STATUS UPDATE: PROPOSED STATE BIENNIAL BUDGET (HB49)
The Ohio Senate passed its version of the proposed FY18-19 biennial budget last week with an amendment approving alternate pathways to graduation for the Class of 2018. The budget bill is now in the hands of the conference committee where the House and Senate will work out differences between their two versions of the bill. The Legislative Services Commission (LSC) comparison document of both the House and Senate versions of the budget bill can be reviewed here.
Members of the conference committee include Reps. Scott Ryan (R-Newark), Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) and Sens. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) and Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood). The conference committee is expected to report out the legislation this week, and then the bill will head to Governor Kasich for consideration.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: $65.4 billion Ohio budget bill clears Senate: See where the money goes
“The Ohio Senate on Wednesday passed a $65.4 billion two-year state budget after making more than 150 changes to the bill passed by the House, setting the stage for a week of behind-the-scenes maneuvers and compromises between the two chambers. The Senate voted 24 to 8, largely along party lines, to approve the two-year budget.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer: HS graduation requirements eased under Senate proposal
“The state Senate is looking to stave off a possible high school graduation “crisis” by allowing students to graduate even with poor scores on state tests. The Senate Finance Committee included exemptions from test score requirements in its new version of the state budget bill today. Those must still pass the full Senate and also be accepted by the House, then gain approval from Gov. John Kasich, before becoming official.”
Dayton Daily News: Ohio Senate OK’s softer graduation rules for Class of 2018
“The Ohio Senate on Wednesday approved alternate pathways to graduation for Class of 2018 students who don’t pass state tests, as part of the state budget bill. That sets up a conference committee debate in the coming week with members of the Ohio House, who did not include any such provision in their version of the budget.”
Associated Press: Ohio’s official budget gap exceeds $1B over 2 years
“Final estimates place Ohio’s projected budget shortfall at more than $1 billion. Legislative budget analysts told the opening day of a conference committee working to meet a June 30 budget deadline that tax revenues are expected to lag projections by $1.02 billion over the two-year budget cycle.”
Passed by the Senate
The legislation provides a fix for the Delaware Area Career Center levy that was placed on the ballot in only one of the counties in which the district has territory. The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.
Passed by the House
This bill creates academic standards in computer science and allows students to substitute computer science for a math or science course to fulfill graduation requirements.
House Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee
HB58 Brenner/Slaby, reported out of committee
This bill requires schools to include instruction in cursive handwriting.
HB166 & SB3
These bills would revise the laws governing the state’s workforce development system to better prepare Ohioans to enter in-demand jobs, as well as designate the first week of May as In-Demand Jobs Week. The bills were amended to allow for-profit teacher training programs to operate in Ohio.
House Education and Career Readiness Committee
SB8 Gardner/Terhar, reported out of committee
This bill requires the School Facilities Commission to create a program to assist districts in purchasing technology, including improvements in security measures.
A substitute version of HB21 was accepted and the LSC analysis of the changes can be viewed here. This bill outlines the process of verification for community school enrollments.
This legislation would eliminate the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program and Pilot Project Scholarship Program and instead create an income-based program available to students whose family income is at or below 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The committee adopted a substitute measure to cap enrollment to 60 thousand students and return unused money back to the state. The LSC analysis of the changes can be viewed here.
Sponsor testimony was given on HB220 which deals with the use of funds by community and nonpublic schools. Rep. David Leland said this legislation “will improve charter school transparency and accountability by permitting the state auditor to track all taxpayer money received by private, for-profit schools.”
The committee accepted an amendment to the bill’s intention of addressing academic content standards and assessments. Changes included prohibiting the use of Common Core State Standards, allowing parents to request their student not be retained if the third-grade reading guarantee wasn’t met and restores language requiring end-of-course examinations in American history and government, among others.
House Finance Committee
HB102 Brenner, Sponsor testimony
This bill would replace locally levied school district property taxes with a statewide property tax. Representative Andrew Brenner explained that with this piece of legislation “100% of the funding would follow the student, yet leaves local school districts intact.” With his plan schools would be funded by one statewide property tax rate of 20 mills and dollars generated by an increase in the sales tax from 5.75% to 7.35%.
Innovation Ohio has released a detailed analysis of the current voucher system and its impact on students. The group’s report details the history of the state’s voucher programs and highlights how much has been spent on the initiative. Some of the findings include:
- Vouchers now affect children in 83% of Ohio’s school districts
- Local taxpayers subsidize vouchers with $105 million in locally raised money to make up for districts losing state funding to Ohio’s voucher programs
- Students who take vouchers perform worse than their public school peers on state assessments
- Some of the highest performing school districts in the state lose money and students to vouchers, turning the original intent of the program on its head
OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The Ohio Department of Education is seeking feedback on proposed changes to Ohio’s Learning Standards in science, social studies and financial literacy. In addition, the survey asks for feedback on newly proposed high school anatomy and physiology standards. ODE states that this survey is part of an overall effort to fine tune all of Ohio’s Learning Standards based on teachers’ experience with them during the past few years. The survey will be available for response until July 18.
NEWS AROUND OHIO
Columbus Dispatch: Lowering farmland values means homeowners will pay higher taxes
“A plan by legislative Republicans to give a tax break to farmers would mean higher property taxes for Ohio homeowners and less revenues for schools. According to an analysis of proposed farmland value changes in the new two-year state budget, Ohio homeowners face more than $60 million in unvoted property tax increases, while schools could face a loss of $58 million in state and local tax revenue […]”
Columbus Dispatch: Sen. works to convince that Franklin Co. schools doing fine
“Most Franklin County districts fare worse under the Senate school-funding plan, compared to what the House passed in April as part of the two-year state budget. But Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, sent a direct message to the three senators representing most of Franklin County: Things aren’t so bad.”
Columbus Dispatch: ECOT laying off staff so school can repay $60 million
“Facing the need to repay $60.4 million from the 2015-16 school year and potentially millions more from last school year, ECOT says it will lay off 350 workers within weeks, about a quarter of its workforce.”
Steubenville Herald-Star: Summer programs get big response
“The newly implemented summer feeding program at Indian Creek Schools has attracted a huge draw, which has surprised and delighted officials. During Thursday’s regular school board session, Assistant Superintendent John Belt reported that more than 2,000 students had taken advantage of the Seamless Summer Option program within the first nine days.”
The US Department of Education released the first progress report of the Regulatory Reform Task Force last week. The Task Force was created in response to the February presidential executive order requiring federal agencies to evaluate existing regulations for potential repeal, replacement or modification. The Department is seeking public input concerning regulations and policy guidance that they recommend for change or removal. In her statement, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated, “I look forward to the Task Force’s continued work and to hearing from the public as we work to prioritize the needs of students over unnecessary and burdensome requirements.”
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 (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).
This update is written weekly by Andrea Kruse, OAAE’s Research and Information Coordinator.