Arts on Line Education Update February 6, 2017

Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
Joan Platz
February 6, 2017 


This Week at the Statehouse:  The House and Senate will hold committee meetings this week, and the Senate has scheduled a session.

The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Smith, will meet on February 7, 8, and 9, 2017 to receive testimony about the education, Medicaid, and tax provisions in the proposed FY18-19 state operating budget, and the Transportation and Public Safety Budget (HB26 – McColley).  Governor Kasich introduced the executive biennial budget proposal on January 30, 2017 at a press conference in Columbus, but the budget bill, which is generally hundreds of pages long, has not been introduced yet.

Information about the House hearings, including testimony and video, is available at

Bills Introduced: House and Senate lawmakers were busy last week introducing the first bills of the 132nd Ohio General Assembly.

The bills cover topics such as drug trafficking and possession, environmental protections, workforce development, human trafficking, income tax deductions, school infrastructure and technology, elections, the death penalty, minimum wages and overtime, college and university requirements, the local government fund, the courts, banking law, casinos, and more.

Of note for education stakeholders are several education related bills, including SB3 (Beagle, Balderson) – Workforce Development, which would allow school districts to offer workforce development programs and offer certificates of qualification for employment.

SB5 (Hottinger, Eklund) – Increasing Income Tax Deduction, would increase the maximum income tax deduction for contributions to college savings accounts and disability expense savings accounts for each beneficiary, and creates the Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability.

SB8 (Gardner, Terhar) – School Infrastructure and Technology, would require the Ohio School Facilities Commission to establish a program assisting school districts in purchasing technology and making physical alterations to improve technology infrastructure and school safety and security.  Senator Gardner has introduced this bill before.

And in the Ohio House, HB21 (Hambley) – Community School Enrollment Verification, would revise the process used to verify charter school enrollment.  The bill would require the governing authority of community schools, rather than school district boards of education, to verify the home school districts of students attending charter schools, and notify the Ohio Department of Education and the residential school district about that verification.

House Committee Members Announced: Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger announced last week the members of the House standing committees for 2017.

The Education and Career Readiness Committee will meet on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM in Room 121. Representative Andy Brenner (R) will be chair, and Representative Marilyn Slaby (R) will serve as vice chair.

The Republican committee members include Representatives Jim Butler, Bob Cupp, Teresa Gavarone, Steve Hambley, Michael Henne, Ron Hood, Steve Huffman, Kyle Koehler, Nathan Manning, Ryan Smith, and Dick Stein

The Democratic members include Representatives Teresa Fedor, Catherine Ingram, Greta Johnson, John Patterson, Dan Ramos, and Kent Smith

The House Finance Committee will meet in Room 313. Representative Ryan Smith (R) will serve as chair and Representative Scott Ryan (R) as vice chair.

The Republican members of the committee include Representatives Marlene Anielski, Steven Arndt, Louis Blessing, Jim Butler, Bob Cupp, Mike Duffey, Keith Faber, Anne Gonzales, Doug Green, Sarah LaTourette, Scott Lipps, Rob McColley, Tom Patton, Rick Perales, Bill Reineke, Mark Romanchuk, Gary Scherer, Kirk Schuring, Robert Sprague, and Andy Thompson

The Democratic members of the committee include Representatives Jack Cera, Nickie Antonio, Brigid Kelly, Adam Miller, Michael O’Brien, John Patterson, Dan Ramos, Alicia Reece, John Rogers, and Emilia Sykes

The Higher Education Subcommittee will be chaired by Representative Rick Perales (R).  Other members include Representatives Marlene Anielski (R), Mike Duffey (R), Dan Ramos (D), and Nickie Antonio (D).

The Primary & Secondary Education Subcommittee will be chaired by Representative Bob Cupp (R), and also include Representatives Louis Blessing (R), Bill Reineke (R), Adam Miller (D), and John Patterson (D).

The Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee will be chaired by Representative Mike Duffey (R) and Representative Niraj Antani (R) will serve as vice chair.

The Republican members include Representatives Jay Edwards, Teresa Gavarone, Wes Goodman, Rick Perales, Craig Riedel, Mark Romanchuk, and Paul Zeltwanger.

The Democratic members include Representatives Martin Sweeney, Kathleen Clyde, Catherine Ingram, and Kent Smith.

The House Ways and Means Committee will meet on Tuesdays at 9:00 AM in Room 121.  Representative Tim Schaffer (R) will serve as chair, and Representative Gary Scherer (R) as vice chair.

The Republican members include Representatives John Becker, Louis Blessing, Wes Goodman, Doug Green, Steve Hambley, Michael Henne, Larry Householder, Derek Merrin, Bill Reineke, Wes Retherford, Craig Riedel, and Scott Ryan.

The Democratic members include Representatives John Rogers, John E. Barnes, Jr., Janine Boyd, Jack Cera, Teresa Fedor, Dan Ramos, and Emilia Sykes

Senate Announced Committees and Memberships: Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof released last week the Senate standing committees and membership lists:

The Senate Education Committee will continue to be chaired by Senator Peggy Lehner and Senator Matt Huffman will service as vice chair.

The Republican members of the committee include Senators Bill Coley, Randy Gardner, Cliff Hite, Gayle Manning, Louis Terhar, and Steve Wilson.

The Democratic members include Senators Vernon Sykes, Cecil Thomas, and Kenny Yuko.

The Senate Finance Committee will be chaired by Senator Scott Oelslager (R) and Senator Gayle Manning (R) will serve as vice chair.

The Republican members of the committee include Senators Kevin Bacon, Troy Balderson, Bill Beagle, Dave Burke, Bill Coley, Matt Dolan, John Eklund, and Peggy Lehner.

The Democratic members of the committee include Senators Mike Skindell, Vernon Sykes, and Charleta Tavares.

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education will include Senators Randy Gardner (R) chair, Kevin Bacon (R), Matt Dolan (R), Stephanie Kunze (R), Steve Wilson (R), Sandra WilliamBis (D), and Cecil Thomas (D).

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education will include Senators Cliff Hite (R) chair, Troy Balderson (R), Matt Huffman (R), Peggy Lehner (R), Gayle Manning (R), Vern Sykes (D), and Kenny Yuko (D).


The state’s operating budget is introduced in the Ohio House every two years, and must be approved by the Ohio House and Senate and signed into law by the end of this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2017.  The operating budget is the largest spending plan for the state, but lawmakers will also be considering for approval budgets for Ohio Department of Transportation – Public Safety (HB26 –  McColley) and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Governor Kasich’s final executive budget for FY18-19 includes some sales tax and severance tax provisions, which lawmakers excluded from previous executive budgets, and more cuts in the state income tax.

The governor held a news conference at the Riffe Center to introduce the budget on January 30, 2017, but an actual bill is not expected until this week.  The governor provided opening remarks, saying the budget is based on priorities that will make state government “leaner, more efficient and more responsive to the needs of Ohioans,” and supports the following:

-fiscal discipline

-a job-friendly business climate

-world-class preparation for careers and college

-technology for the 21st Century

-a leadership role in the transportation industry

-health care transformation

-the fight against drug abuse

-replacing the tax on managed care organizations (MCO)

-a tax system that supports job creators

All Funds Budget:  The proposed FY18 budget includes appropriations of $71.5 billion in All Funds, which is an increase of 4.4 percent over FY17 levels, and $72.8 billion in FY19, which is an increase of 1.8 percent over FY18 levels for the All Funds budget.

General Revenue Fund Budget:  The General Revenue Fund (GRF) budget for FY18 includes appropriations of $33.1 billion, which is a 5.6 percent decrease from FY17 estimates, and $33.8 billion in FY19, which is a 2.2 percent increase from FY18 levels.  For the biennium, the GRF totals $66.9 billion.

New Policies:  In terms of policies, the proposed biennial budget would provide a 17 percent cut in the state’s income tax ($3.1 billion over two years), and reduce the number of income tax brackets from 9 to 5.  The top income bracket would be under five percent.

The budget also expands tax exemptions for those earning less than $80,000 a year, and would eliminate state income tax payments for some 360,000 individuals.

Some taxes would increase to offset the income tax loss.  The state’s sales tax would increase to 6.25 percent and the tax would be applied to more items, including cable TV, elective cosmetic surgery, interior design and decorating, travel packages and tours, and lobbying.

Taxes would increase on cigarettes, vaping products, and alcoholic beverages, and the severance tax on oil and gas production from fracking would also increase.  Republican lawmakers have turned down Governor Kasich’s previous budget requests to increase the fracking severance tax or expand the sales tax base.

Ohio Department of Education: The budget proposal also includes some K-12 initiatives and increases education spending by $280 million over two years.

The General Revenue Fund for K-12 education would total $8.05 billion in FY18 and $8.19 billion in FY19, compared to $7.90 billion in FY17.

The per pupil amount would stay at $6000 in both years, and increases in state funding for school districts, referred to as the gain cap, would be capped at 5 percent each year, rather than the current level of 7.5 percent.

In an effort to eliminate the funding guarantee (transitional aid), the governor is proposing a new policy to reduce funding for school districts that have lost student enrollment between 2011-2016.

School districts that have experienced an over five percent decline in enrollment since FY2011 would lose one percent in funding for every percentage point drop in enrollment, capped at five percent. Statewide K-12 enrollment has dropped 2.9 percent between FY11-16.

The Office of Budget and Management published last Friday spreadsheets showing proposed funding levels for school districts under the new policies included in the governor’s budget proposal.

About 346 school districts (out of a total 610 school districts) would receive less state aid than in FY17, while 256 districts would receive increases in aid in FY18.  Eight districts would be flat funded in FY18.

In FY19, 309 districts would receive flat funding; 46 would receive decreases in state aid, and 255 would receive increases.

According to the OBM simulation document, “These reductions are due to the combination of the many factors that make up the calculation of the foundation funding formula such as changes in school districts’ student population, property valuation, income, as well as the new transitional aid proposal.”

However, the OBM also summarized the status of state aid distribution to school districts as a result of the new proposed policy to reduce funding for school districts with declining enrollment over five percent between 2011-16.  In FY18 about 322 school districts would lose state aid, while in FY19 233 school districts would lose state aid, based on declining enrollment.

Here are some of the other provisions that would affect K-12 education:

  • Removes some provisions from the school funding guarantee, referred to as transitional aid, including bonuses for third grade reading proficiency and graduation, but moves funding for capacity and transportation under the five percent funding cap.
  • Reduces the minimum state share for transportation funding to 37 percent in FY18 and 25 percent in FY19.  Currently the state minimum is 50 percent and directs state aid to school districts regardless of their transportation needs or capacity.  According to the OBM, by reducing the minimum state share, the state can direct additional transportation funds to school districts that need more assistance.  State school transportation funding will drop, however, to $529 million over the biennium.
  • Strengthens ties between teachers and the business community through business externships for teachers renewing licenses or continuing their education.
  • Requires superintendents to appoint three nonvoting business owners to boards of education.
  • Allocates $30 million for the Straight A Fund grant program, $15 million in both fiscal years.
  • Allocates $20 million for the Community Connectors mentoring grants program.
  • Recognizes Western Governor’s University in Utah as an Ohio institution of higher education to provide online instruction.
  • Allows community colleges the ability to award a four-year bachelor’s degree.
  • Designates libraries as continuing learning centers to provide workforce resources, but reduces state funding for libraries.
  • Provides credit flexibility for students for work experience.
  • Freezes university tuition and fees for the biennium.
  • Caps student costs for textbooks at institutions of higher education at $300 a year
  • Ohio Arts Council (ART): The governor’s biennial budget proposal includes no increases in the GRF for the ART budget.

Proposed GRF funding for FY18 is $14.8 million and $14.8 million in FY19.

There is a slight increase of 1.7 percent in the ART All Funds budget for FY18, up to $16.6 million, but no increase in FY19, again $16.6 million.

Department of Higher Education: The GRF includes $2.6 billion in FY18, or a 1.6 percent increase from FY17, for the Department of Higher Education. Funding for FY19 is $2.6 billion, or a 1.7 increase from FY18.

All Funds includes $2.7 billion, or a 1.0 percent increase from FY17, and in FY19 $2.7 billion, or a 1.8 percent increase, from FY18.

Budget Testimony:  Tim Keen, Director of the Office of Budget and Management, testified about the proposed biennial budget last week before the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, and said that the budget is based on conservative revenue estimates and some budget uncertainties.  For example, the state must address the loss in tax revenue from Medicaid managed care (MCO) companies.

Even though tax revenues are down, Director Keen also assured the committee that the FY17 budget will be balanced by June 30, 2017, partly as a result of agency and department underspending.

More details about the budget provisions for K-12 education will be available after the bill is introduced.


  • Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R) likes the provisions that reduce the income tax brackets and make the tax system less complicated in Governor Kasich’s proposed budget, but does not support “tax shifting”, or increasing and expanding the state’s other taxes to replace revenue lost from the cuts in the income tax.  See “Top Ohio GOP senator questions tax cut, increases in Kasich budget,” by Jackie Borchardt, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 31, 2017 at
  • Democratic members of the Senate issued a statement on January 30, 2017 in response to Governor Kasich’s proposed budget.  The Democratic Minority Leader, Senator Joe Schiavoni, stated that, “The Governor’s budget does not contain many surprises because we’ve seen this before. Once again Governor Kasich has shortchanged our schools and local communities and shifted more of the tax burden onto working families. All Ohioans deserve a fair shot, not just a wealthy few.” See
  • Damon Asbury, director of legislative services at the Ohio School Boards Association, told The Columbus Dispatch that, “It’s going to very, very difficult for more than half of our school districts.”  Most of the school districts that will receive cuts “…don’t have capacity to raise local revenues.”  He went on to say that increases in the budget for K-12 education will be tough, because of the lack of state revenues.  See “More than half of Ohio school districts would get cut or flat-funded under Kasich budget,” by Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, February 4, 2017 at
  • The Akron Beacon Journal concludes that some of the governor’s budget requests will be IOA — “ignored on arrival,” because so many Republican leaders in the Ohio House and Senate oppose the “tax shifting” changes. The ABJ suggests that a portion of the $3 billion tax cut should be used to “rebalance” state priorities to support public works and services to meet the needs of communities. See “Out of balance, or how the governor’s budget plan misses the point,” by The Beacon Journal editorial board, The Akron Beacon Journal, January 31, 2017 at
  • Brent Larkin at The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that the real reason for Governor Kasich’s “tight” biennial budget proposal, “…. is the $5 billion in tax cuts enacted under Kasich’s previous budgets.”

He goes on to write that “Kasich’s latest budget continues the administration’s six-year history of punishing local governments, which have seen state aid drop nearly 40 percent in 10 years.” See “Ohio’s children pay the price for Gov. Kasich’s tax cuts,” by Brent Larkin, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 5, 2017 at


Full ESSA Plan for Ohio Available: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released on February 2, 2017 the full draft of Ohio’s plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The full plan provides more details than the overview document that was released in January 2017.  The full plan also includes the technical submission, entitled State Template for the Consolidated State Plan Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and appendices.

The public can comment on Ohio’s ESSA plan through March 6, 2017. Ohio’s ESSA Plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in April 2017.


ODE Will Fund 21st Century Learning Center Grants: The ODE announced last month that it would delay awarding new grants from the federal 21st Century Learning Center Grant program due to the implementation of its ESSA plan.

But, as a result of stakeholder protests, the ODE has changed its policy, announcing last week that it would accept new grant applications starting in May 2017.

The 21st Century grants are awarded to schools by the state through a competitive grant process, and are used to support after school programs for economically disadvantaged students.  Currently 276 grants have been awarded to schools in Ohio, and 134 grants will expire in June 30, 2017.


Senate Committee Approves DeVos: The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) voted in favor of President Trump’s nominee Betsey DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education on January 31, 2017, but the vote was a close 12-11. All Democrats voted against the nominee.

Even though Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted for the nominee in the HELP committee, they have stated that they will not vote for her in the full Senate.  This would lead to a tie vote, 50 to 50, and Vice President Pence would need to vote to break the tie.

A Senate vote is expected this week.

See “Senate advanced DeVos’ nomination, setting her up for final vote,” by Jordain Carney, The Hill, February 3, 2017 at

House Moves to Overturn ESSA Rules: Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have filed resolutions under the Congressional Review Act to overturn two rules developed by the Obama Administration to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The rules pertain to accountability and teacher preparation.

The rules provide guidance and more detail about how to implement the law.  According to Education Week, states are currently finalizing their ESSA plans to submit to the U.S. DOE for approval based on these rules.  It is not certain what will happen if both rules are completely eliminated, but the U.S. DOE will have few ways to oversee implementation of the law without the rules.



Study Finds that Voucher Laws Discriminate: School Matters Indiana recently published an article entitled “Study confirms voucher programs discriminate” based on the results of a study conducted by Suzanne Eckes at Indiana University, and co-authors Julie Mead at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Jessica Ulm, a doctoral student at Indiana University.

The study, which is entitled “Dollars to Discriminate:  The (Un)intended Consequences of School Vouchers,” examined state voucher laws, and found that publicly funded school voucher programs “….discriminate on the basis of religion, disability status, sexual orientation and possibly other factors.”

The study examined state laws authorizing 25 voucher and education savings account programs in 15 states and Washington, D.C. In most cases researchers found that lawmakers neglected to guarantee in the voucher laws equal access for all students accepting a state voucher to attend private schools.

According to the researchers, states have an obligation to ensure that any public benefit created by the government must be available to all students equally, without discriminating against students based on religion, disability status, sexual orientation, etc.

However, the article states that the researchers found that voucher laws in Indiana prohibit discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, but not based on religion, disability, or sexual orientation.  Nearly all voucher schools in Indiana are Catholic, Lutheran, or Evangelical, and in some cases, families are expected to “embrace” the beliefs of the school, including requiring students to attend religious classes, even if the family has different beliefs.  Some of the voucher schools specify on their websites that students with disabilities might not be accepted, or accommodations for students with disabilities are limited.

The study concludes that discrimination should not be allowed if the schools are accepting public money.

See “Study confirms voucher programs discriminate,” by Steve Hinnefeld, School Matters K-12 Education in Indiana, January 30, 2017 at

The study is published in the Peabody Journal of Education, and is available for purchase.  This particular issue of the journal includes several other research studies about vouchers.

See “Dollars to Discriminate:  The (Un)intended Consequences of School Vouchers,” by Suzanne E. Eckes, Julie Mead, and Jessica Ulm, Peabody Journal of Education, originally posted June 29, 2016 at


Americans for the Arts Statement on Immigration Ban:  Americans for the Arts released on February 2, 2017 a statement “in opposition to policies that limit the free exchange of art, artists, and ideas based on nationality, faith, race, age, or ability…”

The AFA “Statement on Immigration and Refugee Ban” is in response to the executive order issued by President Trump on January 27, 2017.  The order denies entrance into the U.S. by immigrant and non-immigrant visitors from seven Muslin-majority countries for 90 days; suspends entry of all refugees for 120 days, and bars Syria refugees indefinitely.

According to the statement, the order means, “that those people lawfully here—such as artists from the seven countries who travel to perform, exhibit, and speak internationally—may be unable to return to the U.S. should they leave the country, even if they hold a visa that permits international travel. This will have a harmful effect on scheduled performing arts programming and will interrupt the creation and scholarship of work in progress, such as museum exhibitions.”

The President’s executive order was temporarily blocked on February 3, 2017 by U.S. District Judge James Robart, in response to a lawsuit filed by Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  The Trump administration intends to challenge the temporary restraining order.

See the AFA statement at

Black History Month Celebrated Through the Arts: The Ohio Statehouse is celebrating Black History Month throughout February with an art exhibition and special performances on Tuesdays at noon.  The programs are free and open to the public.

The Rosa Park’s Children’s Art Exhibit, called “The Power of One,” is located in the Map Room on the lower level of the Statehouse.  The exhibition is sponsored by COTA and features the art work of students in grades kindergarten through three exploring the theme:  what would you do to change American and make it a better place for all people?

Performers from “We’ve Known Rivers,” a group comprised of artists from OAAE’s Artists in Schools program, will present live performances in the Statehouse Atrium featuring a prominent figure in African American history, including,

  • Remembering Miss Rosa, by Annette Jefferson on February 7, 2017
  • The Poet and His Song: Paul Laurence Dunbar, by Anthony Gibbs on February 14, 2017
  • Professor Henry “Box” Brown, by Rory Rennick on February 21, 2017, and
  • George Washington Williams, by Anthony Gibbs on February 28, 2017

**The programs will be streamed live by the Ohio Channel, and individuals and organizations can schedule a group visit to attend a performance by contacting Katie Montgomery at 614/728-3726 or


Arts On Line keeps 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 (, Ohio Art Education Association (, Ohio Educational Theatre Association (; OhioDance (, and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (


About OAAE

It is the mission of the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education to ensure that the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. We believe that: * All children in school must have quality arts education provided by licensed arts educators * All Ohioans have the right to expect quality arts education * All arts programs must have adequate resources * All arts and cultural organizations and artists have a critical role in arts education Learn more at
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