but that information is not provided on the spreadsheets. Charter schools will receive the full $5000 per pupil and full special education weights without the local share deducted, and other additional funds per student.
- Eliminate the provision regarding the Parent Trigger.
Education Tax Policy Institute (ETPI)
The testimony that Dr. Howard Fleeter presented included an analysis of the different components of the proposed new school funding plan including the guarantee, equal yield approach, the mechanics of the Core Opportunity formula, targeted resources, and options for modification. Dr. Fleeter is an economist and consultant for the Education Tax Policy Institute (ETPI), and has participated in the development of several school funding formulae in Ohio since the early 1990s.
In the examination of the guarantee, Dr. Fleeter found that the millage equivalent is more severe for low-wealth districts. The millage equivalent is the number of mills each district would need to adopt in order to replace the amount of money received through the guarantee. This analysis found that lower wealth districts would need to pass from 5-7 mills in order to replace the guarantee, while wealthier school districts would need to pass as little as one mill.
The testimony states that the proposed school funding plan diverts from past plans, because it does not attempt to determine adequate cost. Following the DeRolph school funding decisions in the mid 1990s, school funding experts converged upon Ohio and devised base cost amounts based on student outcomes (John Augenblick and Senator Jeff Jacobson), building blocks (Governor Taft), and evidence-based (Governor Strickland) models.
The equal yield approach selected by Governor Kasich’s school funding consultants raises several issues:
- The equal yield formula is mathematically equivalent to a foundation formula where the foundation level is $5,000 per pupil and the charge off is 20 mills. However, the last time a base cost was computed was in 2009 when it was $5732 per pupil, some $732 more than the current proposal. As a result, lower wealth districts received more state aid ($522 per pupil) in 2009 than they would receive through the new formula.
- Higher wealth school districts benefit from the proposed new formula, because of the reduction in the charge-off from 23 to 20 mills.
- There is no adjustment in the $250,000 per pupil valuation threshold in FY15 for increases in property valuation, which means that more of the share of $5000 per pupil base will be borne by local districts and less by the state. And, in Ohio, as property valuation increases, the tax rate is adjusted, and so school districts will look wealthier, but will not receive additional tax revenue (except on new construction and inside mills). This is known as phantom revenue.
***The unusual changes in property values in recent times raises questions about the efficacy of using the equal yield funding model in Ohio.
***The equal yield approach creates a funding structure where the key parameter in the main school funding component is driven by conditions in the housing market rather than by conditions relating directly to education.
The testimony includes the following recommendations to provide additional funding through the proposed formula for lower wealth schools and eliminate the guarantee.
- Raise the property wealth threshold or raise the foundation level, which is essentially the same. The suggested amount is $6,363 per pupil, which is the per pupil amount in FY09 adjusted for inflation.
- Enhance funding for targeted resources so that more funding is directed to lower wealth districts.
- Increase funding for poverty aid. The new formula increases funding for poverty based assistance by 3.2 percent over FY09 levels while poverty has increased at a much greater rate.
- Adjust the gain caps.
Ohio Education Association
Russ Harris presented testimony for the Ohio Education Association. In his testimony he identified the following concerns about the proposed state funding formula for schools in HB59:
- The proposed formula does not provide a solid foundation of state support for high quality public schools.
- The proposed tax cuts will affect public funding of schools. “Investing in our kids by restoring the cuts to education and developing a funding formula that meets educational needs is a better option.”
- The base cost amount of $5000 per pupil is a significant decrease from the existing $5,732 per pupil in FY09.
- The proposed funding system fails to address the problem of funding guarantees. Districts cannot absorb a loss of $450 million, which is what they would lose if the state eliminates the guarantees.
- The total state funding for public education has always been below 50 percent of state spending.
- The base cost amount is not adjusted in FY15 for inflation, which means that the per pupil amount of $5000 will actually decline in FY15.
- The Third Grade Reading Guarantee is not funded.
- The Straight A program’s focus on reducing costs ignores research-based best practices that increase student achievement. The money ($300 million) would be better spent if it was included in the state aid formula.
- The plan would expand vouchers even in the highest performing school districts. Scare public resources should be used to support our public schools rather than private schools.
- The statutory requirements for the single salary schedule ensures that employees with the same levels of experience and training are treated equally. It prevents unfair and arbitrary pay differentials based on biases, grade levels, and subjects.
- Eliminating the state minimum salaries for teachers based on years of service and training means that there won’t be a basic salary floor for teachers. The current floor, at $20,000, should be revised rather than eliminated.
- The provision requiring students be promoted based on a demonstration of mastery of knowledge and skills raises a number of questions, such as how will mastery be determined?
- There is a concern that by defining instructional time based on hours rather than days, boards of education will shorten the school week, which could lead to disruptions in extracurricular activities, longer school days for young children, disruptions in day care arrangements for parents, etc.
- The divisive parent trigger provision ignites controversy, rather than bringing together parents, the school, and the community to improve the school.
According to the testimony, “As long as Ohio has schools that do not have the resources to provide art, music, advanced placement courses and the other elements of a high quality public education, the state is not meeting its constitutional responsibility – regardless of what you call the new funding formula.”
Ohio Federation of Teachers
Darold Johnson, legislative director of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), included in his testimony remarks about the school funding formula, vouchers, the Cleveland Scholarship Program, charter schools, early childhood education, the school year, the Straight A Fund, the teacher salary schedule, and the parent trigger.
Mr. Johnson noted that the new school funding plan does not improve equity among school districts, and, the effect of charter school funding on school district funding is unclear, because printouts with the charter school deductions are not available.
He expressed the need for all public schools to have sufficient resources to provide a well-rounded education that includes art, music, physical education, foreign languages courses, and a school library and certified librarian who has the funds to purchase the books that excite students to read. Before public funds are spent on private schools through the expanded voucher programs, the state should provide sufficient resources to ensure excellent opportunities are available in every local public school.
In regard to charter schools, Mr. Johnson cited information from an Innovation Ohio report. According to that report 40 percent of state funding for charter schools in 2011-2012 ($326 million) was transferred from traditional public school districts that performed better on both the state report card and performance index than the charter schools serving students in those districts.
He also reported that 20,000 fewer Ohio children are enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs than ten years ago. Only 17 percent of 3-year old children and 24 percent of four-year old children are enrolled in state pre-K, Head Start, or special education programs. Ohio has far to go to close the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students, and more could be done in this budget to support pre-school.
Mr. Johnson also stated that the OFT recommends that the five-day school week and the minimum salary schedule be added back into the law, and the expansion of the parent trigger program be removed from the bill. The research is clear that converting a school to private management, removing its staff, or closing a school has little effect on student achievement, but does help charter school operators expand their businesses. Better models of parent participation in school reform are available, including Parents for Public Education in Streetboro and Greater Cincinnati and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative.
Ohio 8 Coalition
David James, Superintendent of Akron Public Schools and co-chair of the Ohio 8 Coalition, presented on behalf of the Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown school districts. He said that the Big 8 school districts seem to be flat funded or receive some increases through the proposed new school funding formula. However, it was difficult to determine the total amount of the increase, because the proposed budget included new line items and modified formulas, and there was not enough information about the effect of charter school and voucher deductions on state aid for traditional school districts. In his testimony he raised questions about the following:
Consistent Progress: He focused part of his testimony on a HB59 provision that requires school districts to pay other entities if subgroups of students (special education, English language learners, economically disadvantaged, and gifted students) do not show “consistent progress”. As with other witnesses, Mr. James questioned the meaning of “consistent progress”. He recommended that this provision be amended to define “consistent progress” and school districts have at least three years before being held to that standard.
Special Education: Mr. James also raised questions about the actual amount of funding that school districts would receive for special education. The catastrophic aid fund provision reduces state funding for special education by 15 percent, and pools those funds for all districts to help pay for very expensive special education services. But the cost thresholds that have to be met for each special education category of students, and the amount of time that it takes to receive the reimbursement for the special education services will be a financial burden on school districts. In some cases school districts will have to fund $2 to $11 million in special education costs while waiting for the reimbursement.
The Big 8 School Districts recommend that the 15 percent deduction be reduced to 8 percent; the thresholds for accessing the catastrophic funds be reduced so that more school districts qualify for the funds; the payments for special education services be increased; and state GRF dollars be included in the catastrophic aid fund.
English Language Learners: The Big 8 recommends that Ohio follow federal guidelines for funding ELL programing and categories, and, instead of expecting students to learn English in 180 days, allow students three years of instruction before reducing ELL funding. ELL students are also included in the “consistent progress” provision. The Big 8 recommends that ELL students be removed from that provision.
Parent Trigger: According to the testimony, “The process of turning around a low performing school is much more complex than what the proposed parent trigger law suggests and since the proposed policy is not yet completely tested or proven, we strongly suggest you look to districts that have been successful and modify this provision to better prepare it for success.” The Big 8 recommends that the parent trigger continue as a pilot project, and that the law be amended to prevent charter school operators from gathering parent signatures on parent trigger petitions.
Straight A Fund: The Big 8 recommends that this provision be revised to ensure that the lead applicant for the grant be a school, rather than just anyone, and that a portion of the fund be used to support an expansion of preschool, professional development for elementary school teachers, supplemental instruction and/or summer school costs, and intensive reading-intervention strategies before, during, or after the school day.
Voucher Expansion: The Big 8 recommends that this provision be eliminated. “There are many changes that will occur related to student and teacher evaluation and assessment in the coming years. This is yet another mandate that won’t necessarily resolve the critical need to provide intervention and remediation with particular students.”
Community Schools: Traditional public schools are still not able to determine their total state aid through Governor Kasich’s formula, because the deductions for charter schools have not been released. The testimony recommends that the state establish a reliable data set to understand exactly how many dollars will go to community schools, and separate out funding for subgroups of students who attend community schools.
Pupil Transportation: There is insufficient information to determine funding levels for transportation per school district. It seems that transportation is flat funded in the budget proposal. The bill should clarify the impact of shifting from the state share percentage to the state share index, as proposed in the bill; the impact of the shift of transportation funds outside the cap or guarantee; and the impact of the new formula being prorated, as proposed in the bill.
Safety and Security: Although the bill includes funds for the purchase and installation of one MARCS unit per school building and a security door system, consisting of a security camera, intercom, and remote access at one entrance per building, the funds are limited, and the bill is not responsive to the needs of districts with multiple buildings. Funds must be included in the bill for related equipment such as radios and information technology needs to coordinate and/or upgrade existing security systems.
Gloria Cazan, President of the Ohio Parent Teacher Association, outlined her organization’s concerns about HB59’s provisions for education, especially about vouchers, charter schools, and the parent trigger. According to the testimony, “While the educational formula and choice provisions found in HB59 have the aesthetics of helping all children, it is a beautifully wrapped package containing a dismantled public education system. The vouchers and parent trigger expansions in this bill divert much needed public funds into private schools.”
The testimony also notes that throughout HB59, “…there are troublesome indications that some students will benefit from improvements in funding while others will not. Increasing private funding with public monies negates why representatives have been elected to oversee our coffers. Public education must remain under the control and accountability of elected officials.”
HJR4 (Ramos) U.S. Constitutional Amendments Convention: Applying for an amendments convention under Article V of the United States Constitution.
HB78 (Stinziano) Online Voter Registration System: Requires the Secretary of State to create an online voter registration system and to permit data sharing in order to maintain the statewide voter registration database.
HB81 (Driehaus/Foley) Tax Expenditures Effectiveness: Provides for the periodic appraisal of the effectiveness of tax expenditures.
HB82 (Hayes) Ohio Civil Rights Law Exemption: Exempts religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies from the definition of “employer” for the purpose of Ohio’s Civil Rights law.
Celebrating the Arts: March 1, 2013 kicks off a month-long celebration of youth participation and learning in the arts. According to Kristen Engebretsen with Americans for the Arts, several national organizations are sponsoring special events and activities during this time:
National Young Audiences Arts for Learning Week, March 24 – March 30, 2013
Arts Education Navigator Released: Americans for the Arts and Van Custom Culture released on March 1, 2013 the first part of a new Arts Education Navigator, a series of e-books designed to help educators, students, and advocates navigate the complex field of arts education.
Each e-book in the series will cover a specific topic. The first new e-book in the series is Facts & Figures, which provides data and research in support of arts education, including information from Champions of Change, and new reports such as Arts Education in America: What the Declines Mean for Arts Participation.
Facts and Figures is available.
Dates for Upcoming Arts Activities:
Saturday, March 16, 2013 – Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Columbus, Ohio, Matesich Theatre at Ohio Dominican University
March 18-22, 2013 – Americans for the Arts, Blog Salon about early childhood education.
Saturday, April 6, 2013 – Kennedy Center Arts Education Symposium, Washington, DC
Monday/Tuesday, April 8/9, 2013 – National Arts Days, Washington, DC
Saturday, May 4, 2013 – OAAE Board of Directors’ Meeting
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 – Arts Day and the Governor’s Awards for the Arts