Arts on Line Education Update February 9, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
February 9, 2015

 

Special Report:  Governor Kasich Introduces the Executive Budget for FY16-17

Governor John Kasich submitted to the Ohio House on February 2, 2015 a FY16-17 Executive Budget that increases overall funds for primary and secondary education, expands preschool, tweaks charter school laws, reduces some taxes and raises others, and once again changes the state’s school funding formula.

Hearings started on the budget proposal on February 3, 2015, and will continue in the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, and subcommittees through April.  After House approval the measure will move to the Senate for deliberations.  The FY16-17 budget must be signed into law by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2015.

Tim Keen, director of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM), and Mark Flanders, executive director of the Legislative Services Commission (LSC), presented the Finance Committee differing views about FY15 state revenue projections and surpluses in testimony on February 3, 2015.  According to the testimony Director Keen predicted a state surplus of $970.4 million at the end of the fiscal year, while Director Flanders testified that the surplus could be close to $1 billion.

On the revenue side, Director Keen provided the committee with a number of scenarios regarding General Revenue Fund (GRF) estimates, but identified an OBM baseline estimate of $22.29 billion in FY16 and $23.30 billion in FY17.  Proposed tax reforms would reduce state revenues by $367 million in FY16 and $443 million in FY17, but proposed changes to increase the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) and in the disposition of the kilowatt-hour tax (KWH) could raise tax revenues by $485 million in FY16 and $495 million in FY17.

On the spending side, the overall proposed appropriations for the budget  (All Funds) is $68.5 billion in FY16, and $70.2 billion in FY17.

All GRF appropriations would total $35.3 billion in FY16 and $37.0 billion in FY17. This includes federal Medicaid reimbursements to the GRF.

State only GRF appropriations would total $22.7 billion in FY16 (4.2 percent increase) and $23.6 billion in FY17 (4 percent increase.)

Tax Changes:  A major feature of the Executive Budget is a $500 million reduction in taxes and a reduction in tax rates for the personal income, which would drop by 15 percent in FY16 and 8 percent in FY17.  The top marginal income tax rate would decrease from 5.925 percent in 2011 to 4.1 percent by 2017, and the personal exemption would increase for lower and middle income taxpayers.  The tax revenue lost through this change would be $2.03 billion in FY16 and $2.6 billion in FY17.

As reported previously, the governor also wants to eliminate income taxes on all small businesses with annual gross receipts under $2 million, which would cost the state $338 million in FY16 and $358 million in FY17.

To pay for the tax changes, the Kasich Administration recommends the following increases in other taxes:

  • Increases the sales tax to 6.25 percent, and expands the tax to include services such as lobbying, market research, consulting, debt collection, cable subscriptions, parking and travel. (This increase would raise $1.14 billion in FY16 and $1.48 billion in FY17 in tax revenue)
  • Increases the cigarette tax by $1 to $2.25 per pack and raise the tax on other tobacco products.  The increase would raise revenues by $528 million in FY16 and $463 million in FY17.
  • Increases the severance tax on gas and oil drilling to 6.5 percent when sold at the wellhead and 4.5 percent when sold downstream.  This change would raise $76 million in FY16 and $183 million in FY17.  There is also a recommendation to earmark $19 million in FY16 and $46 million in FY17 for local governments for infrastructure and long-term economic development purposes.
  • Increases the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) from .26 percent to .32 percent to raise $290 million FY16 and $402 million in FY17, but reduces the CAT $800 to $150 for taxpayers between $1 million and $2 million in annual gross receipts.
  • Reduces deductions for retired Ohioans who make more than $100,000 raising $167 million.

The shift from raising state revenue from the income tax to the sales tax follows Governor Kasich’s goal to move Ohio away from a tax structure based on income to one based on consumption.

The budget measure also calls for creating a committee to review tax expenditures, which are tax dollars that are foregone through deductions, exemptions, credits, and other provisions in tax laws. Tax expenditures are estimated to cost the state more than $8.5 billion a year.

Budget for the Ohio Arts Council: The Executive Budget increases funding for the Ohio Arts Council.  Appropriations from the GRF increase from $11.3 million in FY15 to $11.9 million (5.5 percent) in FY16 and $12.4 million (4.2 percent) in FY17.  This includes $10.2 million in FY16 and $10.7 million in FY17 for grant awards (state program subsidies), and $1.72 million in each fiscal year for administration.

The total GRF appropriations for the biennium is $24.44 million, which is a $1.7 million increase over $22.69 million in FY14 and FY15.  However, this amount is still well below FY2000-2001, when the budget for the Ohio Arts Council was $30 million for the biennium.

See http://www.oac.state.oh.us/News/NewsArticle.asp?intArticleId=775

Primary and Secondary Education:  According to testimony by OBM Director Keen, Governor Kasich’s proposed budget for primary and secondary education retains the basic structure of the current school funding formula, but makes significant changes in three areas:  calculating the State Share, transportation, and transitional aid, or the guarantee.

Overall the proposal includes about a $700 million increase for primary and secondary education before adjustments are made for the phase-out of the Tangible Personal Property Tax (TPP) and kilowatt hour tax (KWH) reimbursement.

GRF appropriations for primary and secondary education would increase to $7.7 billion (6.1 percent) in FY16 and $8 billion (4.5 percent) in FY17.  Adding lottery profits to the GRF brings funding for primary and secondary education to $8.7 billion in FY16 and $9.1 billion in 2017.

All Funds, including federal funds, would bring the total for the ODE to $10.8 billion (-1.4 percent decrease from FY15) in FY16 and $11.1 billion (a 3.2 percent increase) in FY17.

Appropriations for the Foundation formula would total $7.4 billion in FY16 and $7.7 billion in FY17, which includes $877.7 million from the lottery.

The Core Opportunity Aid base amount increases from $5,800 per pupil in FY15 to $5,900 per pupil in FY16, and $6,000 per pupil in FY17.

The categorical components are also retained with the following changes noted in the testimony by Director Keen:

-Targeted Assistance

-K-3 Literacy Funds.  K-3 Literacy Aid amounts are increased 5 percent annually.

-Economically Disadvantaged Aid

-Limited English Proficiency Funding

-Gifted Funding.  Retains $3.8 million for gifted education allocated to Educational Service Centers, but the budget documents don’t specify the funding levels for gifted education that are included in the Foundation line item.

-Transportation Aid.  Funds are added to the transportation budget so that it is fully funded.  The minimum state share of transportation funding is decreased from 60 percent to 50 percent.  Supplemental funding for low-density, low mileage districts is eliminated.

-Special Education Aid.  Special education weighted amounts are increased 2 percent annually.

-Career Technical Education.  Career Tech weighted amounts are increased 4 percent annually.

OBM Director Keen also identified in his testimony the changes in the new school funding formula for determining income wealth and the capacity of school districts to raise local revenue.  The current State Share Index (SSI) is renamed the “State Share Percentage”, and the current wealth index of SSI would be called the “capacity measure”. The new formula compares each district’s income wealth to the statewide median income, and makes an adjustment to the State Share Percentage.  These are key changes in the proposed budget to direct more state aid to school districts with low property and income wealth, although other factors, such as enrollment, and reliance on the tangible personal property tax, would also affect the total amount of state aid.

According to the testimony, about 321 districts would not receive an adjustment in state aid, because their median income levels are near the state median income level; 176 lower property wealth districts would receive an increase in state aid this year; while 114 wealthier districts would receive a decrease in state aid, phased-in over a five-year period.

Decreases in state aid would be held to no more than 1 percent of the district’s combined state and local resources.

The current gain cap on state funding increases for school districts would be reduced to 10 percent in both FY16 and FY17.

The governor’s plan would also restart the phase-out of reimbursements for the tangible personal property tax (TPP) and KWH tax, saving the state $235 million.  These taxes were phased-out through a law enacted in 2005, but school districts and local entities have received reimbursements for lost revenue from the taxes in the past.

The Executive Budget combines the TPP and KWH tax reimbursements into one calculation, and reduces reimbursement payments based on the capacity and reliance of the district on the reimbursement.  For this calculation, school districts are sorted into quintiles based on their newly calculated capacity measure.  Districts with the lowest capacity in Quintile 1 would receive a 1 percent phase-out; districts in Quintile 2 would receive a 1.25 percent phase-out; districts in Quintile 3 would receive a 1.5 percent phase-out; districts in Quintile 4 would receive a 1.75 percent phase-out; districts with the highest capacity in Quintile 5 would receive a 2 percent phase-out.

According to an analysis by Howard Fleeter, Ohio Education Policy Institute:  “Before TPP payment cuts are taken into account 332 districts will receive increases in state aid and 278 districts will receive decreases. After TPP is taken into account, 287 districts will have more funding than in FY15 and 323 will have less.”

(“Initial Summary of FY16-17 Proposed School Funding Changes” by Dr. Howard Fleeter, Ohio Education Policy Institute, February 4, 2015.)

The following are some of the other policy changes that are included in the Executive Budget:

  • Reduces the amount of student testing by 18 percent
  • Reduces regulations for high performing school districts
  • Prevents low rated charter school sponsors from sponsoring schools
  • Strengthens counseling to help more students get into college and plan for careers
  • Provides $2 million so that economically disadvantaged students can take industry-standard exams to earn credentials.
  • Increases funding for early childhood education.  The budget plan would add $40 million from the casino operator settlement fund over the biennium bringing the total to $90 million; increases classroom slots by 6,125 students in FY16 and 11,090 in FY17; includes $10 million over the biennium for early childhood mental health counseling; and increases the earnings threshold for when child care assistance eligibility ends.
  • Funds ten sites to pilot competency-based education programs that advance students when they master course content.
  • Directs additional funds for chartered nonpublic schools to support the purchase of secular services and materials and to reimburse nonpublic schools for mandated administrative and clerical costs. Increases Auxiliary Services from $138.2 million in FY15 to $146.0 million (5.7 percent) in FY16, and to $153.1 million (4.8 percent) in FY17.

Nonpublic Administrative Cost Reimbursement would increase from $62.4 million in FY15 to $65.9 million in FY16 (5.7 percent), and to $69.1 (4.8 percent) in FY17.

The governor also included in the Executive Budget some of the recommendations that limit testing outlined by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross in a January 2015 report. Standardized testing would be capped at 2 percent of the school year, and practice tests would be capped at one percent; local districts would be able to make their own decisions about non-reading diagnostic tests in grades 1-3; student learning objectives for teacher evaluations would only be used for core subjects in grades 4-12; and the Third Grade Reading Test would no longer be administered in the fall.

To strengthen counseling so that more students have the help they need to apply to college and plan for careers, the governor proposes $2 million to support statewide efforts to improve access to school counseling services and establish standards for school counselors.

There are also other changes proposed for Ohio’s Teacher Evaluation System.  Highly rated teachers could forego additional coursework required for licenses and annual teacher evaluations.  Highly rated beginning teachers could be exempted from the annual teacher evaluation in the same year that they are participating in the Resident Educator Summative Assessment.

The executive budget also provides $200 million in lottery profits to support Straight A Fund grants.  $13.5 million from the grant would be set aside to train teachers to teach courses for college credit, and $5 million would be used to reward districts that increase participation in Advanced Placement courses or College Credit Plus.

Ohio’s Educational Choice Scholarships Program would be expanded under the budget plan to include second and third-grade students, assigned to under-performing public schools and whose family income is 200 percent or below the poverty level. The budget includes $23.5 million in FY16 and $31.5 million in FY17 for the program. The high school voucher would also increase from $5000 to $5700 per pupil each year.

The proposed budget would also permit charter schools access to local tax revenue if approved by a board of education and voters, and  increases the per pupil amount that charter schools receive for facilities from $100 to $200.  Highly rated charter school sponsors would have access a $25 million facilities fund for charter schools.

Higher Education:  The proposed changes for higher education include the following:

  • Renames the Board of Regents the Department of Higher Education. The Chancellor would continue to direct the agency.
  • Caps tuition increases at 2 percent this year and freezes tuition in 2016.
  • Creates a $120 million fund to help pay college loans for low-income graduates who work in certain in-demand jobs and remain in Ohio for five years after graduation.
  • Provides $17.5 million to expand efforts for adults to earn high school diplomas.
  • Appropriates $2.4 billion in FY16 and $2.5 billion in FY17 to the Department of Higher Education.
  • The State Share of Instruction (SSI) for universities and colleges would be distributed as follows:

-50 percent for degree completions

-approximately 28 percent for course completions

-21.5 percent for support of doctoral and medical education

-0.3 percent for historical set-asides, “that will be phased out this biennium.”

  • The SSI for community colleges, the distribution would be

-50 percent for course completions

-25 percent for degree and certificate completions;

-25 percent for “success points.”

See http://obm.ohio.gov/Budget/operating/fy16-17.aspx.

  • Information about the Executive Budget: Resources about the Executive Budget for FY16-17 are available on the web sites of the Office of Budget and Management (OBM), Tim Keen director, and the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC), Mark Flanders, director.

On the OBM web site at  http://obm.ohio.gov:

Blueprint for A New Ohio the “Blue Book”

-Budget Highlights

-Fact Sheets

-Tax Expenditure Report

-FY16-17 Ohio School Foundation Funding Formula Simulation Fact Sheet

-School Estimates with Tangible Personal Property Tax Dereg. FY16-17 (By Capacity)

-School Estimates with Tangible Personal Property Tax Dereg. FY16-17 (By County)

-School Estimates FY16-17 by Capacity

-School Estimates FY16-17 by County

-Testimony of Director Keen (OBM) before the House Finance Committee on February 3, 2015.  (A video of the House Finance Committee meeting is available at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/finance.)

On the LSC web site at http://www.lsc.ohio.gov:

-Testimony of Director Flanders (LSC) in the House Finance Committee on February 3, 2015.  (A video of the House Finance Committee meeting is available at http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/finance.)

After the bill is introduced the LSC will also provide the text of the budget bill as introduced and subsequent versions; an analysis of the bill; the “Budget in Detail”; comparison documents as the bill changes through the legislative process; and the “Red Books”, which are detailed analyses of agency budgets.

For overall information about Governor Kasich’s Executive Budget for FY16-17 see Blueprint for A New Ohio from the OBM. This document describes the components of the budget, including revenue by sources and expenditures by categories; the budget process; economic forecasts; and budget recommendations for each agency.  This is where you can find line-items for the Department of Education and the Ohio Arts Council.

See http://blueprint.ohio.gov/doc/budget/State_of_Ohio_Budget_Recommendations_FY-16-17.pdf

The OBM web site also provides estimates for each school district based on the proposed funding formula components in Executive Budget, including district capacity, 10 percent gain cap, 99 percent guarantee, reductions in tangible personal property and kilowatt hour tax replacement, foundation funding, and the percent changes for each year.

According to these estimates Youngstown City Schools has the lowest capacity in the state for raising local revenue, followed by Lima City Schools.  The districts with the highest capacity for raising local revenue are Put-In-Bay and Danbury Local Schools in Ottawa County.

The “operating budget bill” is expected to be introduced this week.  That’s when more details will be available about the proposed changes the governor is recommending in the Ohio Revised Code.  The budget bill will receive a number, and will be available on the LSC web site, which has a separate section for the various state budget bills. The operating budget bill, which is usually over 1000 pages, has several sections, including changes in permanent law, and changes in session law, which also includes the line items for each agency.

1) Ohio News

  • 131st General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold committee hearings and sessions this week.  For further details about the committee hearings, please see “This Week at the Statehouse”.
  • ODE Seeking Comments on School Funding Changes: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is seeking comments about Governor Kasich’s Executive Budget for FY16-17 introduced on February 2, 2015.

The ODE web site also provides links to “School District Funding Preliminary Estimates”, which are simulations of the components of the new school funding formula proposed in the Executive Budget FY16-17 for each district.

See https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Finance-and-Funding/Overview-of-School-Funding-Proposal

  • E & A Coalition Responds to Proposed School Funding Changes: The Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding, Bill Phillis executive director, and Richard Murray, chair, issued a press release on February 6, 2015 in response to Governor Kasich’s school funding plan, which is included in the Executive Budget proposal submitted to the Ohio House on February 2, 2015.

The E & A Coalition successfully argued in the four DeRolph v. State Supreme Court decisions, that the state’s school funding system is unconstitutional, because it relies on local property taxes to fund schools, and did not adequately provide for a thorough and efficient system of education.

In the press release the Coalition suggests that the proposed $100 increase in the per pupil amount each year (from $5,800 in FY15 to $5,900 in FY16 and to $6000 in FY17) is “residual” funding based on a pre-determined appropriation amount, and has no rational connection to the resources needed to provide a high quality education for students in Ohio.

The E & A Coalition recommends that, “A constitutional system of elementary and secondary schools must be premised on a funding system that defines and costs out the components of a high quality system of education. This approach, of course, would cost the state additional revenue. Fortunately, the state is now well-positioned to devote more revenue to the education of Ohio’s children.”

  • ODE Guidance on Student Testing:  The Ohio Department of Education has prepared information for schools to use in discussions with students, parents, and communities about student participation in state testing.

According to the ODE, “there is no law that allows a parent or student to opt out of state testing and there is no state test opt-out procedures or form”.

Students, teachers, schools, and school districts can face “consequences” when students do not participate in state tests.

For example, a third grade student who does not take the state reading test might not be promoted to the forth grade; a high school student who does not take and pass the Ohio Graduation Tests might not graduate; a high school student who does not take an end of course exam might not be able to pass a course.

The information also identifies some consequences for teachers and schools districts if students do not take state exams.  A school district’s report card rating might be lowered, and teacher evaluations would not reflect the growth of all students.

See http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/53dc1f3e-11f1-4093-875c-090e160b187f/Guidance-on-Student-Participation-in-State-Tests.pdf.aspx

  • State Board Reorganizes Committees: The State Board of Education has reorganized its standing committees and the membership on them.

The Achievement and Graduation committees have been combined, and will be chaired by C. Todd Jones with Rebecca Vasquez-Skillings as the vice chair. The other members include Pat Bruns, Stephanie Dodd, Joe Farmer, Mark Smith, and Ron Rudduck.  The lead ODE staff member is Stephanie Siddens.

The Capacity Committee will be chaired by Melanie Bolender with Sarah Fowler as the vice chair. The other members of the committee are Tess Elshoff, Cathye Flory, Kathleen McGervey, Roslyn Painter-Goffi, and A.J. Wagner. The lead ODE staff member is Julia Simmerer.

The Accountability Committee will be chaired by Mark Smith with Michael Collins as the vice chair. The other members of the committee are Tom Gunlock, C. Todd Jones, Roslyn Painter-Goffi, Ron Rudduck, and Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings.

The Urban and Rural Renewal Committee will be chaired by Mary Rose Oakar and Tess Elshoff will be vice chair.  The other members include Pat Bruns, Joe Farmer, Sarah Fowler, Robert Hagan, Ann Jacobs, Kathleen McGervey, and A.J. Wagner.

The Legislative and Budget Committee will be chaired again by Kathleen McGervey and C. Todd Jones will serve as vice chair.  The other members of the committee include Melanie Bolender, Mike Collins, Sarah Fowler, Robert Hagan, Mary Rose Oakar, and Mark Smith.

2)  This Week at the Statehouse:

  • The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Smith, will meet on February 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM, in Hearing Room 313.  The committee will hear more about the education provisions in the Executive Budget for FY16-17.

The Finance Committee will also meet on February 11, 2015 and February 12, 2015 at 9:00 AM.  On February 11, 2015 the committee will receive testimony about the tax provisions in the proposed FY16-17 budget.

  • The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative McClain, will meet on February 10, 2015 at 1:30 PM in Hearing Room 121.  The committee will receive sponsor testimony on HB9 (Boose) Tax Expenditure Review Committee, which would create a review committee to review existing and proposed tax expenditures. A similar recommendation is included in the governor’s Executive Budget.
  • The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on February 10, 2015 at 3:30 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room.  The committee will receive sponsor testimony on SB3 (Hite/Faber) High Performing School District Exemption from Certain Laws.
  • The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on February 11, 2015 at 8:00 AM in hearing room 121.  The committee will receive testimony on HB2 (Dovilla) Charter School Sponsorship.
  • The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission will meet on February 12, 2015 at 1:30 PM in the Riffe Center.  This month the following committees will meet:  Bills of Rights and Voting; Revisions and Updating Committee; Coordinating Committee; Legislative Branch and Executive Branch Committee;

3)  State Board of Education to Meet:  The State Board of Education, Tom Gunlock president, will meet on February 9-10 at the Ohio Department of Education Conference Center, 25 S. Front Street in Columbus.

SBE Meeting on February 9, 2015

The meeting on February 9, 2015 will start at 8:30 AM, when the State Board will hold a Chapter 119 Hearing on the following rules:

-3301-19-01, -02, -03, District Expenditure Reports

-3301-24-10, Alternative Pathway to Professional Principal Licensure for the “New Leaders for Ohio Schools” Pilot Program

-3301-24-23, -24, Alternative Resident Educator License Renewal

-3301-24-25, -26, Professional Educator License Renewal

-3301-27-01, Qualifications to Direct, Supervise or Coach a Pupil Activity Program

-3301-51-20, Admission, Transfer, Suspension, Expulsion Standard for Blind and Deaf Schools

-3301-61-02, -03, -04, -05, -61-16, -68-01, Career-Tech Rules

-3301-91-02, 03, 05, School Lunch/Breakfast Program

-3301-102-08, Sponsor Compliance

The Executive Committee, chaired by Tom Gunlock, will meet following the 119 hearing.  The committee will discuss and approve the 2015-2016 Meeting Calendar; discuss participation on NASBE’s Government Affairs Committee; and discuss the OBM Travel Rule.

Following the Executive Committee meeting, the State Board will receive an update from Superintendent Richard Ross regarding Governor Kasich’s Executive Budget proposal for FY16-17.

  • The Achievement & Graduation Requirements Committee and Capacity Committee will meet around 10:30 AM.

The Achievement & Graduation Requirements Committee, will take the following actions:

-Discuss and approve proposed amendment to Rule 3301-35-15 Implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention Supports and the Use of Restraint and Seclusion

-Discuss recommendations for AP and IB Biology substitute exams

-Discuss recommendations for AP/IB score crosswalks.

-Receive an update on the Industry Credentials List and Process to Review

-Discuss public comment for the proposed Reading Achievement Improvement Plan Rule

-Discuss Physical Education Standards and Evaluation

  • The Capacity Committee will discuss and approve Rules 3301-32-01 to -12, School Child Program, and receive background information and an update on Educator Licensure Rules.

The State Board will receive a presentation at 1:00 from Elizabeth Ranade Janis, Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services, about Ohio’s efforts to stop human trafficking.

  • The Urban & Rural Renewal Committee and the Accountability Committee will meet concurrently following the presentation.

-The Urban & Rural Renewal Committee will discuss the requirements and expectations of the committee, discuss possible organizations/districts to present to the committee, and discuss web site development and content.

-The Accountability Committee will receive an update about Ohio’s ESEA flexibility renewal and discuss Report Card Indicators.

Public participation on agenda and non-agenda items will be received around 3:00 PM.

The State Board will then go into executive session, and recess from executive session.

SBE Meeting on February 10, 2015

On February 10, 2015 the State Board will convene at 8:30 AM and receive committee reports and take action on 10 personnel items; a motion regarding the 2015-16 State Board of Education meeting calendar; and a resolution amending report card timeline for Career Technical Planning Districts, pursuant to R.C. 3302.033. The Board will then consider old business, new business, and adjourn.

4)  President Obama Submits FY16 Budget Proposal:  President Barack Obama sent Congress a $4 trillion budget package for FY16 on February 2, 2015 with a message to end “mindless across the board cuts” caused by sequestration, and rebuild middle class America.  President Obama spoke about the budget at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. The annual federal budget must be approved by October 1, 2015, when the federal fiscal year begins.

The Republican led House and Senate will counter with their own budget proposals, which are expected to be introduced soon.

Saying that the nation’s economy has added new jobs, lowered unemployment, and reduced the federal deficit, the President’s budget includes a 6.4 percent increase over spending this year (about $74 billion) and about $1.5 trillion in tax hikes, including tax increases in the capital gains rate, increases for corporations, and increases for high-income families.

To support low income families the budget plan includes tax cuts, increases in the child care credit, and extends the Earned Income Tax Credit to low income workers.

Support for Preschool:  To support families and children the budget would expand access to quality, affordable child care to 1.1 million additional children under age four by 2025 by providing $75 billion over ten years for Preschool for All; cut taxes for families paying for child care with a credit of up to $3,000 per child; triple the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under age five; and increase funding to Head Start by $1 billion.

Support for K-12 Education:  The proposed federal budget also includes $70.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Education.  The budget would increase funding in the following areas:

  • Title I funding would increase by $1 billion to $15.4 billion.  Title I is the largest K-12 grant program in the U.S. Department of Education to support low-income schools.
  • A new program, Teaching for Tomorrow, would receive $5 billion over five years to transform how states recruit and prepare new teachers.
  • Investing in Innovation would receive $300 million.
  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) would receive an increase of $175 million to total $11.7 billion to support special education and related services.
  • English Language Acquisition grants would increase by $36 million to $773 million.

Support for Higher Education:  To support postsecondary education the budget provides tuition free community college through new

federal-state partnerships; ensures that Pell Grants keep pace with inflation; keeps student loans manageable through the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) plan; simplifies and expands education tax benefits; and invests in evidence-based efforts at colleges and universities to improve educational outcomes for all students through the First in the World Fund.

Support for the Arts:  The President’s budget includes some good news for arts advocates.  The proposed budget increases funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities by $2 million to $146 million, and

continues funding for Arts in Education ($25 million) at the U.S. Department of Education. In past budget proposals the administration has eliminated or combined Arts in Education with other programs, which would dilute the effectiveness of the grant program.  The budget also supports 21st Century Community Learning Centers and School Improvement Grants.

See http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/02/remarks-president-fy2016-budget

See http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/02/fact-sheet-middle-class-economics-president-s-fiscal-year-2016-budget

See http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget16/budget-factsheet.pdf

See Americans for the Arts at http://blog.artsusa.org/2015/01/22/the-return-of-elementary-and-secondary-education-act-esea-reauthorization/

5)  National News

  • Update on ESEA Reauthorization: U.S, Representative John Kline (R-MN), chair of the House Education Committee and the Workforce Committee, re-introduced on February 3, 2015 a bill entitled the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 

According to a summary, the bill is very similar to the Senate bill drafted by Senator Lamar Alexander to reauthorize ESEA entitled Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015.  The Senate bill differs from the House version, in that the Senate version currently offers states two options about testing. One option would allow states to maintain the current annual testing plan, but also would allow school districts, with state approval, to choose assessments.  The other option would let states use any type of testing schedule, including annual tests, portfolio exams, grade-span tests, competency based assessments, and more.

A committee markup of the bill is scheduled at 10:00 AM on February 11, 2015, and a vote in the House could be taken by the end of the month.

The following is a summary of the some of the components in the bill:

  • Reduces the federal role in education “by returning authority for measuring student performance and turning around low-performing schools to states and local officials.”
  • Increases local flexibility regarding current Title I programs
  • Requires states to establish academic standards in reading, math, and science, and align content and achievement standards, but removes the federal requirements mandating basic, proficient, and advanced levels of achievement.
  • Retains annual testing in grades 3-8 in math and reading and once in high school and science once in each of the grade spans.
  • Retains the requirement about disaggregating student subgroup data, assessing the English proficiency of English learners, and ensuring 95 percent participation rates for all students and each subgroup.
  • Eliminates the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) metric and the requirement that all students reach proficiency in reading and math.
  • Allows states to develop their own accountability systems that include the following:

-annually measure academic achievement of all public school students against the state’s academic standards (including growth toward the standards) using the statewide assessments in reading and math and other academic indicators;

-annually evaluate and identify the academic performance of each public school in the state based on student academic achievement, including the achievement of all students and achievement gaps between student subgroups;

-provide a school improvement system implemented by school districts that includes interventions in poor performing Title I schools.

  • Eliminates School Improvement Grants
  • Allows states and school districts to use federal funds for certain special population programs for any activity authorized under those programs.
  • Eliminates the 40 percent poverty threshold for schoolwide programs, allowing all Title I schools to operate whole school reform efforts. •Eliminates more than 65 existing elementary and secondary education programs, including Arts in Education.
  • Creates a new Local Academic Flexible Grant to provide funds to states and school districts to support initiatives based on their unique priorities.
  • Requires states to reserve ten percent of their Local Academic Flexible Grant to support state and local programs that operate outside of traditional public school systems.
  • Removes all “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) requirements, allowing states and school districts to set their own funding levels for elementary and secondary education.
  • Maintains the existing “supplement, not supplant” requirements, which ensure federal dollars are used on top of state and local resources, protecting the traditional federal role in education.
  • Maintains separate funding streams for the Migratory Education, Neglected and Delinquent, English Language Acquisition, and Rural Education programs and strengthens each targeted population program to improve its performance.
  • Repeals federal requirements that teachers be highly qualified.
  • Allows for the development and implementation of state or locally driven teacher evaluation systems based on five broad parameters that states or school districts may include in any teacher evaluation system.
  • Consolidates the remaining teacher quality programs, including the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant program authorized under the Higher Education Act, into a new Teacher and School Leader Flexible Grant.
  • Gives states the option of allowing Title I money to follow low- income students to the traditional public or charter school the student chooses to attend.
  • Reauthorizes the Charter School Program
  • Limits the authority of the Secretary of Education over decisions in the classroom.
  • Reauthorizes the Education for Homeless Children and Youths program within the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

See http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/the_student_success_act_summary_2015_for_introduction.pdf

  • House Dems Hold Own ESEA Forum: Democrats on the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee held their own forum on February 5, 2015 to protest the lack of hearings on the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), sponsored by Representative John Kline. The forum was organized by the ranking Democratic member on the committee, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) to gather more feedback about the components of the Republican backed bill, which could get a vote in the House by the end of February.

The Democrats invited representatives of several education organizations to present, including Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, and Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust.

Concern was expressed about the dismantling of laws that ensure that children who are poor, minority, or disabled have priority to Title I funding; a provision which would allow federal dollars to follow a low income student to a public school of choice; and the elimination of “maintenance of effort”.

See “House Democrats Hold Their Own Session on Rewriting the NCLB Law” by Lauren Camera, Education Week, February 5, 2015 at

See http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/02/house_democrats_hold_their_own.html

  • Timeline for ESEA Reauthorization: Maggie Severns reports for Politico that Senator Lamar Alexander expects that the Senate HELP Committee will pass the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015, a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, by the end of the month.  This will enable the Senate to debate the bill before it starts work on the appropriation measures for FY16.
  • Tennessee Teachers Challenge Teacher Evaluations:  Two teachers in Tennessee, the Tennessee Education Association, and the Metropolitan Nashville and Anderson County Education Associations filed a lawsuit in Nashville on February 5, 2015 challenging the constitutionality of the state’s teacher evaluation system.  The defendants include the governor, the commissioner of education, the State Board of Education, the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education, and the Anderson County Board of Education.

According to a press release from the National Education Association, the lawsuit claims that the state’s teacher evaluation system is arbitrary, irrational, and unfair, because more than half of the teachers in Tennessee are being evaluated on the standardized test scores of students who they have not taught, in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Tennessee evaluation system factors-into teacher evaluations overall student results through a statistical framework called the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS).  Schools receive composite scores that are then used to evaluate teachers in non-tested subjects or grades.

The lawsuit contents that the state’s evaluation system cannot provide meaningful feedback to teachers to improve instruction, because the teachers are not teaching all of the students, whose test scores go into their evaluations.  The system hurts teachers, because employment decisions are made as a result of the evaluations, and provides no benefit for students.

Two lawsuits are still pending in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee contesting the precision of TVAAS as a methodology to use to evaluate teachers. TVAAS is also known as EVAAS, which is the methodology used in Ohio to measure student growth.

See http://teateachers.org/sites/default/files/u98351/tea_lawsuit_feb_4_2015.pdf

See “NEA supports teachers challenging constitutionality of evaluations”, NEA, February 5, 2015 at  http://www.nea.org/home/61903.htm

See “NEA Lawsuit in Tennessee Challenges Evaluations of ‘Non-Tested’ Teachers” by Anthony Rebora, Education Week, February 5, 2015 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2015/02/new_nea_suit_in_tenn_challenge.html.

  • Fewer Students Taking National Assessments: Catherine Gewertz reports for Education Week that less than half of students in the U.S. will take assessments developed by the testing consortia PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and Smarter Balanced this year. That is a huge drop from a few years ago, when only a few states were not participating in one or the other consortia’s testing program.  About 25 percent of students will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessments, and 18 percent the PARCC assessments, including students in Ohio.

See “Final Testing Count: More Than Half of Students Will Take Non-Consortium Exams” by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, February 5, 2015 at http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2015/02/more_than_half_of_students_.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2

6)  Bills Introduced

-SB3 (Hite/Faber) High Performing School District Exemption:  Exempts high-performing school districts from certain laws; revises the law regarding the administration of state primary and secondary education assessments; permits school districts to contract with hospitals, health care professionals, and educational service centers for school health services; revises the competitive bidding threshold for school building and repair contracts; and requires the School Facilities Commission to develop a legislative proposal assisting high-performing school districts in purchasing technology, building expansion, and physical alterations to improve school safety or security.

-SB6 (Jones/Eklund) Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability:  Increases the maximum income tax deduction for college savings contributions to $10,000 annually for each beneficiary; creates the Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability, and declares an emergency.

-SB12 (Hottinger) Income Tax Credit-Science Related Degree: Grants an income tax credit to individuals who earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math-based fields of study.

-SB19 (Sawyer) Ohio College Opportunity Grant:  Makes changes to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, to limit state university over load fees, and makes an appropriation.

-SB20 (Schiavoni) Charter Schools-Record Keeping:  Regarding audit and record-keeping requirements for community school sponsors and operators.

-SB24 (Williams) Ohio College Opportunity Grant Qualifications:  Qualifies students in noncredit community college programs for Ohio College Opportunity Grants and requires the awarding of academic credit for community colleges’ career certification programs.

FYI ARTS

  • Governor’s Awards Announced: The Ohio Arts Council announced on January 27, 2015 those selected to receive the 2015 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

The awards will be presented at a noon luncheon ceremony on Arts Day, Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at the Columbus Athenaeum in downtown Columbus.  The ceremony is hosted by Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. The luncheon honors the recipients and the members of the Ohio Legislature. This year’s recipients will also receive an original work of art by Nicole Schneider, a printmaker and mixed-media artist from Cleveland.

Recipients were selected by the Governors Awards Selection Committee from 68 nominations submitted by individuals and organizations throughout Ohio. The recipients include:

-Individual Artist: James Pate, Dayton

-Community Development and Participation: Mayor Thomas Johnson, Somerset

-Business Support of the Arts: Morris Furniture Company, Fairborn -Arts Patron: Barbara Hunzicker, Lancaster

-Arts Education: Dr. Philip Brady, Youngstown

-Arts Administration: Marie Bollinger Vogt, Sylvania

The Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio & Arts Day Luncheon are held in conjunction with Arts Day, a day long event to foster a greater awareness of the value of the arts in Ohio.  Arts Day is sponsored by the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, which organizes Arts Day activities, including an arts advocacy briefing, legislative visits, Statehouse tours, student exhibitions, and more.

See http://oac.state.oh.us

See http://ohiocitizensforthearts.org

  • California Task Force Makes Recommendations for Arts Education: A task force appointed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in 2012 released on January 29, 2015 a report about “implementing a robust 21st century model of arts education” to become the “center for creative preK-12 education” in California’s public schools.

The report is entitled “A Blueprint for Creative Schools” and summarizes an earlier report entitled, “The Joint Arts Education Task Force Report: How the Arts and Creative Education Can Transform California’s Classrooms”.

The 100-member task force, Blueprint for Creative Schools Task Force, that prepared the report included representatives from the California Department of Education (CDE), the California Arts Council (CAC), the California Alliance for Arts Education, the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), the California PTA, and artists, teachers, and arts organizations throughout the state.

The task force identified as an over-arching goal to reinstate the arts at the core of education for all students in California’s public schools through discipline specific arts education programs and learning across the curriculum.

The “Blueprint for Creative Schools” examines and makes recommendations about how to accomplish that goal through several lenses, including arts curriculum, educator quality and preparation, arts assessment, equity and access, collaborative relationships, the role of business and industry, and funding for the arts.

The comprehensive report was funded by the California Arts Council.   Previous funding was made available from the National Endowment for the Arts for the California delegation to attend the Arts Education Leaders Institute.

See “A Blueprint for Creative Schools” by Create CA:  California’s Statewide Arts Education Coalition, February 2015 at

http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/documents/bfcsreport.pdf


This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education.  The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities.  The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.ohedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.oaae.net).

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About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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