Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
March 6, 2017
132nd GENERAL ASSEMBLY
This Week at the Statehouse: The House and Senate will hold hearings and sessions this week.
The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Cupp, will meet on March 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 116. The committee will receive testimony on HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget from the Coalition for Fiscal Fairness in Ohio, Sycamore City School District – Strongsville City Schools – Public Finance Resources, Inc., and St. the Bernard Elmwood Place City School District.
The House Education and Career Readiness Committee, chaired by Representative Brenner, will meet on March 7, 2017 at 4:00 PM, in hearing room 121. The committee will receive testimony on two bills:
- HB47 (Boccieri) Students in Military would enact the “Students to Soldiers Support Act (S3A)” regarding the participation of students who are serving in the uniformed services in extracurricular activities at public and nonpublic schools and public and private colleges.
- HB80 (LaTourette) School Food-Summer Intervention would require school districts to allow approved summer food service program sponsors to use school facilities to provide food service for summer intervention services under certain conditions.
The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, chaired by Representative Duffey, will meet on March 8, 2017 at 11:00 AM in hearing room 115 to receive presentations from the Legislative Service Commission on higher education workforce development.
The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Cupp, will meet on March 8, 2017 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 116. The committee will receive testimony on HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget from the Ohio Education Association, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the Ohio 8, the Ohio Alliance for High Quality Education, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, the Ohio Association for School Business Officials, and the Ohio Education Policy Institute.
The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Cupp, will also meet on March 9, 2017 at 9:30 AM in hearing room 112. The committee will receive testimony on HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget from School Choice Ohio, Agudath Israel of America (Ohio), the Catholic Conference of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Independent Schools.
The Joint Education Oversight Committee JEOC, chaired by Representative Cupp, will meet on March 9, 2017 at 1:30 PM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on Ohio’s ESSA plan.
Those interested in testifying should contact Haley Phillippi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 466-9082.
Please e-mail testimony to Haley Phillippi at email@example.com 24 hours prior to the meeting to ensure members have time to review materials and prepare questions.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on March 8, 2017 at 3:15 PM in the South Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on SB34 (Manning) School Years, which would require, with exceptions, public and chartered nonpublic schools to open for instruction after Labor Day.
Representative Johnson Resigns: Representative Greta Johnson (35th House District-Akron) has submitted her resignation to the Ohio House affective at the end of March. Representative Johnson will become the deputy director at the Department of Law, Insurance and Risk Management in the office of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro. She has served in the Ohio House since 2015.
The House Democratic Caucus is charged with overseeing the process for selecting her replacement.
House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, chaired by Representative Duffey, received sponsor testimony on March 1, 2017 on HB58 (Brenner, Slaby), cursive writing. The bill would require that students receive instruction in cursive handwriting in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Peggy Lehner, received testimony on SB39 (Schiavoni) Community School Operations, on March 1, 2017. The bill would strengthen accountability provisions for e-schools, which are charter schools that provide instruction online. The bill is similar to one that Senator Schiavoni introduced in the 131st General Assembly (SB298), and includes new provisions that were discussed during hearings last year.
The bill would apply to e-schools that are not under the supervision of an elected board of education. These schools would be required to provide, rather than offer, 920 hours of instruction to students, and keep accurate records of student participation in learning activities. A licensed teacher would be required to certify student participation, and report that information to the Ohio Department of Education monthly.
The bill would provide an exemption, under extenuating circumstances, of the requirement that a student be automatically withdrawn for being absent for 105 hours of learning opportunities, without a legitimate excuse. The exemption would apply to a high-performing student enrolled in an e-school.
SB39 also includes a provision similar to HB87 (Roegner) Community School Public Moneys. The provision would require the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to distribute to school districts public moneys recovered from charter schools as a result of an audit by the state or money recovered through other means.
To increase transparency, the bill requires e-school governing boards to stream online their meetings so that parents whose children are enrolled in the school, but live in other parts of the state, can monitor the school’s decisions.
The e-school would also be required to evaluate whether a student with declining achievement should stay enrolled at an online school
The bill also creates a bipartisan commission to study the actual costs of running an e-school.
Finally, the bill requires e-schools to include in any ad bought with public money a description of the school’s most recent state Report Card grade.
The Joint Education Oversight Committee (JOEC): The Joint Education Oversight Committee, chaired by Representative Cupp, met on March 2, 2017 to receive comments and recommendations about Ohio’s draft consolidated plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Superintendents, teachers, and others presented testimony, including Robert Hlasko, Superintendent of the Cory-Rawson Local School District; Adrian Allison, Superintendent of the Canton City School District and co-chair of The Ohio 8 Coalition; J. Chris Pfister, Superintendent of the Waynesfield-Goshen Local School District; Krista Taylor, an Intervention Specialist in the Cincinnati Public Schools; and Nichelle Harris, director of the Ohio After School Network.
Overall those testifying took issue with the claim by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) that the suggestions made in regional meetings across Ohio last fall were incorporated into the ESSA draft plan. Some noted that Ohio has an opportunity to reboot education policy in the state as a result of the flexibility in the new federal law, and should take advantage of that opportunity.
Another recommendation would require that the ODE include in the plan a statement that Ohio will eliminate state tests that aren’t required by the federal law, and eliminate parts of the current system for evaluating Ohio’s teachers and principals. Currently Ohio administers seven standardized state tests that are not required under federal law.
Submitting the plan to the U.S. DOE in September, 2017 was also suggested, so that there is time to develop a vision for helping Ohio students succeed. The ODE is proposing to submit the plan on April 3, 2017.
The state Report Card was also criticized, because it relies so much on student test results to evaluate school and district performance, when schools must meet so many other needs of students to be successful.
As noted above under “This Week at the Statehouse”, the Joint Education Oversight Committee will hold another hearing on the ESSA plan on Thursday, March 9, 2017.
More Comments About the ESSA Draft: The Cleveland-Heights Coalition for Public Education in Cuyahoga County, also weighed in on Ohio’s draft ESSA plan. The Heights Coalition recommended the following:
- Reduce reliance on standardized testing. Standardized testing measures “the health of our society more than the quality of schools.”
- Unbuckle teacher evaluations from students’ standardized test scores. “Tying teachers’ evaluations to test scores unfairly punishes teachers who work with children in poverty. There are far more effective ways to evaluate teachers including well established peer assistance and review programs.”
- Reject the use of a single summative score for ranking schools and school districts. “While ESSA requires Ohio to inform the public about the state of education in our schools and school districts, it does not require combining all accountability measures into a single score. Dangerously, a single measure based on test scores penalizes schools and school districts that serve our state’s neediest children.”
- Add an opportunity index as the fourth ESSA measure of School Quality and School District Success. “To ensure access for all children to a well-rounded education, we propose that Ohio incorporate an Opportunity Index that affirms the schools and school districts that serve larger percentages of children living in poverty, children in their county’s social service system, children who qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and English Language Learners.”
Contact the Heights Coalition for Public Education, Susie Kaeser, Convener, firstname.lastname@example.org, 216-371-9201.
HB98 (Duffey, Boggs) Career Information for Students: Specifies that employers in a community may have opportunities to present information to students about jobs and careers. Allows boards of education to adopt policies to regulate employer visits to schools.
HB102 (Brenner) School Funding Reform: Representative Brenner introduced last week his comprehensive reform plan to completely revamp Ohio’s school funding system, tax structure, and voucher programs at the same time.
The proposed plan would realign Ohio’s school funding system with a concept to allow state education dollars to “follow” the student to traditional, charter, private, home, or other types of school.
The plan would also challenge local school districts by taking away their control over revenue raised locally, although property taxes would still be levied, but the money would go to the state.
The following is a summary of the bill’s provisions:
- Replaces locally levied school district property taxes with a statewide property tax and requires recipients of certain tax exemptions to reimburse the state for such levy revenue lost due to those exemptions
- Increases the state sales and use tax rates and allocates additional revenue to state education purposes
- Repeals school district income taxes
- Requires the Treasurer of State to issue general obligation bonds to refund certain school district debt obligations
- Creates a new school funding system in which the state pays a specified amount per student, and each student may use that amount to attend the public or chartered non-public school, without the requirement of a local contribution
- Eliminates the School Facilities Commission
- Eliminates the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program, Pilot Project Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship Program, and Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program
- Eliminates interdistrict open enrollment
- Requires educational service centers to transport students on a county-wide basis
- Permits school districts to enter into a memoranda of understanding for one district to manage another.
HJR3 (Brenner) School District Obligations Refund: Conditionally authorizes the issuance of state obligations to refund pending school district obligations; conditionally waives, beginning in 2020, the requirement that schools levy property taxes to pay debt charges on their obligations; and conditionally authorizes a treasury fund that is restricted exclusively to educational purposes.
SB82 (Williams, Lehner) School Absences: Requires a public school to place a telephone call within one hour of the start of the school day to a parent whose child is absent without legitimate excuse.
SB85 (Huffman) Opportunity Scholarship Program Creation: Eliminates the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program and Pilot Project Scholarship Program and creates the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
SJR3 (LaRose) State Constitutional Amendments: Proposes to amend Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 9 of Article XI that are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2021; amend, for the purpose of adopting new section numbers as indicated in parentheses, the versions of Sections 1(2), 2(3), 3(5), 4(6), 5(7), 6(8), 7(9), 8(10), 9(11), and 10(12) of Article XI that are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2021; and enact new Sections 1 and 4 of Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to revise the redistricting process for congressional districts.
According to The Akron Beacon Journal, the bill would require the special commission that draws state legislative districts to draw the lines for Congress, if lawmakers were are unable to redraw congressional district lines by 2021 in a way that eliminates partisanship.
See “Congressional redistricting plan up for debate in Ohio,” by Doug Livingston, The Akron Beacon Journal, March 3, 2017 at http://www.ohio.com/news/local/congressional-redistricting-plan-open-for-debate-1.750818
HB49 (R. SMITH) OPERATING BUDGET
House Finance Higher Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Perales, received testimony last week about several parts of the executive budget, HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget, including testimony from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Citizens for the Arts, and the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
Ohio Arts Council (OAC): Donna Collins, executive director of the Ohio Arts Council, presented testimony about the OAC-related provisions included in HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget on February 28, 2017.
According to the testimony, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), has worked over the past two years to fulfill its promises to award grants in all 88 counties; reach more students; connect older Ohioans with the arts; and increase arts opportunities for under-served communities. The OAC has also instituted a number of cost-savings efforts to streamline operations.
The executive budget allocates nearly $29.6 million for the arts over the biennium, which is the same amount as the last biennium, and represents 0.04 percent of the total General Revenue Fund (GRF).
The OAC has also secured a $2 million grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for seven consecutive years.
And, the OAC continues efforts to control costs while expanding services. According to the testimony, “Since FY 2008, the agency’s staff has been reduced by more than half, even as the need demonstrated by arts constituents increases. As a result, the OAC has lengthened its grant cycles and streamlined procedures, reducing administrative burdens on grantees and the agency itself. Over the last four fiscal years, the OAC has reduced by 4% the payroll portion of its budget, all while recognizing the parameters of the state’s bargaining agreement.”
Director Collins also described a study prepared by Bowling Green State University researchers, who found that the state’s arts sector created more than 231,000 jobs; has contributed $32 billion to the state economy; and $3.4 billion in tax revenues at all levels of government.
The arts and cultural industries in Ohio have helped create clusters of economic activity in the state; helped retain skilled workers; spurred partnerships that then lead to economic development; created entrepreneurial jobs; and supported other sectors of the state economy, including tourism.
According to the testimony, the mission of the Ohio Arts Council is to “…strengthen Ohio’s communities culturally, educationally, and economically” by adopting strategies to “invest, innovate, engage and lead,” and create a sound infrastructure to advocate and support the arts in Ohio.
Ohio Citizens for the Arts: Also testifying in support of the Ohio Arts Council’s budget was Ross McGregor, a member of the Board of Directors for Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA), and a former member of the Ohio House. Accompanying him were OCA executive director Bill Behrendt and Legislative Counsel Bill Blair.
Ohio Citizens for the Arts is a statewide grassroots organization that was founded in 1976 to advocate for the arts in Ohio, and increase public support and funding for the arts.
Ohio Citizens for the Arts is requesting a $4 million increase in the General Revenue Fund for the OAC ($34 million) in the operating budget. According to the testimony, this amount is just $2 million more than the amount the OAC received in FY00-01.
This increase is based on the needs of the arts and cultural industries in Ohio, and will enable the OAC to continue to serve as a driver of Ohio’s economy, and play a “crucial role in the education of young Ohioans.”
The House Finance Higher Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Perales, received testimony over two days (March 1 & 2, 2017) from John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The testimony focused on some of the changes included in the executive budget pertaining to the College Credit Plus (CCP) program, the cost of college/university textbooks, the proposed cap on special fees, and an increase in the State Share of Instruction.
According to the testimony, one of the goals of Governor Kasich’s executive budget proposal is to increase the educational attainment of Ohioans to meet workforce needs and maintain a healthy economy. The administration believes that 65 percent of Ohioans need to earn a post-secondary degree by 2025. In order to reach this goal, the Chancellor recommends lowering the cost of higher education for all of Ohio’s students, and expanding the options for adults who have some college coursework,to earn a degree.
Chancellor Carey said that the higher education sector has been working together through the Governor’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education to find ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. As a result, the cost for higher education in Ohio is coming closer to the national average.
One of the more controversial recommendations that has been included in the executive budget proposal is a provision that requires, beginning in the 2018-2019 academic school year, public institutions of higher education to include the cost of textbooks ($300) as part of an undergraduate student’s tuition.
While some institutions of higher education in the state are opposing this provision in the executive budget, Chancellor Carey said in his testimony, that he hopes that it will become law, and motivate colleges and universities in the state to work together as they have done in other areas, to create a better way to fund textbooks. The average cost of textbooks per year is $600 a student.
The executive budget would also require that special fees be included in the annual tuition cap, to address a situation in which some colleges and universities were increasing the special fees to compensate for the tuition cap.
The subcommittee also received an update about the proposed changes included in the executive budget for College Credit Plus program. The program replaced the Secondary Enrollment Options Program in the last biennium, but its implementation raised concerns from stakeholders, who proposed some changes that are included in the executive budget.
The program was created to provide high school students with the opportunity to earn college and high school credits at the same time, to reduce the cost of a college education.
The executive budget also includes an increase in the State Share of Instruction (SSI) by one percent in each fiscal year, and an increase of 2 percent over the biennium for the Ohio College Opportunity Grants, which support higher education costs for Ohioans with financial need.
House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee: The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Cupp, continued to receive testimony last week about the executive budget, HB49 (R. Smith) Operating Budget for education.
Tim Keen, director of the Office of Budget and Management reviewed the key points of the executive budget for education on March 2, 2017.
According to the testimony, “The purpose of the school funding formula is to efficiently allocate state resources to school districts based on current local capacity and the current number of students.” The proposed changes in the state aid formula in HB49 would allow the formula to work, eventually reducing reliance on the guarantee and the cap.
Director Keen noted that the funding cap prevents the formula from being fully funded, which could eventually lead to another school funding lawsuit. For example, there are several school districts in which enrollments are increasing, or property values are decreasing, but they can’t receive the full formula amount because of the cap. The cap is currently 7.5 percent of the state formula amount, but would decrease to 5 percent if the executive budget is adopted.
The guarantee also needs to be eliminated. Director Keen said that the executive budget takes steps to eliminate the guarantee by making small reductions of less than $100,000 in state aid to school districts based on their lower enrollments. Of the 340 school districts that would be affected by this provision, 71 would receive cuts of $5,000 or less.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria repeated the testimony that he presented to the House Finance Committee on February 7, 2017.
The Ohio Department of Education is requesting a 20 percent increase in funding to support school choice programs and the increased oversight requirements included in 131-HB2 (Dovilla, Roegner).
Funds are also included to increase participation in early childhood education programs to provide support for four year olds.
And, if the executive budget is approved by the House and Senate, the ODE is committed to implementing the proposed “externships” and adding business representatives to boards of education included in HB49.
The externships provision would require teachers who are renewing their teaching licenses to complete a professional development plan that includes a business-related experience.
Jason Phillips, staff supervisor for the education budget at the Legislative Service Commission, provided a rather technical and detailed explanation of the components of the state’s proposed school funding formula. He also included in his presentation a comparison of the components of the current formula and the House proposed school funding formula included in 131-HB64 (R. Smith) the operating budget for FY16-17.
He reported that even though the per-pupil amount is not increased (currently $6,000) the State Share Index increases from 49.6 percent to 50 percent, which will increase state aid for some school districts.
The State Share Index is applied to the Opportunity Grant and other components of the school funding formula. It accounts for both “capacity” and the “ability” of school districts to raise revenue through property taxes. It is based on a three-year average property value and adjusts for income for certain districts, and is calculated once for both years of the biennium. The purpose of the index is to direct more state funds to districts with lower wealth, and, according to the testimony, it is doing its job, even though there are districts losing funding in both fiscal years.
The amount of state aid that school districts would receive through the formula is based mainly on property valuation and income of the residents of the school district.
While property values in urban school districts are decreasing, property values in some rural school districts are increasing due to the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV), which adjusts property values based on how farmland is being used. The value of agricultural land with CAUV designation, and the value of land being used for mining shale has been increasing. This means that the State Share Index for some rural school districts is decreasing their state aid. Currently the Senate Ways and Means Committee is debating SB36 (Hite) Agricultural Computation to adjust the CAUV.
According to the testimony, if the valuation of property was reduced due to adjustments in the CAUV, then SSI would increase in rural school districts.
More than 300 school districts will receive some relief from decreases in state support due to temporary transitional aid (funding guarantee) in FY18 and FY19. The base year for the guarantee was shifted from FY15 to FY17, which, according to the testimony, accounts for the increase.
President Urges Action on Vouchers: President Trump said in his address to Congress on February 28, 2017 that, “Education is the civil rights issue of our time.” He advocated for Congress to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth to “…choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”
He also introduced Denisha Merriweather, who was in the audience. She is now completing a master’s degree in college, but when she was younger, Denisha attended a public school and failed two grades. She was able to receive a scholarship from the Step Up for Students program in Florida to attend a private school, which helped her to improve her grades, graduate, and eventually attend college.
Step Up for Students is a nonprofit organization that distributes scholarships to students to attend private secular and religious schools in Florida. The funds are raised from individuals and corporations that receive a tax credit for donating to the scholarship fund.
In response to the President’s reference to Denisha’s story, education reporters are speculating that he might make his $20 billion promise to expand school choice programs a reality by creating a national program based on giving corporations who donate to private school scholarship programs a federal tax credit as part of the tax code overhaul. This way a bill could pass in the Senate with only a majority vote.
According to Andrew Ujifusa at Education Week, the Step Up for Students program is one of 17 state tax-credit scholarships programs in the nation. The courts have found, depending on state laws, that these programs don’t violate the separation of church and state principle, because the funds are passed through a nonprofit organization to private secular and religious schools, rather than coming directly from the government.
Opponents of the tax-credit scholarship plan believe that passing public funds through a nonprofit organization to be used to fund religious schools doesn’t change the fact that the money was originally public, and should be used for public purposes, in a transparent way, with public oversight and accountability.
See “Trump invited a student to his joint address. Her story says a lot about his views on education reform,” by Emma Brown, The Washington Post, February 28, 2017
See “Trump’s School Choice Plan: Religious Fundamentalism At Taxpayer Expense,” by Jeff Bryant, Education Opportunity Network, March 2, 2017 at
See “Donald Trump’s Congress Speech,” February 28, 2017 at http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/28/politics/donald-trump-speech-transcript-full-text/
See “Two Possible Paths for a Tax-Credit School Choice Plan in Congress” by
Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, March 2, 2017 at
More School Districts Invoicing for Charter School Payments: Elida School District Treasurer Joel Parker writes in The Lima News that the Elida School Board recently approved a resolution to invoice the Ohio Department of Education for $3.07 million to cover local funding diverted to charter schools.
Elida is following the actions of several other Ohio school districts, that are invoicing charter schools for funds deducted from their state accounts for students attending charter schools.
In most cases the amount of state aid a district receives is less than the per pupil amount, because state aid is adjusted for district wealth. However, charter schools receive the full per pupil amount. When the full amount is deducted from the school district’s state account, it leaves a gap in school district revenue, which school districts make-up by using local tax dollars.
According to the article, the current system of funding charter schools is a form of taxation without representation, because local voters have no say in how charter schools operate or spend public dollars. “Public schools have a great fiduciary responsibility to make sure tax dollars are spent with the proper purpose. When the local dollars flow elsewhere, the school and taxpayers have no control over how it is used.”
The article concludes by recommending that, there should be a discussion about making all schools that receive public taxpayer money accountable, rather than the discussion about school choice.
See “Taxation with representation,” by Joel Parker, Guest Column, Lima News, February 25, 2017 at http://limaohio.com/opinion/columns/231900/joel-parker-taxation-without-representation
The Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation will celebrate Arts Day and the winners of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts on May 17, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio.
The celebration starts with a Kickoff Event at the Vern Riffe Center for Government & the Arts in Studio Two at 9:00 AM. This will be followed by legislative visits with members of the Ohio House and Senate.
The Governor’s Awards for the Arts Luncheon starts at 12:00 PM in the Columbus Athenaeum. Winners of the awards will receive an original work of art by textile artist and 2016 Governor’s Award winner Janice Lessman-Moss.
This year the recipients of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts include the following individuals and organizations:
- Arts Administration, Raymond Bobgan – Cleveland
- Arts Education, Jill McCutcheon – Dayton
- Arts Education, Students Motivated by the Arts (SMARTS)-Youngstown
- Arts Patron, Puffin Foundation West, LTD.- Columbus
- Business Support of the Arts (Large), Promedica – Toledo
- Business Support of the Arts (Small), Peoples Bank – Marietta
- Community Development and Participation, Linda Stone – Columbus
- Individual Arts, C. F. Payne – Lebanon
- The Irma Lazarus Award, Procter & Gamble – Cincinnati
To register for Arts Day and the luncheon go to http://www.ohiocitizensforthearts.org/upcoming-events
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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).