Legislative Watch

OEA Legislative Watch is the association’s newsletter covering the legislation and policies that affect public education employees.

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2019 | 133rd Ohio General Assembly

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The Ohio Education Association (OEA) welcomes the progress made by state lawmakers on some fronts in the state budget. However, OEA is disappointed that more could not have been achieved on important issues, notably the repeal of the failed state takeover of troubled school districts which was overwhelmingly supported by the House in its adoption of HB 154.  To view a summary of HB 166, click here.

OEA President Scott DiMauro noted that a moratorium on new Academic Distress Commissions in the budget deal is a tacit admission of what educators, parents, students and an increasing number of legislators know to be true – that state takeovers don’t serve the interests of the students they were intended to help.

“Sadly, the legislature leaves the communities of Youngstown, Lorain and East Cleveland languishing under a failing law until they can figure out how to give districts struggling with high levels of poverty the support they need,” said DiMauro. “As we continue the fight to enact HB 154 to repeal state takeovers and restore local control, I am deeply disappointed in the decision to allow CEOs to continue wreaking havoc on our schools.”

On the plus side, OEA commends Governor DeWine for his line-item veto of a provision that would have eliminated the requirement that teachers and paraprofessionals be properly certified or licensed by the Ohio Department of Education. OEA opposed this provision because it would have removed an important protection for students and the education profession. OEA is committed to serving students with highly-prepared educators.

OEA is pleased to see the expansion of school breakfast programs in high-poverty districts and welcomes the significant new funding for wrap-around services in those districts that help students get ready to learn.

OEA also applauds lawmakers for taking a small but important step toward fixing Ohio’s misleading report card system by adjusting the value-added grading scale to give school districts more credit for the progress they have made with students.

OEA is encouraged by requirements that charter e-schools disclose more information about their operations. However, OEA is disappointed with budget provisions that dial-back on accountability for charter sponsors and drop-out prevention charter schools.

Lastly, OEA believes strongly that the expansion of voucher programs in the budget is unnecessary. “Ohio has no shortage of vouchers to pay private school tuition on the taxpayer’s dime,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “It is time to end the unnecessary and costly expansion of vouchers and focus on meeting the needs of all students in Ohio’s public schools.”

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Earlier this week, the Senate Finance Committee amended House Bill 166, the state budget bill for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. The Senate version of the bill removes the OEA-supported language that repeals the failed state takeover law, restores local control and teacher collective bargaining rights, and holds all school districts accountable for locally developed school improvement teams and student-centered improvement plans in F-rated school buildings. Additionally, the Senate version of the bill included new high school graduation requirements that do not meet the needs of Ohio students.

On Thursday, the bill passed the Ohio Senate with a vote of 33-0. Prior to passage, Senator Teresa Fedor (D- Toledo) offered two OEA-supported amendments to remove the Senate expansion of EdChoice vouchers and to remove changes to educator licensure. Both amendments were tabled by a vote of 21-12.

HB 166 will now head to a conference committee to address the differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions. The House and Senate conference committee members are: Senators Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), Dave Burke (R-Marysville) and Sean O’Brien (D-Cortland) and Representatives Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), Jim Butler (R-Dayton) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire).

The General Assembly must pass the completed budget by the end of June. Below is a brief summary of some of the changes the Senate made to the bill in different education policy areas.

Academic Distress Commissions:  OEA is urging the HB 166 Conference Committee to adopt the House-passed Academic Distress Commission (ADC) language that was removed by the Senate. An alternate ADC plan being pushed by some in the Senate, and opposed by OEA, was not included in the bill. The House-passed ADC language is the same as language in HB 154, a stand-alone bill that passed in the House by 83-12 earlier this year. The House-passed ADC language would repeal the disastrous state takeover law, restore local control to elected school boards, return teacher collective bargaining rights, and hold school districts accountable by requiring school improvement teams and plans in F-rated school buildings. This will be OEA’s top priority in conference committee.

Graduation:  The Senate-passed bill includes new long-term graduation requirements based on a plan put forward by Ohio Excels (a group representing business interests).  This is an item of difference for conference committee as the House-passed budget did not include changes to graduation requirements.

Under the proposal, the new requirements would begin with the class of 2023.  A student would need to achieve a competency score on two end-of-course exams (Algebra and ELA II) and earn two “graduation seals” in addition to earning requisite course credits in order to graduate.  Two tests (Geometry and ELA I) would be eliminated.  If after two attempts a student did not score high enough on the tests, a student may use an alternative demonstration of competency that is limited to 1) college-level course completion through College Credit Plus; 2) a career technical education pathway; or 3) enlisting in the military.  These are not viable options for all students.

OEA opposes this plan as currently written as has an overly rigid reliance on high-stakes testing.  Students should be able to demonstrate what they know in ways other than a standardized test.  OEA will be advocating for improvements to this language or that the issue to be considered in separate legislation.

Licensure: Eliminates the requirement that teachers providing instruction in core subject areas be “properly certified or licensed” to teach in the subject areas and grade levels in which they provide instruction. Also, eliminates the requirement that paraprofessionals employed by a program supported with federal Title I funds be “properly certified” in order to provide academic support in core subject areas. A Senate floor amendment was offered to remove these provisions from the budget bill, but the amendment was not accepted. Under continuing law, teachers and paraprofessionals must have a license, permit, or certification to provide instruction, but under the bill they would not be required to be “properly certified” in any specific subject areas or grade levels.

For the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, allows an individual who holds a valid educator license in any of grades 7 through 12 to teach a computer science course if, prior to teaching the course, the individual completes a professional development program approved by the district superintendent or school principal that provides content knowledge specific to the course the individual will teach.

Report Cards: Modifies the grading scale used to determine letter grades assigned for the report card’s value-added progress dimension, which computes “gain index” values based on the number of standard errors above or below the mean on a statistical measure of academic growth. This may result in higher value-added progress grades for some districts.

On Tuesday, June 11, 2019, the Senate Finance Committee adopted a substitute version of House Bill 166, the state budget bill. The Senate substitute bill retains House-passed language on the repeal of Academic Distress Commissions (HB 154). However, the Senate is expected to make changes to this language in an omnibus amendment next week.

The substitute bill also does not currently include provisions related to high school graduation. A committee and Senate floor vote are expected next week. The House and Senate will then have a conference committee to work out the differences between the versions of the bill passed by each chamber. By Ohio law, the final version of the budget is to be completed by June 30, 2019.

A summary of the policy changes of the substitute bill is available by clicking here.

On Tuesday, June 4, 2019 OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro testified in support of House Bill 239, the Testing Reduction Act.

The bill, jointly sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Erica Crawley (D- Columbus), would reduce state-required testing by eliminating four high school end-of-course exams and set up local work groups in each district to make recommendations on reducing the testing load on students.

Click here to read OEA’s testimony.

In a lengthy committee hearing on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, the Ohio Senate Education Committee heard from dozens of witnesses regarding the OEA-supported HB 154 Academic Distress Commission (ADC) provisions included in the House-passed budget bill (HB 166).

House Bill 154, which would repeal the HB 70 ADC state takeovers and restore local control, was also recently passed as a stand-alone bill by the Ohio House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support (83-12).

OEA President Becky Higgins provided joint testimony with Youngstown Education Association (YEA) President Larry Ellis and Lorain Education Association (LEA) President Jay Pickering. Youngstown and Lorain were the first two school districts subjected to the HB 70 state takeover law. Becky, Larry and Jay asked the Senate Education Committee to keep the HB 154 Academic Distress Commission (ADC) language in the state budget bill.

Other educators testifying as proponents of keeping the HB 154 ADC language in the budget bill included Canton Professional Educators Association President Paul Palomba; North College Hill Education Association President Deborah Amend; Lorain teachers Julie Garcia, Sandra Peloquin, Karen Rossi and Alexis Hayden; Youngstown teachers Paula Valentini, Jennifer Kluchar, Leesa Boyer, Tina Banks, and Shannon Sefcik.

There is widespread agreement – among educators, local officials and state lawmakers of both parties – that the law (HB 70) mandating the state takeover of troubled school districts is flawed and needs to be replaced. OEA urges the Ohio Senate to keep the language in the House-passed budget that is part of HB 154 and that would do away with state-mandated Academic Distress Commissions.

OEA recognizes that other approaches are being offered to address the problems that plague troubled schools in our state.

Whatever the eventual agreed-upon plan looks like, we believe strongly that it should include a role for educators who well understand the needs of their students and what it will take to improve student performance. In short, we don’t need state mandates. It’s time to restore local control of our schools.

OEA looks forward working with Senator Lehner and members of the Senate Education Committee on a viable alternative to the current fatally-flawed state takeover law

OEA Testifies on Graduation Proposal
OEA believes that any proposal for long-term graduation requirements must include a viable, attainable and meaningful path to graduation that does not rely on high-stakes testing.

2019 Educator Lobby Day – June 12th
Join your colleagues Wednesday, June 12th at 9 a.m., at the OEA Headquarters’ Media Center, 225 E. Broad Street, in Columbus, for a short briefing about current legislative issues prior to an opportunity to meet with state lawmakers.

Click here to download the full newsletter.

OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro testified before the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Primary & Secondary Education on Thursday, May 16.

He presented OEA’s views on school funding, academic distress commissions, graduation requirements, teacher minimum salary, charter schools and other policy issues. You can read more about OEA’s positions in OEA’s testimony that was given before the subcommittee.

On Wednesday, May 8, the Ohio House Finance Committee made further changes to the state budget and then voted, 32-0, to send the measure (Substitute HB 166) to the full House.

The omnibus amendment approved by the Committee contained more than 110 changes.

Some of the provisions in the amendment are supported by OEA, such as the insertion of HB 154 that would repeal the state takeover law and restore local control. Additionally, for the first time in almost 20 years, the minimum teacher salary for a new teacher with a bachelor’s degree would be raised from $20,000 to $30,000.

After House floor deliberations on Thursday, May 9, the Ohio House passed the bill by a vote of 85-9. New district funding spreadsheets detailing that House-passed version are currently unavailable. The bill is now pending in the Ohio Senate Finance subcommittees for consideration.

Details of the major changes in the House substitute bill are outlined below.

  • Includes OEA-supported HB 154 that repeals the state takeover law and restores local control in the budget bill.
  • Changes the minimum salary for teachers with bachelor’s degrees to $30,000 rather than $20,000 as under current law.
  • Prohibits school districts, municipalities or other forms of local government from proposing tax issues for an August special election. The bill has a narrow exception for school districts if the purpose of a tax is to prevent triggering a declaration of fiscal emergency.
  • Specifies that the changes to school and district report card grades do not impact the sanctions or penalties of EdChoice eligibility or the definition of “challenged school district” in which new start-up charter schools may be located.
  • Requires the Department of Education, in consultation with the Joint Education Oversight Committee, to complete studies on special education, gifted funding, incentive programs for rural districts serving gifted children, economically disadvantaged students, preschool, English learners and Educational Service Centers by December 31, 2020. Recommendations from these studies shall be the basis of legislation to be enacted by the General Assembly in order to take effect for FY 2022 or FY 2023.
  • Allows for the drop off of students who are being transported to nonpublic or community schools to be up to 30 minutes prior to start time and pickup within 30 minutes after dismissal.
  • Requires ODE to study the cost of charter school operations and the transportation of community school and nonpublic school students by December 31, 2020.
  • Removes positive changes from the substitute bill on E-school attendance and student absence policies.
  • Allows a school district to propose a tax levy for school safety and security and give some of the revenue to chartered nonpublic schools located in the district to be used for that purpose.
  • Requires that the resolution and ballot language proposing the levy specify the portion of the proceeds to be allocated to chartered nonpublic schools. Specifies that the chartered nonpublic school portion be divided among all such schools located within the territory of the school district based on the number of resident students enrolled in each chartered nonpublic school.
  • Permits in the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years, community colleges, state community colleges, and technical colleges to charge $5 per credit hour over what the institution charged in the 2018-2019 academic year for in-state undergraduate instructional and general fees, instead of limiting the increase of instructional and general fees to 2% as under previous versions of the bill.
  • Includes additional tax cuts that call for a 6.6 percent reduction from current rates for all tax brackets. Retains the elimination of the two lowest tax brackets. That means that citizens earning less than $22,500 would pay no state income taxes.

OEA members are greatly concerned about the amount of testing that Ohio’s students must endure. Excessive testing has led to a loss of instructional time in the classroom and lost educational opportunities for students. OEA has been urging state lawmakers to do more to address this issue and, with the introduction of new legislation this week, it’s clear that legislators are listening.

On Wednesday, May 8, 2019 the Testing Reduction Act (HB 239) was introduced in the Ohio House. The bill, sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Erica Crawley (D- Columbus), is bipartisan legislation that makes important changes to Ohio law to reduce state-required testing and bring together teachers, parents and administrators in each school district to take steps to further reduce the testing load on students.

OEA strongly supports this legislation.

Specifically, HB 239 would make the following changes:

  • Reduce state-mandated standardized tests to the federal minimums by eliminating four high school end-of-course exams. (Geometry, ELA I, American History, American Government)
  • Require school districts to convene a local work group made up of teachers, parents and administrators to examine district-required testing and make recommendations for ways to reduce the amount of time spent by students on testing.
  • Alter the existing provision that allows local boards of education to pass a resolution to exceed testing limits by requiring such action be taken on an annual basis and reported to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
  • Require that ODE issue an annual report on the time spent on state- and district-required testing in Ohio’s schools.
  • Provide that the state continues to offer a paid administration of the ACT/SAT for high school juniors, but student participation would be voluntary.

OEA will continue to keep members updated on this important bill.

On Thursday, May 2, the House Finance Committee adopted a substitute version of HB 166, the state budget bill for Fiscal Years (FY) 2020 and 2021. OEA appreciates that the House proposal provides an additional $125 million over the biennium to support disadvantaged students as proposed by Governor DeWine.

While the Fair School Funding Plan was not included in the substitute bill, OEA remains hopeful that work will continue to improve Ohio’s school funding formula that currently falls short of meeting the needs of students and the school districts that educate them.

OEA also applauds the removal of the Governor’s proposals for modifications to the Academic Distress Commissions. The provisions would have resulted in a vast and rapid expansion of state power over school districts. It is anticipated that HB 154, the bill that repeals the state takeover law and restores local control, that was recently passed by the House will be included in the budget omnibus amendment next week. Additionally, OEA supports the removal of language that would have changed the definition of full-time equivalent students who are eligible for state subsidies at community colleges. OEA believes this change would have negatively impacted approximately six community colleges.

While OEA believes some matters have been improved, we are seeking additional changes to the budget bill. OEA Government Relations staff is currently reviewing the language in the bill and will provide additional details as they become available. HB 166 is expected to have additional amendments and a vote next week.

Click here to view or download a synopsis of the major changes to substitute HB166.

May 1, 2019, the Ohio House of Representatives voted 83-12 in favor of HB 154 (Jones-R/J.Miller-D), which would repeal state-mandated Academic Distress Commissions and restore control of local school districts to elected school boards.

The current state takeover law (HB 70 – 131st General Assembly) provides no citizen oversight through elected school boards, no voice for classroom teachers and has been bad for our kids.

“The OEA has always believed that silencing the voices of educators and local officials in determining the best ways to improve student performance was ill-conceived,” said OEA President Becky Higgins. “Educators want to be able to advocate for their students and we are very pleased that House lawmakers have taken the first step toward replacing the current law. We look forward to working with Senate members to complete this important task.”

State government has already taken away local control from Youngstown, Lorain and East Cleveland schools. In the next two years, if current law is not changed, state government could take away local control from Dayton, Columbus, Canton, Mansfield, Lima, Toledo, Ashtabula, Euclid, North College Hill and Painesville schools.

HB 154, which has strong bi-partisan support, also includes accountability measures that require school districts that have an F-rated building to set up school improvement teams.

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

This week, OEA submitted written opposition testimony to a bill (HB 90) sponsored by Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) that would require the Ohio Department of Education, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Health, to create an instructional program “regarding the humanity of the unborn child.”

The bill was recently amended to require every school district to implement this program as part of the science curriculum in grades 3-8 and in health curriculum for grades 9-12.

HB 90 circumvents Ohio’s process for adopting curriculum standards and would impose an instructional program that is based on a particular perspective of morality. Instead of the approach taken by the bill, OEA supports the creation of comprehensive health education standards that are developed by health educators and professionals.

You can read OEA’s full testimony by clicking here.

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

  • OEA Testifies on K-12 Portion of Budget Bill
  • OEA Testifies against Academic Distress Commission language in state budget bill (HB 166)
  • House Bill 154 (Rep. Joe Miller-D/Rep. Don Jones-R)
  • House Bill 127 (Rep. Kent Smith-D/Rep. Steve Hambley-R)

OEA Testifies on K-12 Portion of Budget Bill

OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro testified before House Finance Subcommittee on Primary & Secondary Education on Tuesday to present OEA’s views on school funding, academic distress commissions, and proposed policy changes regarding charter schools that have been offered by the Governor. The hearing was part of the deliberations on House Bill 166 that contains Governor DeWine’s budget proposals.

You can read more about our positions in OEA’s testimony that was given before the subcommittee.

Long-Awaited Bipartisan School Funding Plan Released

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This week, Representatives Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and John Patterson (D-Ashtabula) released the Fair School Funding Plan that would provide an additional $400 million in FY 2020 for local public school districts. The plan represents more than 15 months of work by legislators, local school leaders, and education finance experts to craft meaningful alternatives to the current way in which Ohio funds its schools.

Under the plan, no school district would receive less funding than in FY 2019.

OEA believes Ohio’s current school funding formula is a patchwork of band aids that fails to provide adequate funding. It is not functional nor is it driven by what constitutes a high-quality education. This is evidenced by the fact that currently over 500 — or 80% — of Ohio’s school districts do not directly receive funding as calculated by the formula and are instead on a gain cap or funding guarantee.

The Fair School Funding Plan seeks to base decision-making on identifiable student needs and what it actually costs to provide a high-quality education. Those who crafted the plan believe it is fair, transparent, and easily understood. The proposal will end the use of gain caps and lessen the number of districts that rely on a funding guarantee.

Under the plan, no school district would receive less funding than in FY 2019. The projected phase-in of the plan is four years.

You may view the details of the Fair School Funding Plan and district-by-district simulations by https://www.ohea.org/bipartisan-school-funding/

OEA Working with Two Former Teachers to Repeal State Takeovers

House Bill 154 Gets First Hearing in House Education Committee on April 2

 

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Two former teachers now serving in the Ohio House of Representatives – Joe Miller (D-Amherst) and Don Jones (R-Freeport) – have introduced bi-partisan legislation that would repeal the disastrous law that allows the state to takeover local school districts that are deemed to be in trouble. HB 154, which has 29 bi-partisan co-sponsors, would restore local control to school districts.

A strong push by OEA to get HB 154 introduced with broad bi-partisan support means this repeal bill is well-positioned to be approved by the Ohio House of Representatives. OEA members will be advocating for passage of HB 154 at the OEA Lobby Day in Columbus on April 9.

Reps. Joe Miller (D) and Don Jones (R) will urge their colleagues to repeal the failed state takeover law when they deliver bill sponsor testimony in the Ohio House Education Committee on April 2. Rep. Joe Miller represents Lorain City Schools, one of the three districts already taken over by the state (the other two are Youngstown and East Cleveland).

By repealing the state takeover law, the Miller/Jones bill would dissolve all existing Academic Distress Commissions and appointed CEOs. Local control would be returned to elected school boards. The collective bargaining restrictions in the state takeover law would be repealed.

State takeovers of local school districts are hurting students and the communities in which they live. When state officials and appointed managers are running local school districts, it lowers student and educator morale, undermines local engagement, and impedes progress.

State takeovers are based on misleading state report cards and excessive testing that severely penalize students in poverty. Instead of harmful state takeovers, HB 154 will require F-rated school buildings to develop school improvement plans that are locally designed and locally implemented.

 No more Academic Distress Commissions. No more CEOs. No more state takeovers.

Bi-Partisan Bill Introduced to Repeal Failed State Takeover Law and Restore Local Control

OEA Strongly Supports House Bill 154

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

Two former teachers now serving in the Ohio House of Representatives — Joe Miller (D-Amherst) and Don Jones (R-Freeport) — have introduced bi-partisan legislation that would repeal the disastrous law that allows the state to takeover local school districts that are deemed to be in trouble.

HB 154, which has 29 bi-partisan co-sponsors, would restore local control to school districts. OEA strongly supports the bill.

State takeovers of local school districts are hurting students and the communities in which they live.

The Miller/Jones bill would also dissolve all existing Academic Distress Commissions and appointed CEOs.

Rep. Joe Miller represents Lorain City Schools, one of the three districts already taken over by the state (the other two are Youngstown and East Cleveland).

State takeovers of local school districts are hurting students and the communities in which they live. When state officials and appointed managers are running local school districts, it lowers student and educator morale, undermines local engagement, and impedes progress.

It is time to restore local control to elected school boards and superintendents that are accountable to the community. It is time to return collective bargaining rights and professional respect to the classroom teachers who understand the unique needs and challenges of their students.

State takeovers are based on misleading state report cards and excessive testing that

On Friday, March 15, 2019, Governor DeWine released his Executive Budget detailing his spending plans for Fiscal Years (FY) 2020 and 2021. Below is a review of the governor’s proposals. Please note that there is little detail at this point as the actual budget language has yet to be released. We expect that the language in the form of a bill will be introduced later this week. OEA Government Relations staff will share additional information as it becomes available.

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

K-12 Education

School Funding
The governor’s proposed budget provides $550 million over the biennium to support at-risk students by providing wraparound services, mental health counseling, mentoring, and other means of addressing student needs. School districts will be encouraged to partner with local nonprofit service providers such as educational service centers, county mental health, addiction and job and family services’ agencies to provide the services.

Under the proposal, school districts will not see an automatic increase in general aid and are guaranteed to receive at least what they did this fiscal year. According to the administration, every district would be guaranteed a minimum of $25,000 in FY 2020 and $30,000 in FY 2021 from the new fund. Additional money would be distributed based on a district’s percentage of students in poverty. These amounts will range from $20 to $250 in FY 2020 and $25 to $300 in FY 2021.

Click this link to view the Student Wellness and Success Funding report, with district-by-district simulations. It is important to recognize that these figures are not final and will likely change during the budget process.

Charter Schools and Vouchers
The governor has proposed an additional $60 million over the biennium in per-pupil funding for charter schools that deemed a “school of quality.”

The proposal does not define what requirements are needed to earn that designation. The Ohio Department of Education will also receive an increase in funding for charter school oversight from $2.5 million in FY 2019 to $7 million in both FY 2020 and FY 2021. The proposal also increases the appropriation for the income-based EdChoice Voucher expansion from 47.7 million in FY 2019 to $57.2 million in FY 2020 and $71 million in FY 2021 in order to fund the addition of grades 6 and 7 to the program which was passed during the Kasich administration.

Additional Provisions

  • The proposal freezes ODE line items for school transportation funding, early childhood education and adult education at FY 2019 levels in both years of the biennium.
  • The proposal allocates $20 million for drug abuse prevention curriculum for Ohio’s children, including $2 million for educational service centers to provide professional development to teachers on drug abuse prevention education.
  • The budget provides an additional $60 million in federal funding to nutrition programs such as school lunch and breakfast programs.

Higher Education

State Share of Instruction
The proposal continues the performance-based funding formula and provides for a 1.1% increase in funding in FY 2020 over FY 2019 levels and a 1% increase in FY 2021 over FY 2020 levels.

Ohio College Opportunity Grant
The proposal increases funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grants that is projected to increase student awards by $400 in FY 2020 and $500 in FY 2021.

Choose Ohio First Scholarship
The proposal provides for a $24 million increase in funding over the biennium for the Choose Ohio First Scholarship. Ohio students who are majoring in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, STEM Education and Medicine may qualify for the scholarship.

Central State and Shawnee State Supplements
The budget maintains funding for these supplements at FY 2019 levels in both FY 2020 and FY 2021.

Developmental Disabilities

Overall Funding
The budget projects that state General Revenue Funding for FY 2020 will be $717.4 million (5.5% increase from FY 2019) and $719.1 million in FY 2021 (0.2% increase from FY 2020).

County Board Subsidies and County Board Case Management Line Items
Beginning in FY 2020, the budget proposal consolidates line items. The County Board Subsidies line item that provided funding to county boards to assist with the cost of services and administration and the County Board Case Management line item that provided direct support to county boards for case management services are now appropriated in the Medicaid Services line item. The Medicaid Services line item is increases by 11.9% in FY 2020 over FY 2019 levels. The proposal indicates that the increase in the Medicaid Services appropriation is not just as a result of the consolidation.

Employment First Initiative
The budget provides for a $2.7 million appropriation in each year of the biennium to support the Employment First Initiative.

State Council of Professional Educators (SCOPE)

Below are notable line items, as proposed by the Governor, for state agencies employing SCOPE members. The FY 2020 percentage change is based on FY 2019 figures; the FY 2021 percentage change is based on FY 2020 figures. The available budget information does not reveal major policy changes impacting SCOPE members in these state agencies.

Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

Institution Education ServicesFY 2020$33.6 millionflat funded
FY2021$33.9 million0.9% increase
Education ServicesFY2020$4.5 million 3.8% decrease
FY2021$4.6 million2.5% increase
Prisoner ProgramsFY2020$400,00063.0% decrease
FY2021$400,000Flat funded
Grand Total DRC (All Line-Items)FY2020$1.9 billion2.9% increase
FY2021$2.0 billion3.6% increase

Department of Youth Services

RECLAIM OhioFY 2020$171.7 million7.3% increase
FY2021177.8 million3.5% increase
Education ServicesFY2020$3.20 million0.9% increase
FY2021$3.29 million2.8% increase
EducationFY2020$1 million25.3% increase
FY2021$1.01 million1.7% increase
Vocational EducationFY2020$1.46 million0.6% increase
 FY2021$1.46 millionflat funded
Grand Total DYS (All Line-Items)FY2020$238.4 million3.7% increase
FY2021$247.5 million
3.8% increase

School for the Deaf

Grand Total  for the Deaf (All Line Items)FY2020$13.9 million 12.7% increase
FY2021$14.5 million3.7% increase

School for the Blind

Grand Total for the Blind (All Line Items)FY2020$14.1 million 13% increase
FY2021$14.5 million1.0% increase

State Library Board

Grand Total for the Library Board (All Line Items)FY2020$21.9 million flat funded
FY2021$121.9 millionflat funded

2018 | 132nd Ohio General Assembly

December 7, 2018

OEA Legislative WatchLegislature Votes to Extend Alternative Graduation Pathways

The Ohio House and Senate have approved a bill (HB 491) to extend the alternative graduation pathways to the classes of 2019 and 2020. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 29-0 and the House concurred by a vote of 78-1.

Under current law, in addition to successfully completing required coursework, students are required to meet one of three graduation “pathways” each of which is dependent on the results of high-stakes testing.

OEA strongly supports the extension of the alternative pathways and applauds this action.

For the class of 2018, the legislature provided alternative graduation pathways that would provide students with additional options such as completion of a capstone project, work experience, and grade-point average.

[ For more information on Ohio Department of Education graduation requirements and the alternative pathways, click here. ]

The Ohio Department of Education estimated that 33,000 seniors were at risk of not graduating without action to extend the alternative graduation pathways. HB 491 extends the alternative pathways to the class of 2019 with no changes.

There are some adjustments for the Class of 2020 which include: a cumulative grade-point average of 2.5 for courses completed during the junior and senior year; the capstone project must comply with guidance developed by ODE and each project should be designed as a culmination of the student’s high school experience; the work or community service shall comply with guidance from ODE on school approval and verification of the work.

ODE guidance for the Class of 2020 must be completed by May 31, 2019. The bill still needs to be signed by Governor Kasich.

Senate Passes Bill to Restore OPERS Credit for DD Employees

On Thursday, December 6, 2018, the Senate unanimously passed House Bill 572 by a vote of 29-0.

The bill addresses the issue of service credit for non-teaching employees of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities who work on a school calendar rather than year-round.

Recent OPERS action had reduced service credit for these employees and the bill would restore a full-year service credit. The bill is jointly sponsored by Representatives Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) and Stephanie Howse (D- Cleveland).

OEA strongly supports this bill as this legislation is desperately needed to address this issue for these public employees. OEA testified in support of the bill and several OEA members also submitted written testimony advocating for its passage.

The bill would require OPERS to grant a full year of service credit to employees who meet the following conditions:

  • Are employed by a County Board of DD;
  • Work in a position that would be covered by the School Employees Retirement System (SERS) if they were employed by a school district; and,
  • Perform full-time service for at least nine months of the year and paid earnable salary in each month of that year. Language in the bill specifies that this applies the dating back to January 1, 2017.

Because the bill was amended in the Senate, the House will have to vote to agree with Senate amendments. That vote is expected next week and then HB 572 will head to Governor Kasich to be signed into law.

HJR 19 Stalls in House Committee

House Joint Resolution 19 is a proposed Constitutional amendment that would make it more difficult to pass amendments to the Ohio Constitution through the initiative process.

The proposal was met with sharp criticism as an attack on direct democracy.

OEA joined more than 90 groups that voiced opposition to the plan and the efforts to rush it through a lame duck session.

The resolution has received four hearings in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee but has not been voted out.

HJR 19 proposes changes to the process for passing an initiated constitutional amendment and for a proposed statute.

Specifically, for an initiated constitutional amendment, it would increase the percentage required for voters to approve an amendment to 60%, specify that signatures on a petition are valid for 180 days and set a submission deadline of April 1.

For initiated statute proposals, HJR 19 would modify the signature requirement to 5% of electors based on the most recent vote for Governor while removing the requirement for a supplemental petition to be filed in order to place an initiated statute on the ballot if the General Assembly amends the statute or does not act.

Further, HJR 19 would prohibit the General Assembly from amending or repealing an initiated statute for one year.

To be enacted, HJR 19 would need to clear both chambers by a three-fifths majority and then be approved by voters as a constitutional amendment.

It does not appear that the legislature will move this proposal in the lame duck session. However, this is likely to be an ongoing issue next session.

 

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June 29, 2018

ohio-statehouse-sqGeneral Assembly Approves HB 21 – Protects School Districts with Stronger Residency Verification for Charter Students

The Ohio Senate last month passed HB 21, sponsored by Rep. Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick), by a vote of 32-0. The measure, which is strongly supported by OEA, was approved last December by the Ohio House, 94-0. The governor is expected to sign the bill.

  • It helps protect school districts from erroneous charter school deductions. Charter schools and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will take more responsibility for verifying the school district in which a charter student lives. School districts would continue to have the ability to review and challenge charter school student residency claims.
  • It seeks to solve problems with the Education Management Information System (EMIS) by requiring ODE to establish an EMIS advisory council. The council shall make recommendations to the superintendent of public instruction to improve the operation of EMIS and shall provide a forum for communication and collaboration between ODE and parties affected by the collection, reporting, and use of the system’s data. Members of the council shall include department staff and representatives of school districts and other entities that regularly interact with EMIS.

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May 21, 2018
•  Ohio SB 246 — Changes to Out-of-School Suspensions and Expulsions for Ohio’s Youngest Learners — Passes
•  HB 200 — Vouchers —  Scheduled for a Possible Committee Vote
•  HB 54 — OEA Supported OTES Reform — Scheduled for a Possible Committee Vote
•  HB 87 – Local School Districts Stand to Recover Funds Lost to Troubled Charter Schools
•  HB 21 – Stronger Residency Verification for Charter Students will Protect Districts from Erroneous Per-Pupil Deductions
•  HB 591 – OEA Supports School Report Card Reforms

 

 

 

April 23, 2018
OEA Supports Bill to Fix OPERS Service Credit for County Board Employees; HB 540: OEA Members Testify in Support of OTES Reform Legislation; HB 591: OEA Supports School Report Card Reforms

March 26, 2018
House Bill 540 – OTES Reform Bill Receives Sponsor Testimony from Rep. Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Rep. Manning (R-North Ridgeville); Senate Bill 216 Passed by Ohio Senate; Heads to Houses for Further Consideration

March 12, 2018
Senate Bill 246 Seeks Changes to Out-of-School Suspensions and Expulsions for Ohio’s Youngest Learners; OEA Testifies in Opposition to Education Consolidation Bill; SB 216 – OTES Reform Long-Sought by OEA Passes Senate Education Committee; HB 98 – Senate Education Committee Passes Bill to Provide Students More Information About Careers in the Skilled Trades; Other Education Amendments Included; Local School Districts Stand to Recover Money Lost to Troubled Charter Schools with the House Passage of HB 87

March 2, 2018
Kasich Administration Voices Support for Education Consolidation; Senate Bill 216 – Public School “Deregulation Act” Continues to Receive Hearings; School District Report Card Reform Discussions Unfold

February 16, 2018
Legislation Introduced to Consolidate Education Departments

February 9, 2018
OEA Supports Teacher Evaluation Reforms in Senate Bill 240; OEA Opposes Senate Bill 216 – Public School “Deregulation”, Ohio General Assembly Passes Bi-Partisan Congressional Redistricting Plan