If not for Dr. Corwin Georges …
Spring is a time of growth and renewal. As I reflect on the progress OAAE has made over the years I’m reminded of the good work of Dr. Corwin Georges who served as President of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education from 1996 to 1998. Under his leadership OAAE found a place in the living rooms of families statewide through a variety of publications and resources. These materials also had an impact on policy-makers and state agencies. OAAE, in partnership with the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education, participated in the Creative Ticket for Student Success Campaign with five statewide “Dialogues” and one national conversation, a John Tesh Concertheld in partnership with the Ohio Citizens for the Arts. The Creative Ticket for Student Success Campaign ads appeared in eight major Ohio newspapers in support of the project. More than 1,200 Creative Ticket for Student Success Campaign Toolkits were distributed throughout Ohio, including 900 to PTAs. During Corwin’s presidency a partnership with the Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Arts Education Association, OhioDance, and Ohio Educational Theatre Association was formed to support advocacy efforts on behalf of arts education in Ohio. Through the support of these organizations OAAE hired its first Community Relations Coordinator — now known as the Research and Information Director, which has been held by Joan Platz for more than a decade.
Corwin, a deep thinker and visionary leader, understood the need for local and statewide engagement both including and beyond the arts education community. Working with the Arts Education Leadership Network, OAAE held regional town meetings and professional development opportunities to increase Ohioan’s understanding of the arts education curriculum framework and proposed standards for Ohioís schools. In 1996 publication and distribution of the report Status of Arts Education in Ohio’s Public Schools was successfully completed with support from the Ohio Arts Council and Ohio Department of Education. The 1997 and 1998 Information Exchange conferences were held at the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, featuring Dr. Tom Guskey from the University of Kentucky, a national expert on assessment. Partnering with the larger education community was a clear focus and OAAE cosponsored a statewide teleconference on the school-funding issue with the Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators, League of Women Voters, the Ohio PTA, and others, with WOSU television.
The Ohio Arts Education Assessment Project was created and funded in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Arts Council. Additional funding for the project was received from: the National Endowment for the Arts Education Access Grant, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, and The George Gund Foundation. During the first year of the multi-year Assessment Project, a Forum was held in November, 1997 featuring Jay McTighe; a second Forum was held in February, 1998 featuring Ray Wilkins, Ken Bolinsky, Mel Pontius, Pam Paulson, and MacArthur Goodwin; and Regional Think Tanks were held in May, 1998 in Chillicothe, Sidney, and Canton in partnership with the Regional Professional Development Centers. In subsequent years of the project, a weeklong Assessment Writing Institute was held in Columbus, a train-the-trainers institute was carried-out, and more than 12,000 educators have participated in assessment workshops delivered by OAAE.
Corwin led a fabulous Board of Directors during his term as president, one equal to those that serve today, who worked side-by-side with him on behalf of quality arts education for all Ohioans. His leadership also saw the hiring of our executive director, Donna Collins, who has been with us for more 16 years. Corwin’s dedication to OAAE has never wavered. He continues, even today, to commit expertise, time, and resources on behalf of many of OAAE’s programs and will always be a respected and valued member of the OAAE family.
On behalf of OAAE it is my pleasure to say, “If not for Dr. Corwin Georges the OAAE would not be the state’s premiere arts education organization with a focus on advocacy, professional development, and building collaborations that it is today. Thank you, Corwin for leading the way!”
Susan W. Witten
130th Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will be on Spring recess until April 9, 2013.
Transportation Budget Approved: Last week the Ohio House and Senate agreed to changes in the combined Transportation Budget and Ohio Turnpike bonding plan (HB51 McGregor/Patmon) sending the bill to Governor Kasich to sign into law. The $7.6 billion funding plan includes $1.5 billion in Ohio Turnpike bonds to fund highway projects. Some lawmakers and constituents in northern Ohio object to the transportation plan, because funding from the sale of the Ohio Turnpike Bonds to fund construction projects will not be used exclusively for highway projects to assist northern Ohio residents, who bear most of the cost of using the Turnpike.
Update on HB59: Proposed amendments to HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget were due last Friday. Representative Ron Amstutz, chair of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, has indicated that changes will be made in HB59 as introduced when the House returns from Spring recess. Although Republicans support Governor Kasich’s plan to cut income taxes, the increases in the state sales tax and oil/gas severance taxes needed to offset the income tax cuts are not popular and are expected to change. There have also been conversations about removing some of the provisions of the bill, such as the proposed changes for medicaid and educational service centers, and considering them in separate legislation. The Finance and Appropriations Committee is expected to consider a substitute bill when it returns from Spring recess in April. The Ohio House is expected to vote on HB59 by April 18, 2013.
Governor Signs SB47: The controversial election reform bill, SB47 (Seitz), was approved by the Ohio House on March 20, 2013 by a vote of 56 to 37. The bill was quickly signed into law by Governor Kasich on March 22, 2013. The bill makes a variety of technical changes in election law, but also changes how Ohio voters can change laws and amend the Constitution through the initiative and referendum petition process. The new law prohibits additional signature collection between the date that an initiative or referendum petition is initially submitted to the Secretary of State and the date that the Secretary of State notifies petitioners that there are an insufficient number of valid signatures for the petitions to qualify for the ballot. The sponsors of the petition can collect additional signatures to qualify for the ballot only during the extra 10-day collection period, and must use a separate petition form. Opponents of this provision believe that it will hamper public efforts to use the initiative and reference process to change laws, thus violating the rights of Ohioans as stated in the Ohio Constitution.
House Committee to Resolve Contested Election Meets: The House Select Committee for the 98th House District, chaired by Representative Huffman, met on March 20, 2013. The nine-member committee was formed to review the results of the 98th House District election between Representative Al Landis (R-Dover) and former Representative Joshua O’Farrell (D-New Philadelphia). Representative Landis won the election in November by 8 votes, but the election was immediately contested by Josh O’Farrell, who filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court. Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor reviewed the evidence gathered in response to the lawsuit, and directed the case to be settled by the House of Representatives. The complaint alleges that there were irregularities in how some ballots were counted. Once the House committee examines the evidence, it will present its recommendations to the full Ohio House for a final decision about the election.
FY13 Appropriations Approved: The U.S. Senate and House approved HR933, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, on March 21, 2013, paving the way for President Obama to sign the bill into law. The bill finalizes debate about FY13 appropriations, which should have been approved last October 2012. The government has been operating on continuing resolutions since last October.
Although the bill continues sequestration, the automatic spending cuts of $85 billion enacted on March 1, 2013, the bill includes additional appropriations for certain federal agencies and programs to compensate them for the automatic cuts. Concern was growing about the cuts being made to essential services, such as air traffic controllers, meat inspections, and the military.
But, the bill does not change sequestration for the U.S, Department of Education. Most federal education programs, such as Title 1, will experience a five percent cut in the 2013-14 school year, and school districts are now preparing for the cuts.
In addition to resolving FY13 appropriations, Congress has also been working on FY14 budget resolutions and FY14 appropriations.
The U.S. House approved last week a non-binding FY14 budget resolution sponsored by Representative Paul Ryan (House Concurrent Resolution 25: vote 221 to 207), while the U.S. Senate approved on March 23, 2013 a non-binding FY14 budget resolution sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (Senate Concurrent Resolution 8). Both measures take different paths to balancing the national budget in the future. The Republican budget plan maintains funding for the military while decreasing funding for domestic programs, including education. It also includes a provision that would allow parents to use Title 1 funding for private schools. The Democrat’s plan increases taxes while also reducing spending, and ends sequestration cuts for education. The plan would increase funding for Title 1 and special education, and calls for more investment in early learning programs.
Congress must also approve FY14 appropriations, which need to be adopted by September 30, 2013.
More on HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget: Superintendents, treasurers, and representatives from education organizations again addressed the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, about Governor Kasich’s proposed K-12 education budget included in HB59. Similar themes emerged from the testimonies, as most witnesses stated that the per pupil funding level in the formula is too low and causes more school districts to be on the guarantee. The only way most school districts can increase their budgets now is through increases in local property taxes, which many school districts try to avoid, because of the economic distress in their communities. In addition, witnesses asked that transportation funding (and supplemental transportation funding) be included in the formula; state subsidies for educational services centers (ESCs) be restored; changes in the governance structure of ESCs be removed from the bill; and reliance on the guarantees and local property taxes be decreased.
The per pupil amount included in HB59 works-out to be $5000 per student, $732 dollars less than in 2009, which was the last time a base cost amount for school districts was included in the biennial budget. Under questioning from members of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, several superintendents confirmed that the base cost per pupil should be increased to between $6,200-6,400. It was also suggested that the per pupil amount could be phased-in and a cap be added to recapture state aid increases in excess of a certain amount. Witnesses also requested that the base cost increase each year to compensate for inflation and the cost of mandated programs, such as the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and online assessments for the Common Core State Standards.
One superintendent also requested that school districts receive a portion of the severance tax on gas/oil drilling. He noted that schools in Pennsylvania have been affected by the fracking industry in a number of ways, including an increased cost for serving children of migrant workers. He said that Ohio’s schools will also need some extra support to serve students as the drilling increases statewide, and that the severance tax should be distributed locally.
Education Organizations Propose Changes for HB59: Barbara Shaner, representing the Ohio Association for School Business Officials, Michele Francis from the Ohio School Boards Association, and Tom Ash from the Buckeye Association of School Administrators presented testimony on March 21, 2013 before the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Representative Amstutz, regarding HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget. The testimony included an analysis of Governor Kasich’s proposed school funding plan compared to past school funding formulas.
According to the testimony 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 school funding system is more equitable.
The witnesses also noted that 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. 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 the ODE to conduct a study to determine an appropriate base amount of funding for future budgets. The panel explained that school districts are delivering educational services differently than in the past, and that the cost per pupil should reflect the increased use of technology and professional development to meet more rigorous expectations. For example, to implement the Common Core State Standards schools will need more computer devises and the infrastructure to support online assessments.
- Direct more state funds to districts through the formula rather than through the guarantee.
- Address disparities in educational opportunities among school districts.
- 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.
- 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”. This proposal included in HB59 is not clear, and in many cases will not be funded by the state, because so many school districts are on the guarantee.
- Eliminate the expanded voucher programs.
- Eliminate the provision regarding the Parent Trigger.
Recommendations from the Education Tax Policy Institute: Dr. Howard Fleeter, a consultant for the Education Tax Policy Institute (ETPI), also presented to the committee an analysis of the different components of the Governor’s proposed new school funding plan, including the guarantee, the equal yield approach, the mechanics of the Core Opportunity formula, targeted resources, and some recommendations for modifying the formula.
In an 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 to drive the school funding formula in HB59 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 in 2013-14.
- 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 school funding system in which the key parameter is driven by conditions in the housing market rather than by conditions related 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.
SB93 (Jones) Open Meetings Act: Requires that further information be stated in motions to hold executive sessions under the Open Meetings Act, to expand the fees and expenses that may be recovered for violations of the Act, and makes other changes to the Act.
Ohio Music Programs Recognized: The NAMM Foundation announced on March 18, 2013 the school districts being recognized as the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education and schools earning Support Music Merit Awards. Schools and districts receive the recognition after completing an annual Best Communities for Music Education Survey. The survey acknowledges schools and districts across the U.S. for their commitment to, and support of, music education. This is the 14th year for the annual survey and recognition program. Over 2000 school districts completed the survey this year, and 373 communities were selected for the recognition, including 307 school districts and 66 schools.
Participants in the survey answer detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and other relevant factors in the community’s music education program. The responses are verified with district officials, and advisory organizations review the data.
Among the school districts in Ohio being recognized this year are Archbold Area Schools; Aurora City School District; Bay Village City School District; Beachwood City Schools; Berea City School District; Boardman Local Schools; Cuyahoga Heights Schools; Firelands Local Schools; Jackson City School District; Kettering City Schools; Nordonia Hills City School District; Oberlin City Schools; Olmsted Falls City School District; Perrysburg Schools; Plain Local Schools; Princeton City Schools; Riverside Local Schools; Shaker Heights City School District; Stow Munroe Falls City Schools; Sycamore Community Schools; and Upper Sandusky Exempted Village Schools.
Ohio schools receiving the Support Music Merit Award include Athens Middle School, Athens, OH and Centennial High School, Columbus, OH.
Upper Sandusky has been recognized as a Best Community for Music Education for the past three years. According to a release by Jason Morris, Director of Instrumental Music, Upper Sandusky EVS, “This distinction is a moment for our community and for our education leaders to pause and reflect on the importance of our public education system that includes all aspects of a well-rounded curriculum.”
Congratulations to the Ohio school districts, schools, and the communities that have been recognized by the NAMM Foundation.
Information about NAMM is available.
ARTSblog Features Arts Education for Young Children: In honor of March being Youth Arts Month, Kristen Engebretsen at Americans for the Arts posted on the ARTSblog last week several articles and examples of arts education programs and activities for young children. The blog presented the views of eighteen leaders in early childhood arts education, and examined questions, such as, “What can parents do to encourage exploration and learning by discovery?”, “What specific activities or experiments will cultivate creativity and a lifelong love for the arts?”, “What benefits do young children gain from engagement in the arts?”, “What is developmentally appropriate for our youngest learners (ages 0–5)?”, “How is this different than arts education in elementary school?”, and “How do we ensure that our programs are developmentally appropriate for our youngest learners?”
A list of the blog posts is included below. The blog posts have also been archived. Find more information about research in arts education for young children, or other topics, by visiting the Arts Education Partnership website, ArtsEdSearch, which is an online clearinghouse that collects and summarizes high quality arts education research studies and analyzes their implications for educational policy and practice.
ARTSblog Posts: Early Childhood Education and the Arts