Arts on Line Education Update October 12, 2015

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
October 12, 2015
Joan Platz

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

131st Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and the Ohio Senate will meet in session this week.  The House and Senate education committees are not meeting.
On October 7, 2015 the Ohio House and Senate approved a long-awaited charter school reform bill, Sub. HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner).  The bill eliminates some loop holes and strengthens accountability and transparency provisions in charter school law.  The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Kasich.  A summary of the bill is included below.
House Updates Schedule:  The Ohio House revised its sessions schedule for the remainder of 2015.  Some “if needed” and scheduled sessions have been canceled, but House sessions have been added on October 27, 2015 and December 1, 2015.  The House and Senate have a total of 8 session dates scheduled until December 9, 2015, and “if needed” sessions scheduled as well.  So far this fall lawmakers have prioritized passing HB2 Charter School Reforms, which passed last week, and a corrections bill to fix a provision in HB64 (Smith), the Biennial Budget, regarding changes in the small business tax. The corrections bill, SB208 (Beagle), is being considered by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Bill Would Support School Mergers:  The House Education Committee, chaired by Bill Hayes, received testimony on October 6, 2015 on HB148 (Paterson-LaTourette) School Mergers.  The bill would support a plan to consolidate the Berkshire and Newbury school districts.  These small districts in Northeast Ohio have been working for several years to consolidate, and now are proposing a plan to build a school facility on the Geauga campus of Kent State University.  The bill would facilitate funding for the construction of this facility through the Ohio School Facilities Commission. The Berkshire School District recently merged with Ledgemont, after the General Assembly approved a law to forgive Ledgemont’s debts in exchange for the merger.
GA APPROVES CHARTER SCHOOL REFORM BILL
The Ohio House and Senate approved on October 7, 2015 Sub. HB2 (Dovilla-Roegner) Charter School Reform after a conference committee sorted-out some of the bill’s details.  The final votes, 91-6 in the House and 32-0 in the Senate, send the bill to Governor Kasich, who is expected to sign it into law.
The conference committee added, removed, and changed some provisions in the bill as approved by the House and Senate.
The conference committee removed a provision addressing truant students and the requirement that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) use the California-based “similar student measure” to determine student academic progress in schools.  The truant provision will receive further study, and the ODE is now required to just study the “similar students” concept.
One provision added to the bill by the conference committee confirms as public property charter school assets, such as furniture, computers, textbooks, etc., although the bill does not address school facilities.  The provision was added in response to a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision in Hope Academy Broadway Campus v. White Hat Management.  The decision awarded White Hat LLC, a charter school management company, the assets of ten closed charter schools that it had operated, even though the assets were purchased with public funds.  A majority of the court based the decision on the “enforceability” of the contract that White Hat had made with the charter schools.
Also added to HB2 are provisions that do the following:
-support an appeals process for charter schools when the ODE denies the school a request to change sponsors
-allow state universities that sponsor charter schools to sell services to those schools, as long as they don’t make a profit
-change the “bonding” requirements for charter schools
-require sponsors that are rated ineffective for three years in a row to lose their authority to authorize charter schools.
The conference committee also added controversial provisions that affect the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS).  These provisions clarify which charter school/management company employees pay into the Social Security system rather than SERS or STRS.
Some lawmakers raised concerns about the changes in the retirement system payments, which they believe could, over time, undermine the financial stability of the state pension funds.  According to The Plain Dealer, the change could save for-profit charter school operators money (and increase their profits), because they would pay 6 percent into Social Security rather than 14 percent of a teacher’s salary into STRS.  Most of the “no” votes on HB2 in the House were the result of opposition to these provisions.
Not addressed in the bill are continuing concerns about how charter schools are funded; the efficacy of for-profit management companies; differences in education standards between traditional public schools and charter schools; the lack of voter and community participation in charter school decisions, in spite of the use of public funds to support charter schools; etc.
See “Charter school reform bill tackles controversies over White Hat property, sponsor evaluations, new school rating measure” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, October 6, 2015 at
See “No state pensions for some teachers under charter school reform bill; Ohio Federation of Teachers upset over the late change” by Patrick O’Donnell, The Plain Dealer, October 7, 2015 athttp://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/10/no_state_pensions_for_some_tea.html
Summary of Sub. HB2
The following is a summary of some of the provisions of Sub. HB2.  The summary was prepared from the October 7, 2015 version of Sub. HB2 and the Legislative Service Commission’s comparison document.
AUDITOR OF STATE
-Sections 117.105:  Requires the Auditor of State to provide written notice to the sponsor regarding any action taken against, or upcoming audits, of a community school to assist the sponsor in complying with requirements.
-Section 3314.011(B)(1):  Requires (rather than permits as under current law) the Auditor of State to require the fiscal officer to execute a bond conditioned on the faithful performance of all official duties required of the fiscal officer.
-Section 3314.50:  Requires, when the Auditor of State conducts an audit of a community school that has closed and is subject to the requirements of this provision, the Auditor of State must certify the costs of the audit to the Treasurer of State, who must assess the bond for the costs of the audit, or pay out of the cash deposit the costs of the audit to reimburse the Auditor of State for audit costs.
SPONSORS
Sponsor oversight and monitoring
-Section 3314.025:  Requires each sponsor to annually report and submit to the ODE and governing authority the amount and type of expenditures made in providing oversight and technical assistance, and requires the ODE, rather than the SBE, to establish requirements for that reporting procedure. Requires the ODE to use the financial report as a factor in the sponsor’s evaluation.
-Section 3314.023:  Specifies that a sponsor must provide monitoring, oversight, and technical assistance to each school that is sponsors, and defines monitoring, oversight, and technical assistance.  In addition, requires that annual monitoring and evaluation of fiscal performance be based on the sponsor contract, state report card results, and other ODE analysis. Requires sponsors to take steps to intervene in the school’s operation to correct problems in the school’s overall performance, declaring the school to be on probationary status, suspending the operation of the school, or terminating the contract of the school as determined necessary by the sponsor.
-Section 3314.023:  Requires that copies of financial and enrollment records be furnished on a monthly basis to the sponsor, members of the governing authority, and the designated fiscal officer.
-Sections 117.105 and 3314.019:  Requires the sponsor to communicate with the Auditor of State regarding audits and the condition of financial and enrollment records of the school.  Requires the sponsor to maintain a presence at any and all meetings with the Auditor.  Requires the Auditor to provide written notice to the sponsor regarding any action taken against or upcoming audits of a community school to assist the sponsor in complying with these requirements.
-Section 3314.02(E)(2)(c):  Requires each community school sponsor to annually verify that a finding for recovery has not been issued by the Auditor of State against any governing authority member, any individual who propose to create a community school, the operator, or any employee of a community school.
Selling goods or services by a sponsor
-Section 3314.46: Prohibits the sponsor of a community school from selling any goods or services to that school, unless the sponsor has a contract with a school involving the sale of goods or services, entered into prior to the bill’s effective date.  This exemption expires when the contract expires.
-Section 3314.46:  Permits a school district or university that sponsors a community school to sell goods or services to that school at no profit.
Termination of Sponsor Contract:
-Section 3314.07(B)(3):  Moves the deadline by which a sponsor must notify the school of the proposed action in writing from February 1 to January 15, in the year in which the sponsor intends to terminate or take action not to renew the contract.
-Section 3314.07(B)(4):  Removes a provision in current law that allows a school to appeal to the SBE a sponsor’s decision to terminate a school’s contract.
-Sections 3314.35(D) and 3314.351(E) Specifies that nothing in the automatic closure provisions or other provisions of the Revised Code prohibits the sponsor of a community school from exercising its option not to renew a contract for any reason, or from terminating a contract prior to its expiration for any reason permitted under continuing law.
Sponsor Evaluation System:
-Section 3314.016(B)(1):  Restores in current law the following components to rate sponsors:  Academic performance of students enrolled in community schools sponsored by the same entity; Adherence by a sponsor to the quality practices prescribed by the Department of Education; Compliance by a sponsor with all applicable laws and administrative rules.
-Section 3314.016(B)(1)(b):  Authorizes the ODE, for a sponsor that was rated “exemplary” or “effective” on its most recent rating, to evaluate that sponsor’s adherence to quality practices once over a period of three years.
-Section 3314.016(B)(1)(a): Specifies that the academic performance component must be derived from the performance measures that comprise the state report card, and must be based on the performance of the schools for the school year for which the evaluation is conducted. Also specifies that, in addition to performance for a specific year, this component also includes year to-year changes in the “overall sponsor portfolio.”
-Section 3314.016(B)(6):  Establishes a new sponsor rating of “poor”.
-Section 3314.016(B)(1)(a):  Requires the ODE, if a community school does not have graded report card performance measures, to use non report card performance measures specified in the contract between the community school and sponsor to determine the student academic performance.
-Section 3314.016 (B)(2):  Maintains a current law prohibition on the academic performance of community schools that primarily serve students with disabilities from being used as a factor when determining a sponsor’s rating, but also requires such performance to be reported under the evaluation system.
-Section 3314.016(B)(6):  Restores to current law the provision requiring each component to be weighted equally, and requires that each separate component rating be given by the ODE. Removes the provision permitting first-time sponsors to be assigned an overall rating of “emerging” for only the first two consecutive years of sponsorship.
-Section 3314.016(B)(6) Requires the ODE to provide training on an annual basis regarding the sponsor evaluation system.
-Section 3314.016(B)(4)(a):  Limits the peer reviewers that are authorized under continuing law to review a sponsor’s adherence to quality practices to individuals employed by sponsors that were rated “exemplary” or “effective” on their most recent rating.
-Section 7(A) Authorizes the ODE, for the 2015-2016 school year only, to choose to not assign an overall rating to a sponsor that meets all of the following conditions: The sponsor is a school district; at least one of the community schools under the authority of the sponsor is a conversion community school that primarily serves students enrolled in a dropout prevention and recovery program; at least one of the community schools under the authority of the sponsor received on its 2013-2014 school year report card a rating of “meets standards” or “exceeds standards” for the four and five-year cohort graduation rate.
-Section 7(B) Requires the ODE, if it chooses not to assign an overall rating for a sponsor described above, to instead evaluate the sponsor using only the student academic performance component and the compliance with applicable laws and rules, but it may not assign an overall rating based on those two components.
Incentives for Sponsors
-Section 3314.016(D):  Permits sponsors who have been rated “exemplary” for at least two consecutive years to take advantage of certain incentives.
-Section 3314.016(B)(7)(a)(i):  Sets the maximum year amount for a renewal agreement with the ODE from 12 years to 10 years.
-Section 3314.016(B)(7)(a)(vi):  Permits a sponsor that was rated “exemplary” for at least two consecutive years and that exercises specified incentives, to continue to exercise those specified incentives even if the sponsor later receives a lower overall rating.
Restrictions for Sponsors
-Section 3314.016(B)(7)(b)(i):  Prohibits a sponsor with an overall rating of “ineffective” from sponsoring any new or additional community schools.  Specifies that the sponsorship prohibition applies during the time in which the sponsor is rated “ineffective,” and subjects such a sponsor to a quality improvement plan.
-Section 3314.016(B)(7)(b)(ii) Revokes the sponsorship authority of a sponsor that receives an overall rating of “ineffective” for three consecutive years, subject to an appeals hearing that is conducted by an officer appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and decided by the State Board under specified deadlines.
-Section 3314.016(B)(7)(c):  Establishes a new sponsor rating of “poor” and requires the revocation of sponsorship authority for any sponsor that receives an overall rating of “poor,” subject to an appeal to the SBE.
-Section 3314.016(D):  Requires the Office of School Sponsorship to assume sponsorship of any schools when the sponsor’s authority is revoked due to a “poor” rating or an “ineffective” rating for three consecutive years.
-Section 3314.016(D) Permits the Office of School Sponsorship to continue to sponsor those schools until the earlier of the expiration of two school years from revocation or when a new sponsor is secured by the school’s governing authority.
MANAGEMENT COMPANIES OR OPERATORS
Operator Contracts
-Section 3314.032(A) and 3314.01210:  Requires that each new or renewed contract between the governing authority of a community school and an operator to contain at least the following: criteria to be used for early termination of the operator contract, required notification procedures and timeline for early termination or nonrenewal of the operator contract.  Adds that any stipulation regarding which entity owns property must comply with the requirement that personal property purchased with state funds is property of the school.
-Section 3314.026:  Eliminates a prescribed appeal procedure when the governing authority of a community school has notified the operator of its intent to terminate or not renew the operator’s contract. This procedure allowed, under certain cases, the operator to replace the governing authority of a charter school.
Operator Performance
-Section 3314.031(A):  Requires, beginning March 31, 2016, that the ODE maintain an accurate record of the names and identifying information of all entities that have entered into an operator contract with the governing authority of a community school, and requires the ODE to receive from the governing authority of each community school a copy of the operator contract and post a copy on its website. Requires the ODE to publish the directory of names and identifying information.
-Section 3314.031(B):  Requires the ODE by November 15, 2016, to develop and publish an annual report on operator performance and requires the report to be published by November 15th of each year.  The report shall be based on the performance of the community schools for the previous school year; effectiveness of academic programs, operations, and legal compliance; and the financial condition of all community schools, and the performance of community school sponsors.
Account of Operator Costs and Services
-Section 3314.024:  Requires a management company (or operator) that receives more than 20 percent of the gross annual revenues of a community school (rather than provides services to a community school that amounts to more than 20 percent of the gross annual revenues of the school) to provide a detailed accounting including the nature and costs of the goods and services it provides to the school.  Specifies the categories that must be reported and that the categories must be disaggregated according to certain criteria. Specifies that the accounting information, during the regular audit of the school, is subject to verification through examination of community school records, rather than subject to audit as under current law.  According to the LSC, “Under current law a management company that provides services that amounts to more than 20% must provide a detailed accounting that is included in footnotes in the school’s financial statement.”
GOVERNING BOARD OR GOVERNING AUTHORITY
Sponsor and governing authority contract.
-Section 3314.03(A)(4):   Clarifies that each contract between a sponsor and a governing authority must contain performance standards, including all applicable report card measures.
-Section 3314.03(A)(9):  Requires that each contract between a sponsor and a governing authority contain an addendum with a detailed description of each facility, the annual costs associated with leasing each facility that are paid by or on behalf of the school, the annual mortgage principal and interest payments that are paid by the school, and the name of the lender or landlord identified as such, and the lender’s or landlord’s relationship to the operator, if any.
-Section 3314.03(A)(27) and (28):  Requires that each contract between a sponsor and a governing authority contain a provision requiring that the school’s attendance and participation policies be available.  Limits the availability of attendance records to the Department, Auditor of State, and school’s sponsor, and only as permitted under federal law.
-3314.03(A)(30):  Requires that each contract between a sponsor and a governing authority contain a provision requiring that all moneys the school’s operator loans to the school must be accounted for, documented, and bear interest at a fair market rate.
Limits on changing sponsors.
-3314.034 Prohibits poorly performing school from switching sponsors under certain conditions.
-3314.034(C) Specifies that the ODE grant the request to change sponsors pursuant to a process, and allows the school to appeal denied requests to the State Board of Education.
-3314.034(D) Specifies the factors to be considered during an appeal.
Governing authority members
-Section 3314.02(E)(6) Prohibits an employee of a school district or educational service center from serving on the governing authority of any community school sponsored by that district or service center.
-Section 3314.02(E)(8) and 3313.131:  Prohibits a community school governing authority member from being a member of a school district board of education, and prohibits a district board member from being a governing authority member.
-Section 3314.02(E)(2)(a)(ii) Prohibits any person who would otherwise be subject to continuing law with respect to refusal, limitation, or revocation of a license to teach, if the person were a licensed educator, from serving as a member of a community school governing authority.
-Section 3314.02(E)(2)(a)(iii):  Prohibits any person who has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of theft in office (or who has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of a substantially similar offense in another state) from serving as a member of a community school governing authority.
-Section 3314.02(E)(2)(b):  Prohibits any person who has not submitted to a criminal records check from serving on the governing authority or engaging in the financial day-to-day management of the community school under contract with the governing authority.
-Section 3314.02(E)(7) Requires each member of a community school governing authority to annually file a disclosure statement setting forth the names of any immediate relatives or business associates employed by the sponsor, a school district, ESC, or vendor that is currently or has contracted with the school within the previous three years.
-Section 3314.035:  Requires each community school to post on the school’s website the name of each member of the school’s governing authority.
-Section 3314.035: Requires each community school to provide, upon request, the name and address of each governing authority member to the school’s sponsor and the ODE.
-Section 3314.032(C):  Requires the governing authority of a community school to adopt an annual budget by October 31st of each year and specifies what should be included in the budget.  Specifies that the provision regarding the school budget is effective with the 2016-2017 school year, and that the budget must be adopted with the assistance of the school’s designated fiscal officer. Requires the ODE to develop a format for annual budgets of community schools, which must require inclusion of the seven types of costs prescribed by the Senate passed version of the bill.
Maximum compensation for school district and educational service center board members
-Section 3313.12(A) and (B) and 3314.02(E)(5): Limits the maximum compensation for members of a school district board of education and educational service center governing board to $5,000 per year for service to the board.
Designated fiscal officer
-Section 3314.011: Requires that a fiscal officer must be employed by the governing authority of the community school, unless the governing authority adopts an annual resolution waiving the requirement and provided that the sponsor also approves the resolution. In the event a resolution is adopted, requires the fiscal officer to annually meet with the governing authority to review the school’s financial status.
-Section 3314.023:  Specifies that, if a community school closes or is permanently closed, the school’s fiscal officer must deliver all financial and enrollment records to the school’s sponsor within 30 days of the school’s closure. If the fiscal officer fails to provide the records in a timely manner, the bill grants the sponsor right of action against the fiscal officer to compel delivery of all financial and enrollment records of the school. Requires any failure to faithfully perform the fiscal officer’s other duties within the right of action, and requires the sponsor, if necessary, to seek recovery of any funds owed as a result of any finding of recovery by the Auditor of State against the fiscal officer.
-Section 3314.011(B)(1):  Requires (rather than permits as under current law) the Auditor of State to require the fiscal officer to execute a bond conditioned on the faithful performance of all official duties required of the fiscal officer.
Employment of independent attorney
-Section 3314.03(A)(30) and 3314.036:  Requires the governing authority to employ an attorney, who must be independent from the school’s sponsor or operator, for any services related to the negotiation of the school’s contract with the sponsor or operator. Also requires that each contract between the sponsor and governing authority must contain a provision requiring that, if the governing authority contracts with an attorney, accountant, or entity specializing in audits, the attorney, accountant, or entity shall be independent from the operator with which the school has contracted.
Internal financial controls
-Section 3314.03(B) Requires that when a community school submits to the sponsor its comprehensive plan for the school, as required by law, the school must also submit copies of all policies and procedures regarding internal financial controls adopted by the governing authority of the school.
Training on public records and open meeting laws
-Section 3314.037:  Requires the members of the governing authority of a community school, the school’s designated fiscal officer, the chief administrative officer, and other administrative employees of the school, and all individuals performing supervisory or administrative services for the school under a contract with the school’s operator, to complete annual training on the Public Records and Open Meetings Laws.
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Department of Education approval of sponsors
-Section 3314.02(B)(2): Requires that any educational service center (ESC) that sponsors a community school must be approved by and enter into an agreement with the ODE regarding the manner in which the entity will conduct its business.
-Section 3314.021 and 3314.027: Exempts grand-fathered ESC sponsors from approval, but requires a grand-fathered sponsor to enter into a written agreement with the ODE prior to entering into any further preliminary agreements or renewing any existing contract to sponsor a community school if that entity receives a sponsor rating below “effective” for two or more consecutive years.
-Section 3314.015(B)(1) Specifies that, on and after July 1, 2017, ODE approval is required to continue to sponsor schools, regardless of whether the sponsor intends to enter into a preliminary agreement or renew an existing contract.
-Section 3314.015(B)(1) Requires all new and renewed agreements between the ODE and a sponsor to address the parameters under which the ODE can intervene or revoke sponsorship authority.  Specifies that each agreement must provide for an annual evaluation process and contain a “stipulation” permitting modification in instances of poor fiscal management and lack of academic progress. Adds that each new and renewed contract must set forth any territorial restrictions and limits on the number of schools that an entity may sponsor.
-Section 3314.015(B)(2) Decreases the length of the initial term of a sponsor’s agreement with the ODE from seven years to five years.
-Section 3314.015(B)(2) Removes the current provision for a continuous one-year extension of a sponsor’s agreement for sponsors that are not in the lowest 20 percent of sponsors statewide or are rated as “exemplary” or “effective.”
-Section 3314.015(B)(2)(a):  Sets the renewal maximum term from 12 to 10 years and adds that the renewal must also be based upon the sponsor’s compliance with all applicable laws and administrative rules.
-Section 3314.015(B)(2)(b): Requires that each agreement between the ODE and a sponsor must specify that entities with an overall rating of “exemplary” for at least two consecutive years must not be subject to the limit on the number of community schools the entity may sponsor or any territorial restrictions on sponsorship, for so long as that entity continues to be rated “exemplary.”
-Section 3314.015(B)(2)(c):  Requires the SBE (rather than the ODE under current law) to adopt rules containing criteria, procedures, and deadlines for processing applications for approval, oversight, and notification of sponsors.
-Section 3314.015(i):  Specifies that the ODE may take actions permitted or required in the sponsor agreement without a hearing if the sponsor is unwilling or unable to fulfill its obligations.
-Section 8:  Permits the ODE to renew or extend a sponsor agreement that expires in June of 2016 if the ODE has not yet issued sponsor ratings by that time.
-Section 3314.025:  Requires the ODE, rather than the SBE, to establish the reporting requirements for finances, and use them as a factor in the sponsor’s evaluation.
-Section 3314.031(A):  Requires the ODE to receive from the governing authority of each community school a copy of the operator contract and post a copy on its website. Requires the ODE to publish the directory of names and identifying information.
-Section 3314.032(C):  Requires the ODE to develop a format for annual budgets of community schools, which must require inclusion of the seven types of costs prescribed by the Senate passed version of the bill.
-Section 3314.50:  Requires the ODE to notify the Auditor of State of the proposed initiation of operations of any community school and to provide the Auditor of State with the certification of the sponsor of the community school of the compliance by the community school with all legal preconditions to the initiation of its operations, including the filing of a bond, deposit of cash guarantee, or written guarantee of payment.
-Section 3314.271:  Requires the ODE to provide guidance to e-schools for developing and delivering the orientation course.
Direct authorization of community schools
-Section 3314.029(A)(1):  Permits the ODE to establish a format and deadlines for direct authorization applications. Permits the State Board of Education to adopt rules by December 31, 2015, for additional criteria necessary for an application for direct authorization to be approved.
-Section 3314.029(A)(2): Eliminates automatic approval guidelines under current law and, instead, permits the ODE to approve or deny an application for direct authorization taking into consideration standards for quality authorization, capacity requirements, financial constraints, and other necessary and appropriate criteria.  Requires the ODE to adopt the criteria for approving an application within 60 days after the bill’s effective date. Requires the ODE to annually publish on its website the criteria it uses to approve or deny an application submitted pursuant to this provision.
-Section 3314.029(A)(5):  Prohibits the ODE from approving a direct authorization application for a community school proposed to be in an alliance municipal school district (Cleveland) unless the ODE has determined that the applicant has requested and received a recommendation from the district’s Transformation Alliance, and uses all criteria otherwise required for direct authorization established under the bill.
Study on direct authorization and sponsor evaluations
-Section 3 (Repeals Section 263.660 of HB64):  Eliminates the requirement for the ODE by July 1, 2016, to submit and present to the House and the Senate Education committees a plan that proposes the expansion of the ODE’s authority to directly authorize community schools, and recommendations for a ratings rubric for evaluating sponsors.
New ODE reporting requirements
-Section 3314.039:  Requires the ODE to compile and publish for each year since the 2011-2012 school year, the following: a single document identifying each community school that has closed during each school year and the reason for the closure of each school;  a single document for each entity that submitted an application to sponsor schools that contains prescribed information; a single document containing a list of all sponsor ratings for each school year for which ratings are available; a list of each sponsor that is prohibited, as of July 1 of each school year, from sponsoring new schools; a list of each sponsor that sponsors or has sponsored a school that is or was subject to closure, and the reason for that closure.
OTHER PROVISIONS
Community school mergers and consolidations
-Section 3314.074(D):  Exempts a community school that merges or consolidates into a single public benefit corporation from the requirement to distribute assets as if it were a permanently closed community school, provided that the governing authority of the community school created by the merger or consolidation enters into a sponsor contract with an entity rated “effective” or higher.
Community schools that primarily serve students with disabilities
-Section 4:  Requires the SBE to make recommendations by June 30, 2016 to the
General Assembly and the Governor regarding performance standards for community
schools in which a majority of the enrolled students are children with disabilities receiving special education and related services and the feasibility of eliminating the exemption from permanent closure for such schools.
Children’s residential centers
-Section 3314.038:  Requires each community school to annually submit to the ODE and Auditor of State a report of each instance under which a student who is enrolled in that community school resides in a children’s residential center.
State report card data for drop out recovery schools
-Section 3302.03(l):  Prohibits the ODE from combining data from any conversion community school that a district sponsors if a majority of the students enrolled in the conversion community school are enrolled in a dropout prevention and recovery program that is operated by the school.  Requires the ODE to include as an addendum to the district’s report card the ratings and performance measures of that community school. Specifies that the addendum include at least the 4-year graduation rate, percentage of 12th grade students scoring proficient on high school state assessments, and annual measurable objectives.
Civil immunity for community school sponsors, officials, and employees
-Section 3314.07:  Expands the types of civil liability from which a sponsor or its officers, directors, or employees are exempt, to include harm allegedly rising from failure of the community school to meet the obligations of any contract or other obligation entered into on behalf of the community school and another party.
Extended deadline for annual reports on academic performance
-Section 6(A):  For the 2014-2015 school year only, requires the ODE’s report regarding the effectiveness of academic programs, operations, and legal compliance and the financial condition of all community schools and on the performance of
community school sponsors to be submitted not later than March 31, 2016.
-Section 6(B): For the 2014-2015 school year only, requires each community school sponsor’s report submitting the results of the evaluation of the academic and fiscal performance and the organization and operation of each community school it sponsors to the ODE and to the parents of students enrolled in that community school to be submitted not later than March 1, 2016.
-Section 6(C):  For the 2014-2015 school year only, requires each community school governing authority’s report describing its activities and progress in meeting the academic goals and performance standards and its financial status to the sponsor and the parents of all students enrolled in the school to be submitted not later than January 31, 2016.
Committee on quality for drop out recovery schools
-Section 5:  Creates a committee to make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding the definition of “quality” for community schools that primarily enroll students between 16 and 22 years of age who dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out of high school due to poor attendance, disciplinary problems, or
suspensions. The committee also must study the efficacy of a completion or competency-based funding structure for those schools. Specifies the membership of the committee. Requires that the committee, which serves under guidance of the ODE, prepare a report of its recommendations and submit the report to the chairpersons of the House and Senate Education committees, not later than six months after the effective date of the bill.
Similar students measure
-Section 3302.037:  Requires the ODE to conduct a study to evaluate the validity and usefulness of using the “similar students measure,” created by the California Charter Schools Association, to calculate student academic progress for each public school (other than dropout recovery community schools), and submit a report to the SBE and General Assembly by December 1, 2016.
Internet- or computer-based community schools (e-schools)
-Section 3314.23:  Requires sponsors to report an e-school’s compliance with standards to the ODE.
-Section 3314.251:  Permits each e-school to provide its students with a location within a 50-mile radius of the student’s residence at which the student may receive counseling, instructional coaching, and testing assistance.
-Section 3314.271: Requires each e-school to keep an accurate record of each individual student’s participation learning opportunities in each day.
-Section 3314.271:  Requires each e-school to offer a student orientation course, and to notify each student of that offering.
-Section 3314.271:  Requires the ODE to provide guidance to e-schools for developing and delivering the orientation course.
-Section 3314.271:  Requires each e-school, on a periodic basis throughout each school year, to communicate with each student’s parent, guardian, or custodian regarding the performance and progress of that student.
-Section 3314.271:  Requires each e-school to provide opportunities for parent-teacher conferences, to document the school’s request for conferences, permits the school to permit the students to participate in the conferences, and permits those conferences to be conducted through electronic means.
-Section 3314.271:  Permits each e-school, at the time of a particular student’s enrollment in that school, to ask the student’s parent or guardian to estimate the length of time the student will attend the school, and requires this information to be included in an aggregate format in the school’s annual report.
Blended Learning 
-Section 3314.19(N):  Requires the sponsor of each community school that operates using the blended learning method to annually provide to the ODE not later than ten business days prior to the opening of the school, assurance that the sponsor has reviewed the following information submitted by the school: an indication of what
blended learning model or models will be used; a description of how student instructional needs will be determined and documented; the method to be used for determining competency, granting credit, and promoting students to a higher grade level; the school’s attendance requirements, including how the school will document participation in learning opportunities; a statement describing how student progress will be monitored; a statement describing how private student data will be protected; a description of the professional development activities that will be
offered to teachers.
-Section 3314.03(A)(28):  Requires that each contract between the sponsor and the governing authority of a community school that operates using the blended learning method to contain the information described above.
Community school bond or guarantee
-Section 3314.50:  Removes all references in current law to “surety bond”, and replaces them with “bond”, which must be posted by the governing authority of a community school prior to initiating operation. Prohibits a community school that is subject to these provisions from maintaining or continuing its operations absent the ongoing provision of a bond, a cash deposit, or a written guarantee.
-Section 3314.50:  Permits, in lieu of the bond or cash payment guarantee required under current law to be paid by a community school for the cost of audits conducted by the Auditor of State, a community school sponsor or operator that has a contract with the school to provide a written guarantee of payment that obligates the sponsor or operator to pay the costs of those audits up to the amount of $50,000.
-Section 3314.50:  Requires the ODE to notify the Auditor of State of the proposed initiation of operations of any community school and to provide the Auditor of State with the certification of the sponsor of the community school of the compliance by the community school with all legal preconditions to the initiation of its operations, including the filing of a bond, deposit of cash guarantee, or written guarantee of
payment.
-Section 3314.50:  Requires, when the Auditor of State conducts an audit of a community school that has closed and is subject to the requirements of this provision, the Auditor of State must certify the costs of the audit to the Treasurer of State, who must assess the bond for the costs of the audit, or pay out of the cash deposit the costs of the audit to reimburse the Auditor of State for audit costs.
Property purchased by operators of community schools
-Section 3314.0210:  Specifies that furniture, computers, software, equipment, or other personal property purchased with state funds that were paid to an operator or management company for use in operation of a community school is property of that school and is not property of the operator or management company.
-Section 3314.0210:  Requires that any property acquired in the manner described above must be distributed in accordance with continuing law whenever a community school closes and ceases its operation as a community school.
Community school employee membership in SERS
-Sections 3309.011, 3309.013, and 3314.10: Generally excludes from School Employees Retirement System (SERS) membership any person initially employed on or after July 1, 2016, by a community school operator that withholds Social Security taxes with the first paycheck after commencing employment; and except as provided below, any person reemployed on or after July 1, 2016, by the same operator that withholds Social Security taxes with the first paycheck after commencing reemployment.
Includes in SERS membership any person reemployed on or after July 1, 2016, by the same operator that withholds Social Security taxes with the first paycheck after commencing reemployment if the person is employed by the same operator at any time between July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, and the date of reemployment is before
July 1, 2017; or the person is employed by the same operator in the 12 months preceding the date the operator initially withholds and pays Social Security taxes and the person had previously only contributed to SERS and the person’s date of reemployment is not more than 12 months after the date the operator initially withholds and pays the taxes.
Community school employee membership in STRS
-Sections 3307.01 and 3314.10:  Includes in State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) membership any person who is employed by a community school operator, the operator withholds and pays Social Security taxes on the person’s behalf, and had contributing service in a community school in Ohio within one year preceding the later of July 1, 2016, or the date on which the operator for the first time withholds and pays the taxes; and a faculty member employed in a community school or a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) school, including any academic administrators.
Generally excludes both of the following from STRS membership, except as provided above, any person employed by a community school operator that withholds and pays Social Security taxes; and any person described above, who terminates employment with an operator and has no contributing service in a community school in Ohio for at least one year from terminating employment.
Student enrollment status
-Section 3317.034:  For purposes of the student counts used for school funding, permits (rather than requires as under current law) a student in any of grades 9-12 to be considered a full-time equivalent student, if the student is enrolled in at least five units of instruction per year.
OHIO NEWS
ODE Needs Major Overhaul:  An October 9, 2015 editorial in The Columbus Dispatch concludes that the Ohio Department of Education “needs a major overhaul” as a result of recent scandals and efforts to withhold information from the public.
The editorial questions how the Ohio Department of Education received a $71 million charter school grant from the U.S. Department of Education when Ohio’s oversight and track record for charter schools is one of the worst in the nation.
Requests by several newspapers last week to the ODE to release a copy of the federal charter school grant application were delayed as ODE said that its lawyers were reviewing the application.  This response led theDispatch to write, “There is no reason why a public grant application should be reviewed by attorneys before being released, but it apparently now is standard procedure at the Education Department to treat all public records as state secrets that are be surrendered only grudgingly and with maximum delay.”
The editorial goes on to say that the 120,000 students who attend charter schools in Ohio have been “served poorly by the Education Department that is supposed to look out for them.”
See “Unearned reward: Ohio Education Department won grant despite poor charter-school record,” Editorial, The Columbus Dispatch, October 9, 2015 at 
More on ODE Charter School Controversy:  The controversy continues.  The Columbus Dispatch reported on October 9, 2015 that State Board of Education (SBE) president Tom Gunlock denied a request from State Auditor David Yost for certain redacted records between Ohio Department of Education (ODE) employees and ODE lawyers.  The documents are part of an annual audit of the Ohio Department of Education, and relate to a revelation about missing data for e-schools and dropout recovery charter schools in the evaluations of charter school sponsors. David Hansen resigned in July 2015 as director of the ODE‘s Office of School Choice Quality Assurances, after the SBE uncovered the discrepancies in the sponsor evaluations, with information provided by an article in The Plain Dealer.
According to the Dispatch article, Auditor Yost requested that the ODE waive attorney-client privilege so that it could review these redacted documents, but Tom Gunlock refused, although he added that the SBE could take-up the request at its October 19-20, 2015 meeting.
See “State school board president withholding some documents from auditor,” by Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, October 9, 2015 at
OCMC Recommends No Changes in Thorough and Efficient Clause:  According to Hannah News Service, the Education, Public Institutions, and Local Government Committee of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC) met on October 8, 2015, and approved a recommendation for no changes in Article VI Section 1 and Article VI, Section 2.  Both sections provide the constitutional basis for Ohio’s system of public schools.  Article VI Section 2 is known as the “thorough and efficient clause”, and includes the requirement that,  “The General Assembly shall make such provisions, by taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state; but no religious or other sect, or sects, shall ever have any exclusive right to, or control of, any part of the school funds of this state.”
Some proposals to change Section 2 were debated by the committee last spring, including a controversial recommendation by committee chair and charter school proponent Chad A. Readler to remove the “thorough and efficient” requirement entirely.
The committee also received testimony from Bill Phillis, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, regarding Article VI Section 3, Public school system, boards of education.  This section states, “Provision shall be made by law for the organization, administration and control of the public school system of the state supported by public funds: provided, that each school district embraced wholly or in part within any city shall have the power by referendum vote to determine for itself the number of members and the organization of the district board of education, and provision shall be made by law for the exercise of this power by such school districts.” (Adopted September 3, 1912)
Mr. Phillis recommended that this section be amended to require the election of all members of the State Board of Education, which was the composition of the State Board before Governor George Voinovich urged the General Assembly to change it in 1994.   Currently the 19 member State Board of Education includes 11 members who are elected, and eight members who are appointed by the governor.  According to his testimony, as reported byHannah News, the hybrid board has become ‘unduly encumbered by partisan politics’ which has strained the relationship between the State Board and local school districts.  Furthermore, ‘The culture of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) seems to have changed from a public school district advocacy and support role to an adversarial role toward school districts.’
The committee decided not to take action on Section 3 at this time, because of its relevance to a recent lawsuit filed by the Youngstown Board of Education to block implementation of changes in the academic distress commission in Youngstown.  The changes were included in HB70 (Brenner-Driehaus), which was signed into law on June 24, 2015.  Among other arguments, the lawsuit alleges that the law violates the right of electors to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote for members of local boards of education, because it authorizes an unelected CEO and unelected commission members to make decisions about the school district, rendering the state constitution meaningless.
See “OCMC Education Panel Again Votes to Retain ‘Thorough and Efficient’”, Hannah News, October 8, 2015 athttp://www.hannah.com/ShowDocument.aspx?HRID=6626
Group Calls for Reforming Charter School Funding:  Cincinnati.com reports on October 6, 2015 that the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network (GCSAN) is calling for changes in how charter schools are funded to stop rerouting local levy taxes to charter schools.  The network of 43 school districts reports that Mason City Schools received $192,577 in state aid for 77 students to attend charter schools, but $432,317 was deducted from the school district’s account and directed to the charter schools.   Cincinnati Public Schools lost about $54 million in redirected funds.
The network supports local control, fewer state and federal mandates, and stable funding for schools.  They find a lack of transparency in how charter schools are funded and how charter schools spend state funds.
See “Cincy schools:  Charters are ‘siphoning’ money,” by Hannah Sparling, Cincinnati.com, October 6, 2015 at
NATIONAL NEWS
U.S. DOE Targets Chronic Absenteeism:  The U.S. Department of Education announced on October 7, 2015 a new initiative called Every Student, Every Day:  A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism to reduce chronic absenteeism at public schools.
Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10 percent of school days in a school year for any reason.  According to the U.S. DOE, about 5-7.5 million students miss 18 or more days of school each year,  which can contribute to lower academic achievement and higher dropout rates among students.
The new initiative will coordinate the work of the U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Justice (DOJ) to address the underlying causes of local chronic absenteeism.  The participating agencies have released a number of resources to support this initiative, including a toolkit to support coordinated community action and technical assistance, and are sponsoring an online summit on November 12, 2015 that will feature experts on reducing absenteeism in schools.
See “Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism”, U.S. DOE at
Teacher Evaluation Lawsuits:  Education Week published last week a chart highlighting the number of lawsuits that have been filed in federal and state courts against state teacher evaluation practices.   A total of 14 lawsuits have been filed since 2011 in seven states based on a number of legal arguments.  Some lawsuits allege that the evaluations violate state constitutions, because the state failed to follow the proper legislative procedures to approve the law.  Other lawsuits allege that the evaluations violate a teacher’s right for equal protection under the law, because the evaluations are based on flawed student data, flawed value-added data, flawed value-added methodology, or lack transparency. One lawsuit in Nevada is based on the failure of the school districts to follow due process when terminating teachers who have tenure.
See “Teacher Evaluation Heads to the Courts, “ Education Week, October 5, 2015 at
REPORTS
Policies that Support Effective Principals:  A new report published by The Wallace Foundation provides guidance about how states can develop effective policies to train and support principals.
According to the report, principals strongly shape the conditions for learning in a school.   Principal leadership is “second only to teaching among school-related influences on student success,” and its impact is “greatest in schools with the greatest needs.”
The report asks state policymakers to consider if principal development is a state priority; examine policy levers that support effective principals; and assess contextual issues, such as educational governance, the diversity of school districts, state and local capacity to implement new policies, and mandates that already affect principals.
Some of the policy levers include principal leadership standards in state law and regulation; active statewide efforts to recruit and train principals; approved principal preparation programs; licensing requirements for principals; support for professional development; and principal evaluations.
According to the report, “…every state faces a unique blend of educational, political and financial circumstances” and therefore, each state’s approach to developing policies to support effective principals will be different.
See “Developing Excellent School Principals to Advance Teaching and Learning: Considerations for State Policy,” by Paul Manna, The Wallace Foundation, September 2015 at http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/state-policy/Pages/Developing-Excellent-School-Principals.aspx
Study Finds Students Under Stress: A study of students in private, independent high schools found that, “students experienced high levels of chronic stress, particularly in relation to academic performance and the college admissions process. While students described a range of effective, adaptive coping strategies, they also commonly internalized these serious pressures and turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with chronic stress, although not typically at problematic levels.”
The study used qualitative and quantitative data collected from interviews with faculty and staff at a number of highly competitive private schools, followed by an anonymous quantitative survey with 128 11th grade students.  The study process then included an examination of the results with a subset of students, and a review by an expert panel to reflect on and interpret study findings.
According to the results, 49 percent of students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis, and 31 percent reported feeling somewhat stresses.  Females reported higher levels of stress than males.
Friends constituted the greatest resource of social support (70 percent); family members 51 percent; teachers 24 percent; and school counselors 18 percent.
See “A multi-method exploratory study of stress, coping, and substance use among high school youth in private schools” by Noelle R. Leonard, Marya V. Gwadz, Amanda Ritchie, Jessica L. Linick, Charles M. Cleland, Luther Elliott, and Michele Grethel, Frontiers in Psychology, July 23, 2015 athttp://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01028/full
FYI ARTS
The 50th Anniversary of NEA and NEH:  President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will tape a PBS special, A Celebration of American Creativity:  In Performance at the White House on October 14, 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legislation that created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law on September 29, 1965.  The act led to the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as separate, independent agencies of the federal government to invest in and support our nation’s cultural heritage.  Since that time the NEH and NEA have supported artists, scholars, museums, performing arts centers, and public radio and television to ensure that the American public has access to the rich culture, artworks, history, literature, and heritage of the United States.  Joining the president to celebrate the occasion will be Carol Burnett, Buddy Guy, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Audra McDonald, Keb’ Mo’, Smokey Robinson, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, Brian Stokes Mitchell, James Taylor, Usher, and others.  The performance will air on PBS in January 2016.
Theatre Intervention Supports Students With Autism:  The Vanderbilt University Medical Center reported on September 30, 2015 that a study of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who participated in a 10-week, 40-hour, theatre-based program showed significant differences in social ability compared to a group of children with autism who did not participate.  The study was published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
The study examined the effects of peer-mediated, theatre-based interventions on thirty 8-14 year old students with ASD.  The students were randomly assigned to the treatment group (17) and a control group (13) and assessed after treatment.  The students who were treated showed improvement in the areas of social ability, communication, group play with toys in the company of peers, immediate memory of faces, and delayed memory of faces.  At a two-month follow-up, the study found that group effects were detected in communication.
The theatre based interventions involved aspects of socializing, such as observing, perceiving, interpreting, and expressing thoughts, feelings, and ideas, and role-playing and improvisation.  Participants were also paired with typically developing peer actors from the University School of Nashville.
See “Theatre program benefits children with autism: study”
See “Improvement in Social Competence Using a Randomized Trial of a Theatre Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder,”
Blythe A. Corbett , Alexandra P. Key, Lydia Qualls, Stephanie Fecteau, Cassandra Newsom, Catherine Coke, Paul Yoder, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, September 29, 2015 athttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-015-2600-9

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 theOhio 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, The John F. Kennedy Center, 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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