May 7, 2013 Election Update: According to unofficial results from the Ohio School Boards Association, voters approved 82 (59.8 percent) of 137 school tax issues on the May 7, 2013 ballot. According to StateImpact Ohio, 90 percent of renewal levies and 42 percent of new levies were approved, and the results for school districts were better than expected when compared to past primary elections.
Information about the status of specific school tax issues on May 7, 2013 ballot is available.
House Approves School Records Bill: The Ohio House approved on May 8, 2013 HB14 (Pelanda) School Records/Abused Neglected Dependent Child. This bill would require boards of education, if ordered by a juvenile court judge, to release grades, credits, official transcripts, and other school documents about students who have been, or are alleged to be, adjudicated as abused, neglected, or dependent. These students are usually in foster care, and might have had to move to a different school. School districts currently can withhold school documents for these students, such as transcripts, due to unpaid fees.
House Education Committee: The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Stebelton, reported out HB127 (Adams) which would designate the month of March as “Career-Technical Education and Skilled Workforce Development Month.
Select Committee Upholds Landis Win: The House Select Committee on the Election Contest in the 98th House District, chaired by Matt Huffman, voted along party lines on May 7, 2013 to recognize Representative Al Landis (R-Dover) as the winner of the 98th House District contest, defeating former Representative Joshua O’Farrell (D-New Philadelphia) by eight votes. According to the majority of the committee, former Representative O’Farrell “failed to offer clear and convincing evidence” of fraud or election irregularities to change the outcome of the election. The Ohio House will consider a resolution based on the recommendation after House members have ten days to review the Select Committee’s report.
Judicial Campaign Reform: Ohio Chief Court Justice Maureen O’Connor introduced on May 9, 2013 a plan to reform the process to elect justices. The eight-point reform plan is intended to initiate a statewide discussion about how justices are elected in Ohio. According to the Chief Justice voter participation in judicial elections in Ohio is 25 percent less than other races. The goal of this reform effort is to help voters become better informed and more involved in the election of judges.
Some of the ideas that the judicial election reform plan raises include the following:
- Change the placement of judicial candidates on the statewide ballot. Judges are now listed toward the end of the ballot, which might discourage voting for judicial candidates.
- Change when judges are elected. Judicial contests currently compete with presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, and could be moved to years in which municipal elections are held.
- Expand civic education programs about judicial elections
- Expand the use of cameras in court rooms
- Eliminate party affiliation in primary elections
- Establish a formal, non-partisan system for recommending nominees to the governor to fill judicial vacancies
- Require the Senate to confirm judicial appointments by the governor
- Increase the basic requirements for judicial candidates
- Increase the length of judicial terms of office.
The reform plan is available.
Constitutional Committee for Education Meets: The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC) was created to review the Ohio Constitution and make recommendations to amend it, if necessary. The 32-member OCMC includes representatives of the General Assembly and public members, and is co-chaired by House Speaker William Batchelder and Representative Vernon Sykes. The commission has been meeting the second Thursday of the month, and has created 10 committees to review specific articles of the Ohio Constitution.
The committee that will review Article 6 of the Ohio Constitution, regarding primary and secondary education, is called the Education, Public Institutions and Miscellaneous and Local Government Committee, and is chaired by Chad Readler, an attorney with Jones Day in Columbus. Other members of the committee include Edward Gilbert (vice chair), Paula Brooks, Larry Macon, Joseph Rugola, Roger Beckett, former Governor Bob Taft, and Representatives Vern Sykes, Kathleen Clyde, and Matt Huffman, and Senator Keith Faber.
Article 6.02 of the Ohio Constitution requires the General Assembly to “secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state” and prohibits religious or other sect, or sects, to have “any exclusive right to, or control of, any part of the school funds of this state.”
Article 6.04 states that there shall be a “…state board of education which shall be selected in such manner and for such terms as shall be provided by law. There shall be a superintendent of public instruction, who shall be appointed by the state board of education. The respective powers and duties of the board and of the superintendent shall be prescribed by law.
This committee will also review Article VII (Public Institutions), Article XV (Miscellaneous), School funding, Article X (County and township organization), Article XVIII (Municipal Corporations), Home rule, and Adjoining regionalization and economic development.
Information about the OCMO is available.
Inquires can also be made to the co-chairs offices: In House Speaker’s Batchelder’s office contact Lizz Eisaman at 614-752-9900, and in Representative Sykes’s office contact Cynthia Ellis or John Meacham at 614-466-3100.
Presidential Scholars Named: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on May 6, 2013 the 49th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. The award recognizes 141 high school seniors each year for their accomplishments in academics or the arts.
Over 3,000 candidates qualified for the 2013 awards. Candidates had to be nominated by the chief state school officer and the National YoungArts Foundation. The winners were then chosen by The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars include one young man and one young women from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and families living abroad; 15 at-large scholars; and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
This year four students from Ohio were selected:
Kevin Hwang, Athens High School, Athens
Alyssa M. Bryan, Hathaway Brown School, Chagrin Falls
Drake S. Thomas, Dublin Coffman High School, Dublin
Sean M. Howe from Sylvania and attending the Toledo School for the Arts. He is a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts specializing in dance.
The 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts will preform at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 17, 2013. There will also be an exhibition of the works of the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
Information about the Presidential Scholars is available.
This Week at the Statehouse: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
Monday, May 13, 2013
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Gerald Stebelton, will meet at 5:00 PM in hearing room 313. The committee will receive testimony on SB21 (Lehner) Third Grade Reading Guarantee. This bill would revise the requirements for reading teachers related to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
The Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Education, chaired by Senator Randy Gardner, will meet at 10:00 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive public testimony on Am. Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget.
The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Gerald Stebelton, will meet at 4:00 PM in hearing room 116. The committee will receive testimony on SB21 (Lehner) Third Grade Reading Guarantee. This bill would revise the requirements for reading teachers related to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Education, chaired by Senator Randy Gardner, will meet at 10:00 AM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on Am. Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget.
News from the ODE:
ODE Awards Literacy Grants: The Ohio Department of Education announced on May 7, 2013 the schools and consortia that will receive Early Literacy and Reading Readiness Grants to support Third Grade Reading Guarantee initiatives. Lawmakers allocated $13 last year to support competitive reading grants for school districts, community schools, and consortia. The ODE selected 91 out of 248 applicants. The grants range from $20,000 to $250,000. A list of grant recipients is available.
Race to the Top Year Two Progress Report: The Ohio Department of Education released last week an update that shows that Ohio is making progress in achieving the goals of its federal Race to the Top (RttT) grant. The report was prepared by the Ohio Education Research Center, a collaborative of Ohio-based researchers from six universities and five research institutions. (Ohio’s Race to the Top Year Two Progress Report prepared by the Ohio Research Center/The Ohio State University Joshua D. Hawley Project Team leader, May 2013.)
Ohio was awarded a $400 million RttT grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to achieve five goals over four years. According to the report Ohio is making progress in achieving the following goals:
- Graduation Rate Goal: Ohio will increase the state’s on-time graduation rate by .5 percent each year of RttT.
- “Ohio has increased the graduation rate for RttT schools more quickly than the goal, and is on track to meet the 2014 goal. The overall graduation rate stood at 80.1% in 2012 for all schools and 76.7% for RttT buildings.”
- Graduation Gap Goal: Ohio will reduce graduation rate gaps by 50 percent by 2014.
- “Economically disadvantaged and non-White students saw measurable increases in the graduation rate in the first two years of RttT. However, White and economically advantaged students saw more rapid increases in graduation rates. Therefore closing the gap will require more rapid progress for disadvantaged and non-White students in coming years.”
- Performance Gap Goal: Ohio will reduce performance gaps by 50 percent by 2015.
- “RttT schools increased performance particularly on math assessments between 2011 and 2012. However, to make the goal, schools will need to increase the rate at which disadvantaged and non-White students perform more rapidly than White or non-disadvantaged students.”
- Achievement Gap Goal: Reduce the gap between Ohio and the best performing states in the nation by 50 percent by 2015.
- “Ohio has improved in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for eighth grade math, reducing the gap between Ohio and higher performing states such as Massachusetts. At the fourth grade level, however, the gap between Ohio and Massachusetts is growing.”
- College Enrollment Goal: More than double the increase in college enrollment for 18- to 19-year-olds by 2014.
- “Ohio has seen increases in the number of high school graduates enrolled in Ohio colleges and universities between 2008 and 2010. Data for 2011 that include private school enrollments are not yet available.”
The report provides more details about the progress schools are making to achieve each of the goals, and highlights the progress being made in five specific schools: Bellefontaine City Schools; John R. Buchtel Community Learning Center, Akron Public Schools; Reading Middle School, Reading Community Local Schools; Green Local Schools; and Maysville High School.
The report is available on the ODE web site.
State Board to Meet
The State Board of Education, Debe Terhar president, will meet on May 13 and 14, 2013 at the Ohio Department of Education Conference Center, 25 South Front Street in Columbus, OH.
On Monday, May 13, 2013 the Capacity, Urban Education, and Achievement committees will meet at 8:30 AM.
The Capacity Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will discuss score-setting recommendations for the new Pearson licensure assessments for Ohio educators; the proposed amendments to the operator contract and board of trustee bylaws for the SEED School of Cincinnati; the Career-Technical Education Report Card; and ESC/School District Expenditures.
The Urban Education Committee, chaired by Angela Thi Bennett, will continue the discussion about recommendations for a comprehensive statewide plan to intervene directly in, and improve the performance of, persistently poor performing schools and school districts in compliance with HB555.
The Achievement Committee, chaired by C. Todd Jones, will review a draft of career connections learning strategies; discuss proposed amendments to Rule 3301-51-15, Gifted Children Education Services, and the proposed amendment to Rule 3301-13-02, Administering Required State Assessments at the Designated Grades; and receive a presentation on a National Association of State Board of Education Grant.
On Monday morning the State Board will also receive a presentation about Career-Technical Education Report Card at 11:30 AM.
At 1:00 PM the State Board will hold a Chapter 119 Hearing on the following rules that are being amended:
• Rules 3301-28-01 to 3301-28-06, Local Report Card Measures,
• Rules 3301-58-01 to 3301-58-03, Value-Added Progress Dimension
• Rule 3301-52-01, Appropriate Uses of Early Childhood Education Screening and Assessment Information
• Rules 3301-102-01 to -07, Community Schools Sponsor Rules
• Rule 3301-102-08, Sponsor Compliance
• Rule3301-102-10, Drop out Recovery-School Performance Measures
The State Board will convene into executive session in the afternoon following the annual ethics training session. The Accountability Committee meeting, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will be held following the executive session. The committee will discuss recommendations for a K-3 literacy measure.
On Tuesday, May 14, 2013 the Legislative and Budget Committee, chaired by Bryan Williams, will meet at 8:30 AM to discuss Am. Sub. HB59.
The full Board will meet at 9:30 AM and conduct a hearing on School Safety. Invited to participate at the hearing, will be the following individuals:
- Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General
- Rick Baron, Executive Director, Ohio Homeland Security
- Tom Charles, Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety
- Kenneth R. Hinkle, Chief, Obetz Police Department and President, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police -Joseph Bergant II, Superintendent, Chardon Local Schools
- Senator Frank LaRose, Ohio Senate
- Angie Lee, Policy, Office of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich
- Rick Amweg, Executive Director, Office of P-20 Safety and Security, Ohio Department of Education/Ohio Board of Regents
Following lunch the Board will convene its business meeting and receive public participation on agenda and non agenda items (around 1:00 PM); receive reports from the committees; receive the report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; vote on the recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; consider old and new business, and adjourn.
Recommendations of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for May 2013
#8 Approve a Resolution to adopt Rule 3301-102-09 of the Administrative Code entitled Approving Applications for New Internet-or Computer-Based Community Schools. (Volume 3, Page 164)
#9 Approve a Resolution of Appointment to the Educator Standards Board. (Volume 4, Page 4)
#10 Approve a Resolution to adopt the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) Framework for Teachers Employed by State Agencies. (Volume 4, Page 137)
#11 Approve a Resolution to approve a final list of states with teacher licensing standards that are inadequate to ensure that a person who was most recently licensed and taught in that state is qualified for a professional license in Ohio pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 3319.228.(Volume 4, Page 141)
#12 Approve a Resolution approving a Report Card for Career-Technical Planning Districts, Including Joint Vocational School Districts, As Referenced in R.C. 3302.033, for the 2012/2013 School Year. (Volume 4, Page 143.)
#13 Approve a Resolution to confirm the Clyde-Green Springs Exempted Village School District Board of Education’s Determination of Impractical Transportation of Certain Students Attending Immaculate Conception School in Bellevue, Huron County, OH (Volume 4, Page 145).
More Testimony on HB59: Several individuals and representatives of organizations testified last week on Am. Sub. HB59 (Amstutz) Biennial Budget before the Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Education chaired by Senator Gardner.
On May 7, 2013 several superintendents and treasures representing the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian School Districts (CORAS), told Senators how some provisions of Am. Sub. HB59 could harm the fiscal and academic viability of their districts. Akron Superintendent David James also presented testimony on behalf of the Ohio 8, which includes the superintendents and union presidents from eight urban districts, including Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Canton, Dayton, Akron, Toledo, and Youngstown. Bill Phillis from the Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding also testified.
The testimonies included data and observations that provide more detail about the fiscal and academic challenges that school districts are facing as a result of state education and tax policies and increased education mandates.
Bill Phillis explained to the subcommittee that “The educational programming and the expectations regarding student outcomes must drive the funding system rather than the funding system determining the educational programming. Many of those who are involved in school finance formulae and distribution systems focus on the mechanics of the school funding scheme in isolation from the realities of schooling.”
Bill Phillis also provided the subcommittee with information about Ohio’s economy and its capacity to increase funding for schools:
“The trend in the Ohio economy since the FY 2010 and FY 2011 biennium indicates that Ohio has sufficient fiscal capacity to provide greater levels of public K-12 education funding in FY 2014 and FY 2015 than recommended. The Blue Book section titled Economic Overview and Forecast shows the actual, estimated and forecasted state revenues from FY 2009 through FY 2015. Under the current tax structure, the sales tax revenue will increase from $14.6 billion in the FY 2010 and FY 2011 biennium to $21.4 billion in the FY 2014 and FY 2015 biennium. Personal income tax will increase from $15.3 billion in the FY 2010 and FY 2011 biennium to $19 billion in FY 2014 and FY 2015. Most of the other GRF state tax revenues will increase between the two periods under discussion.”
Treasurer Paul Shaw of the Logan-Hocking Local School District told the subcommittee that his district will be forced to “unravel” successful education programs due to the lack of resources. He said that additional state revenue provided to his district as a result of the DeRolph decisions and local taxpayer support enabled the district to increase its ratings from academic watch to excellent by 2010, with an expenditure per pupil of $9,737, less than the statewide average. Now the district faces a $400,000 deficit even after reductions in personnel, pay freezes, increased employee contributions, and larger class sizes. The district would be on the guarantee under both the Executive and House versions of the budget.
Tom Perkins, Superintendent of the Northern Local School District, speaking on behalf of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, told the subcommittee that the districts in the CORAS spend $1,100 less per pupil than the state average at the time of the DeRolph litigation. “Today, over 15 years later, we spend $1,400 dollars less per pupil. This is a depressing statistic when many of our districts do not offer more than a couple of AP courses, staffs have been reduced due to financial difficulties and elective opportunities are limited at best.”
Tom Gibbs, Superintendent of the Fort Frye and Warren Local School Districts in Washington County, said that losing Tangible Personal Property Tax, decreases in state aid, and the failure of six levies have contributed to the financial challenges facing the two school districts he represents. In order to cope with the loss of revenue the Warren School District has reduced employees by 90; closed two elementary schools; negotiated substantial changes to benefits for employees; eliminated high school busing, shares a superintendent and treasurer between two school districts; and spends less per pupil than in FY2005.
As a result of budget reductions, “The effects to students in our district have been increased class sizes, at times with 30 students or more in elementary classrooms, decreased time in art and physical education for elementary students, decreased elective opportunities for middle and high school aged students, decreased Advance Placement offerings, decreased intervention services, decreased extra-curricular offerings, and decreased busing service.”
Ron Iarussi, Superintendent of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center, told the subcommittee that he is also a doctoral candidate at Youngstown State University, doing research on school choice. Through this research he has found “voucher programs” provide no “significant” impact or statistical relevance on student achievement.
David Branch, Superintendent of the Muskingham Educational Service Center, spoke about choice programs. He asked, “If 90% of the parents in Ohio have chosen public schools as the school of choice for their children, why do we spend so much time on the other 10% of the equation?”
He also noted that Am. Sub. HB59 is $10 billion more than the biennial budget four years ago, yet education spending is less than the budget four years ago.
“How can this be?” he asked. “Budgets are about priorities. The legislature and governor have balanced the biennial budget and plugged the hole of previous budgets, our tax revenue is up, and the rainy day fund will be overflowing, yet we struggle funding the 90% of public school choice students that are our future.”
He goes on to say, “However, the trend to fund the other 10% through privatization of our education system has seen continued growth. What is so wrong with making the 90%, our future, the priority of our budgets?”
Testimonies Repeat Common Themes: Several themes emerged last week as educators presented testimony on Am. Sub. HB 59 before the Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Education, chaired by Senator Gardner. The following is a summary of those themes and some recommendations to amend HB59.
Adequacy: Many of those who testified last week thanked the House for increasing the formula amount, but agreed that it is not adequate and doesn’t keep pace with inflation. They recommended that the legislature determine an adequate base funding amount to provide all students with a minimum level of educational opportunities, including AP courses, art, music, access to technology, and resources to support the administration of the new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Lawmakers should also find better ways to fund special education and transportation, which, along with heath care and mandates, are increasing costs to school districts.
Lawmakers should create in law a nonpartisan commission to conduct research to determine the formula amount for K-12 education every biennium.
Guarantees: Witnesses agreed that there are too many school districts on the guarantee in the Executive and House versions of HB59, indicating that the formula is not working. Superintendent Tom Perkins said that in order for the Northern Local School District to get off of the guarantee, student enrollment would have to increase by 1,400 in the Executive version of HB59 and 1,015 in the House version; or his district’s valuation would have to decrease by nearly $300 million dollars in the Executive version and by $234 million in the House version; or his district would have to pass a 17 mill levy. None of these options is viable.
Charge Off: There was testimony about how the formulas in the Executive Budget and the House Budget assume higher revenue generation at the local level than ever possible. It was recommended that actual revenue calculations be used to determine the charge off amount rather than the methods proposed in either version of HB59.
Transportation: Several witnesses requested that funding for transportation and supplemental transportation be counted outside of the formula and outside of the gain cap. The age of the bus fleet is also a concern. In one district some buses are 14 years old. The cost of a new bus is $85,000. Transportation is essential in high poverty and rural areas, and should be provided to high school students to ensure that they get to school and graduate. Funding for bus purchases as a separate item in the education budget was once available, and should be reinstated.
The Ohio 8 school districts also requested the following other changes in Am. Sub. HB59 regarding transportation:
- Increase funding for transportation to close the huge gap that exits between the cost of transporting students and state aid for transportation
- Increase the motor fuel excise tax reimbursement in the formula to reflect the reality of transporting students in 2013
- Reimburse school districts for special education transportation based on meeting the needs of the student
- Convene a commission to review transportation costs and effective and efficient services for all types of schools in Ohio.
Payment in Lieu of Transportation: Witnesses requested that the provision to change current law regarding “payment in lieu of transportation” be removed. In current law school districts work with parents when it is not practical to transport students, and parents receive a payment from the state. Am. Sub. HB59 establishes a new process which directs the Ohio Department of Education to work with the parent, rather than the school district, and increases the “payment in lieu of transportation”, which is deducted from the school districts. Since state aid for transportation is already underfunded and must be supplemented with local district revenue, school districts will not be able to afford this change.
Superintendents also requested that lawmakers maintain current law regarding the use of public transportation as an option (Section 3327.01). Some school districts rely on public transportation services, especially to transport special education students, and students in urban areas who want to attend a school of choice. Public transportation services often provide smaller buses equipped for handicapped passengers.
Educational Service Centers: Several superintendents asked that funding be restored to ESCs including the supervisory subsidies, and that the state subsidy be restored to $37.00 / pupil amount. They mostly support the House version which restores most of current law regarding ESCs compared to the Executive version, which completely revamped funding and the governance structure of ESCs.
Career Tech Education: Superintendent Lori Snyder-Lowe of Morgan County and other superintendents requested that career tech funding be counted outside of the formula for compact schools and comprehensive high schools so that it is not affected by the formula gain cap or guarantees. Including CT funding within the formula means that many schools will not receive sufficient funds to continue to offer these services.
She also opposed allocating funds for career tech education to e-schools included in the House version of HB59. Career tech programs provide students with hands-on, direct skilled-based and teacher led instruction while e-schools provide instruction via a computer.
Mandates: Several superintendents said that the legislative requirements for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee and implementing assessments for the Common Core have increased costs for their districts.
Expanding Vouchers: Witnesses testified that many school districts in rural Ohio could have a large number of students qualify for the expanded EdChoice voucher program. These districts could be financially harmed if a large number of students left districts to attend private schools. Most of these districts are excellent or effective school districts. They also noted that if the expanded voucher program continued in future biennia, it could provide public funds to almost all students attending private schools in a few years, increasing the overall cost for K-12 education for the state. Several of the witnesses, including Bill Phillis, asked that the two provisions to expand vouchers be removed from Am. Sub. HB59.
Charter Schools: Witnesses also described the impact of charter schools on their budgets and asked that a moratorium be placed on the expansion of charter schools.
According to testimony from Bill Phillis, “From FY 2003 to FY 2013, the total foundation funding for public school districts increased from $5,640,649,972 billion to $6,216,038,425 or $575,388,553. The charter school deduction increased from $203,731,419 to $824,926,706 or $621,195,287 more. Also, voucher deductions increased from a few million dollars to $138.4 during the same period. Hence, the deduction for charter schools and vouchers outpaced the state increase to public school districts by a few hundred million dollars.”
He also explained that only a few districts receive more state funds per pupil than they pay out to charter schools, and so locally raised tax revenue must be used to complete the deduction, even though the public did not vote for local tax revenue to be used for charter schools.
Preschool: A superintendent noted that in Am. Sub. HB59 funding for preschool units and preschool special education units (currently allocated directly to ESC’s) will be included in each school district’s per-pupil funding formula, so that the school district may choose their preschool provider. However, simulations do not show these funds.
Contract-Out Provisions (Section 3317.40): Akron Superintendent David James, representing the Ohio 8, recommended that this provision be removed, because it is impractical to implement. The provision allows the Superintendent of Public Instruction to require school districts that fail to show “consistent progress” serving certain populations (special education, economically disadvantaged, ELL and gifted), to develop a plan to partner with other organizations to provide services to these students. However, the state funding allocated to school districts for these students doesn’t even meet their education needs. State aid only provides a portion of the full cost to provide services for these students, and school districts already contract out many of these services to other organizations anyway.
Special Education: A superintendent told the committee that special education exceptional costs for the biennium exceeds the $80 million allocation from the state in Am. Sub. HB 59. Charter schools receive the full reimbursement for these costs, while traditional public schools only receive a portion. This should be changed.
School Psychologists Support House Provision: Ann Brennan, executive director, Ohio School Psychologists Association (OSPA), told the Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Education, on May 9, 2013 that OSPA supports the House Finance Committee’s restoration of the school psychologist and speech pathologist minimum standard ratios contained in ORC 3317.15 (F). The subcommittee also received written testimony from Frank Scarano, director, Psychological Services for the Geauga County Educational Service Center and from school psychologists in the Akron Public Schools.
According to the testimonies, school psychologists are specially trained in education and psychology to assist teachers and administrators improve instruction through data analysis and behavioral interventions for at risk students. School psychologists are an essential part of the professional education team in schools and assist in the identification of gifted students, analysis of assessment data, and in the development of individual education plans for students with special needs.
Unfortunately the work of school psychologists is not decreasing, as 20 percent of children entering school have already been diagnosed with mental health issues and will need the expertise of school psychologists to assist them in school. But, demographic data indicate that there will be shortages of school psychologists in the state as more retire within the next few years. Currently the ratio of school psychologists to students is around 1 to 1100 students, which is the ratio recommended by OSPA. The state minimum ratio is higher, 1 to 2500 students, but this ratio still ensures that there will be enough school psychology students in the nine Ohio approved training programs to meet future needs of students and schools.
According to the testimony OSPA also supports other provisions in Am. Sub. HB 59 including funding for gifted education, educational service centers, and public early childhood education.
Lawmakers Need Courage to Fund Schools Adequately: Former State Representative Stephen Dyer, an Education Policy Fellow at Innovation Ohio, presented testimony to the Senate Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Education, chaired by Senator Gardner on May 9, 2013. He said that he was there to give lawmakers courage, because “…..many of them have voted for budgets in the past that committed a far greater share of the state budget to K-12” than the budget before them. He challenged lawmakers “…to do what your predecessors have done. Show as much commitment to my children as your predecessors showed to me.”
According to the testimony, the House’s attempt to fix the school funding provisions included in Am. Sub. HB59 is flawed. The House school funding plan might be more equitable, but 130 districts receive less state aid than in FY13. The gain cap, for example, withholds about $1.6 billion that school districts could have received from the formula.
The budget proposed for FY14-15 also “….represents the smallest state commitment to Primary and Secondary Education since FY96-97- right about when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled for the first of four times that the way Ohio Funded schools was unconstitutional.”
The testimony points-out, however, that at one time Ohio lawmakers did vote for increases in education funding. Ohio committed the largest percentage of its overall state budget to education in FY75 (39.7 percent of the budget). To reach that goal today the state would need to infuse $3.7 billion more in state aid to schools. (In FY13 the percent of the state budget for education is 28.9 percent.)
Former Representative Dyer then went on to describe the process needed to create a state school funding formula, starting with determining the cost of a quality education based on the components: classroom teachers, specialist teachers (art, music, PE, etc.), and support personnel. He calculated that the formula amount would equal $6,141 per pupil when the component parts were totaled.
He then recommended that lawmakers establish a permanent bipartisan school funding commission to review the school funding formula in even-numbered years, and, like the Workers Compensation Commission, do the research and calculations and present an education budget to the General Assembly every biennium and “stop playing politics” with the futures of our kids.
On another topic, the testimony also identified the following issues regarding charter schools:
- The way that charter schools are funded, as a deduction from school district state aid, decreases per pupil state aid to traditional public schools. In FY2012 school districts lost $774 million to charter schools, and, on average, students in traditional public schools lost $235 per student in state aid.
- “Over 40% of state funding for community schools in 2011-2012 ($326 million) was transferred from traditional public districts that performed better on both the State Report Card and Performance Index.”
- The Ohio Department of Education data show that brick-and-mortar community schools cost $54 more per pupil overall than Traditional Public Schools. That includes all revenue sources for both school types.
- Charters pay their teachers about 40 percent less than school districts; do not have to bus students; and are exempt from about 200 sections of the Ohio Revised Code, putting into question why they would need the same expenditure per pupil as traditional public schools.
Former Representative Dyer recommended the following changes in law regarding charter schools;
- Ohio needs strong accountability measures based on national standards for charter schools.
- Charter schools should be funded separately from school districts and not as a deduct.
- Charter schools spend 28 percent of funds on administrative costs, compared to traditional school districts which only spend 11 percent. Charter schools should cut-back on administrative costs and spend more on operational needs.
- Charter schools should be subject to gain caps just like traditional public schools.
- Charter schools in two states have been found not to be public schools. “If Charters are not public institutions, it holds significant consequences for civil rights and other protections afforded children who attend public schools. Ohio needs to heed these national trends as it looks to invest even more that the $828 million it’s currently investing this year in Charter Schools.”
HB154 (Gerberry) Lottery Profits-Education: Requires that a portion of lottery profits be distributed annually on a per pupil basis to public and chartered nonpublic schools.
HB158 (Brenner/Patmon) Nonrefundable Tax Credits-Nonpublic Schools: Authorizes nonrefundable tax credits for donations to nonprofit entities providing scholarships to low-income students enrolling in nonpublic schools.
Student Art Reception: The Columbus Regional Airport Authority is holding a reception in honor of the student artists whose works are on display at Port Columbus International Airport. The reception will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2013 from 5:00 -6:30 PM at the Port Columbus International Airport, 4600 International Gateway, Columbus, OH 43219.
The reception will recognize the talented artists representing the Columbus City Schools and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.
To RSVP please email or call Jennifer Gardner by May 20, 2013 at 614-239-3176 firstname.lastname@example.org
News from the Kennedy Center: The latest issue of the Kennedy Center Update includes information about the recent meeting of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network, news from ArtsEDGE, grant opportunities, conferences and seminars, and more. The following are a few highlights from the latest issue, available.
New Arts Day App Released: ArtsEDGE released a free app called ARTS DAYS that provides users with a full year of events connected to the arts. The app also allows users to save calendar entries to bookmarks or iCal, share to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and view related videos.
Arts Days is available only for iOS devices– an iPad specific version. Versions for Android are in the works. It is available for download from iTunes.
National Seminar for Teaching Artists: Registration is open for the National Seminar for Teaching Artists, which will take place August 13-15, 2013 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
The National Seminar is open to 30 teaching artists and will be led be Kennedy Center Teaching Artist Sean Layne, founder of Focus 5, Inc., and Lynne Silverstein, Senior Education Consultant to the Kennedy Center. Participants will have opportunities to network with their peers throughout the three-day event. The experience will be supported by an optional three-month follow-up mentoring engagement, by phone and e-mail, with a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist.
The National Seminar is designed to strengthen the quality and impact of teaching artists’ work through the Kennedy Center’s definition of arts integration and its approach to planning effective residencies for students.
Information about the seminar and registration is available.