Legislative Watch – February 3, 2023

DeWine Releases Executive Budget Proposal

On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, Governor DeWine unveiled his budget priorities during his State of the State address. Following the speech, he released his Executive Budget Blue Book for Fiscal Years (FY) 2024 and 2025. DeWine stated that his goal in this budget is to ensure that all Ohioans are educated and have the tools needed to live up to their potential.

Below is a review of the governor’s proposal for K-12 Education, Higher Education, and Developmental Disabilities. A second budget overview for state agencies will be released Tuesday of next week. Please note that there are few details at this point as the actual budget language has yet to be released. OEA is also waiting for the release of the district-by-district spreadsheets. OEA Government Relations staff will share additional information as it becomes available.

K-12 Education

School Funding
DeWine’s budget proposal continues to implement the Fair School Funding Plan established in the last budget cycle. The Fair School Funding Plan provides a predictable student-centered formula that is based upon how much it costs to educate a child and how much a local community can afford to contribute to these costs.
OEA will continue to advocate for the Ohio General Assembly to make necessary updates to the components of the funding model and to fully implement the plan this biennium.

School Choice
After the positive news of plans to continue implementation of the Fair School Funding Plan, DeWine announced that he was proposing a huge expansion in eligibility for the income-based EdChoice voucher program. The proposal would increase eligibility from 250% of the federal poverty level ($75,000 for a family of four) to 400% ($120,000 for a family of four). OEA strongly opposes the expansion of this voucher program that drains needed resources from the 90% of students who attend public schools.

Additionally, the budget appropriates $125 million in each fiscal year, an increase of 131.5% from FY 2023 levels, for the Quality Community Schools Support line item. The stated intent of the increase is to provide the highest performing charters schools with an additional $3,000 per economically disadvantaged student. The plan also increases the per-pupil charter school facilities funding from $500 to $1,000 per pupil.

The Executive budget proposal provides approximately a $114 million increase in FY 2024 ($115,823,591) for literacy improvement. The appropriation decreases in FY 2025 to $58.3 million, a 49.6% reduction from FY 2024. The stated use for these funds is to “ensure all schools are using high-quality instructional material aligned with evidence-based reading instruction and intervention.” Additionally, the funds will support ODE to create professional development coursework for literacy instruction, provide funds for schools to incorporate this training, and support up to 100 additional literacy coaches in schools and districts with the lowest reading proficiency.

Additional Provisions

  • The proposal eliminates the school bus purchase program.
  • The proposal invests $200 million in FY 2024 for career technical capital improvements and $50 million in each year for career technical education equipment.
  • The budget provides for $194 million in both FY 2024 and 2025 for school resource officers in every school building.
  • The proposal provides $15 million to increase access to College Credit Plus by providing high school teachers with additional training needed to instruct college courses at high school campuses.
  • The proposal provides an $8.3 million increase in FY 2024 ($23,480,788) over FY 2023 funding levels for the Ohio Educational Computer Network. In FY 2025, this appropriation ($20,273,329) decreases by $3.2 million.
  • The budget increases auxiliary services reimbursement for non-public schools by 2.7% in FY 2024 ($162,927,159) and 2.4% in FY 2025 ($166,853,704).
  • The proposal provides $7.5 million in each FY for school-based health care centers.
  • The budget shifts funding support for Early Childhood Education from the Ohio Department of Education to the newly proposed Department of Children and Youth. Additionally, the proposal provides $11.3 million in each year of the biennium to increase those credentialed for early childhood mental health in order to provide screening services for needed care and treatment.
K-12 GRF Total (State Funding) FY 2024 – $9.0 billion – 6.4% increase
FY 2025 – $9.2 billion – 2.1% increase
K-12 All Funds FY 2024 – $15.1 billion – 5.6% decrease
FY 2025 – $13.6 billion –10.4% decrease

Higher Education

DeWine’s higher education recommendations prioritize access for students. He proposed a $100 million increase in each of the years for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), a needs-based program. Students beginning as freshman in the Fall of 2023 whose families adjusted gross income is $87,000 or less will be eligible for the OCOG. Award amounts are also expected to increase.

The newly proposed Ohio College Access Grant would be awarded to students who attend Ohio community colleges and state university regional branch campuses. The Governor’s Merit Scholarship would provide renewable $5,000 scholarships to every student in the top five percent of their high school graduating class to attend an Ohio college or university.

Additionally, the budget funds programs that seek to address barriers to college completion. Mental health support is funded at $10.0 million in each year of the biennium, Access Challenge at $40 million in each year, and a mentoring scholarship program funded at $13.5 million over the biennium.

State Share of Instruction FY 2024 – $2.138 billion – 3.0% increase
FY 2025 – $2.202 billion – 3.0% increase
Ohio College Opportunity Grant FY 2024 – $216.2 million – 92.2% increase
FY 2025 – $346.0 million – 60.1% increase
Governor’s Merit Scholarship FY 2024 – $18.0 million – New
FY 2025 – $34.2 million – 90.0% increase
Ohio College Access Grant FY 2024 – $14.2 million – New
FY 2025 – $26.6 million – 85.8% increase
Teacher Apprenticeship Program FY 2024 – $120,000 – New
FY 2025 – $3.66 million – 2,929.4% increase
Central State Supplement FY 2024 – $12.0 million – 3.0% increase
FY 2025 – $12.4 million – 3.0% increase
Shawnee State Supplement FY 2024 – $5.5 million – 3.0% increase
FY 2025 – $5.7 million – 3.0% increase
GRF Total (State Funding) FY 2024 – $3.0 billion – 9.5% increase
FY 2025 – $3.3 billion – 9.0% increase
All Funds FY 2024 – $3.3 billion – 16.4% increase
FY 2025 – $3.4 billion – 2.2% increase

Developmental Disabilities

Multi System Youth FY 2024 – $7.0 million – 75.0% increase
FY 2025 – $7.0 million – 0.0% increase
Part C Early Intervention* FY 2024 – $23.4 million – 0.0% increase
FY 2025 – $23.4 million – 0.0% increase
*This line item is transferred from Developmental Disabilities to the newly proposed Department of Children and Youth.
Technology First FY 2024 – $6.0 million – New
FY 2025 – $6.0 million – 0.0% increase
Employment First FY 2024 – $2.7 million – 0.0% increase
FY 2025 – $2.7 million – 0.0% increase
GRF Total (State Funding) FY 2024 – $833.0 million – 2.0% increase
FY 2025 – $910.5 million – 9.3% increase
All Funds FY 2024 – $4.4 billion – 4.0% increase
FY 2025 – $4.6 billion – 5.2% increase

OEA Lays Out Legislative Priorities for the 135th General Assembly

The new legislative session will bring challenges, but also presents a tremendous opportunity to address the needs of Ohio’s students and educators and invest in public education. OEA has developed a list of legislative priorities for the 135th General Assembly that will be the focus of our advocacy efforts with legislators. These priorities are aimed at providing needed support to Ohio’s educators and students.

Ohio is in a strong fiscal position and has the opportunity and obligation to fully implement the Fair School Funding Plan. Further, Ohio’s policymakers must take bold action to address the educator shortage in our schools. Below is a list of the issues identified as top legislative priorities for the OEA:

  • Fully Fund the Fair School Funding Plan
  • Recruit and Retain Qualified, Committed Educators for Every Public-School Student in Ohio
  • End the Expansion of Private School Voucher Programs
  • Repeal Mandatory Student Retention Under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee
  • Support Student and Staff Well Being
  • Protect the Voice of Educators – Support Unions and Defend Collective Bargaining Rights

You can view the document in its entirety by clicking here. OEA is sending the Legislative Priorities document to Governor DeWine and all members of the General Assembly. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of legislative issues. OEA will continue to work toward passing legislation that advances the legislative policies adopted by our members as well as combating legislative proposals that would be harmful to students, schools, and educators. 

For an archive of past Legislative Watch releases, visit the Legislative Watch archive.