OEA Legislative Watch is the association’s newsletter covering the legislation and policies that affect public education employees.
2021-2022 | 134th Ohio General Assembly
House Bill 616 has been scheduled for a first hearing in the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at 3:00 PM, in Room 114 of the Ohio Statehouse. The committee will hear testimony from the bill sponsors, Rep. Mike Loychick (R-Bazetta) and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Miami Township). The bill has no co-sponsors.
HB 616 doubles-down on state censorship of “divisive topics” from HB 327 and adds parts of Florida’s recently passed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law. Violations of “divisive topics” and “don’t say gay” prohibitions could result in educator license revocation and withholding of state funding for schools.
HB 616 applies to school districts, charter schools, STEM schools, and private schools that enroll students in a state voucher program. Higher education institutions would be prohibited from including “divisive topics” in continuing education credits or professional development programs for educator license renewal.
OEA opposes HB 616 and other similar legislation, such as HB 327 (R-Fowler/R-Grendell). Educators and students deserve the freedom to teach and learn without fear of state censorship, intimidation, and punishment based on vague government prohibitions on speech and ideas. All Ohio children deserve an honest and reflective education that empowers them to become critical thinkers and future leaders.
Take action to protect educators and students. Use the OEA HB 616 Action Alert to send an email to your state representative asking them to oppose this harmful legislation:
House Bill 616 is an attack on students, educators, public schools, and Ohio’s collective future. The Ohio Education Association (OEA) denounces HB 616 and vows to continue the fight to ensure students have the freedom to learn and thrive.
HB 616 doubles-down on the worst parts of Ohio HB 327, the anti-freedom ‘divisive concepts bill,’ by adding the worst parts of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into the new proposed language, which applies to school districts, charter schools, STEM schools, and private schools that take state vouchers.
The bill was introduced on April 4, 2022, and is jointly sponsored by Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Cortland) and Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland). There are no co-sponsors and the bill has yet to be assigned to an Ohio House legislative committee.
OEA and its allies will remain vigilant in fighting against legislation designed to threaten and silence students and educators, whether it is HB 616 or similar bills like HB 322 and HB 327 that have failed to make progress in the Ohio General Assembly.
In addition to harmful state censorship that undermines honesty in education, HB 616 targets LGBTQ students and their allies with a “don’t say gay” mandate. This comes at a time when LGBTQ students are three to four times more likely than non-LGBTQ students to report persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and even self-harm – not because of who they are but because of the hostility directed at them.
Join with OEA to advocate for truth in education, safe learning environments for students, and secure working conditions for educators.
TAKE ACTION: OEA Action Alert – HB 616 – Click here. Please invest a few minutes and send an email letter to your state representative asking them to oppose this harmful bill.
Redistricting Update: The Fight for Fair Maps Continues
The Ohio Redistricting Commission has passed three versions of district maps for the Ohio General Assembly that have been rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court. It appears that could soon increase to four.
Previous plans, passed by Republicans on the Commission without Democratic support, were ruled to have been in violation of the 2015 Constitutional amendment passed by Ohio voters aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering. The Court ruled that the plans unduly favored Republicans, in violation of the Constitution. The Court ordered the Redistricting Commission to start over and come up with a new plan by the end of day on Monday, March 28.
Things appeared to be somewhat different this time. The Commission brought in two independent mapmakers to work on drawing maps that comply with the Constitution and the Court’s order. Their work was streamed live to the public on the internet. Governor DeWine hinted that he would show some leadership and publicly stated that they would follow the Court’s order. All of that proved to be an illusion.
Hours before the Court’s deadline, the Republican majority on the Commission opted to jettison the work of the independent mapmakers they hired. Instead, they voted on a plan with minor tweaks to the last plan that they had passed—one that has already been ruled unconstitutional. Unsurprisingly, the Court is now asking members of the Commission why they shouldn’t be held in contempt.
It appears that the May 3rd primary election will go forward for offices other than the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. A challenge to the Congressional districts that were adopted by the Redistricting Commission will not be heard in time to prevent them from being used in the 2022 election.
Federal judges may ultimately rule on when a primary for General Assembly candidates will be held and what district boundaries will be used. A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio reserves the right to intervene, perhaps by moving the primary to August 2nd, if the state doesn’t reach a resolution by April 20th.
OEA VP Wensing Testifies in Support of Bill to Eliminate Student Retention Under TGRG
On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing testified as a proponent of House Bill 497. The bill seeks to eliminate the retention provision of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Further, the bill would reduce the number of times that the state-mandated 3rd grade ELA state achievement test is administered.
OEA supports House Bill 497 because legislative policies adopted by our members oppose using standardized test scores to make high-stakes decisions about students. OEA also supports the reduction of testing in the bill as it will help to restore some time for teaching and learning in the classroom.
Click here to read Vice President Wensing’s full testimony. Several OEA members also provided testimony in support of the bill: Jennifer Bindus (Aurora), Sean McCullough (Licking Heights), Maureen Knostman (Dublin), and Michelle Cooper (Dublin).
To urge your state representative to support HB 497, click here.
HB 583: Extends Temporary Licensure of Substitute Teachers; Includes $338 Million Federal Funds for School Lunches
The Ohio House of Representatives passed HB 583 this week. The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration. HB 583 does the following:
- Extends a temporary law measure through the 2023-24 school year that permits an individual to obtain a one-year substitute teaching license if the following conditions are met: 1. Meets the district’s or school’s own education requirements (rather than those prescribed by the State Board of Education); 2. Is deemed to be of good moral character; and 3. Successfully completes a criminal records check. This temporary standard for licensing substitute teachers has been in place since the 2020-21 school year due to Covid-related staffing challenges that exacerbated pre-existing shortages of substitute teachers.
- Requires the chairpersons and ranking members of the Primary and Secondary Education committees of the House and Senate to form a study committee to address the shortage of substitute teachers and report its findings and present them to the House and Senate Primary and Secondary Education committees by October 30, 2022.
- Appropriates $338 million of federal funds for FY 2022 for the National School Lunch Program.
State Legislative Maps Heading Back to Court
On Saturday, January 22, 2022, the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed revised state legislative maps. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the first, highly partisan maps passed by the Commission were unconstitutional because they were gerrymandered in favor of Republican candidates. The Court said the maps violated the provision of the voter-approved constitutional amendment that districts should closely correspond with the Ohioans’ voting preferences.
Once again, the revised maps were passed by a 5-2 party line vote. Although the revised maps come closer to the Court’s stated measure of Ohioans’ voting preferences (54% Republican to 46% Democrat), they still fall short. Fifty-seven of 99 House seats and 20 of 33 Senate seats were drawn to favor Republicans. Further, the Democratic leaning districts were highly competitive while the Republican districts were significantly less competitive.
Plaintiffs objected to the new maps Tuesday. In the filing made by the League of Women Voters of Ohio and other groups, they argue that the proposed maps still fail to comply with the Constitution. The plaintiffs also argue that there were plans submitted to the Commission that would comply with the Court’s order, but the Commission ignored them. The Court has ordered the Redistricting Commission to file a response to the complaint by noon Friday.
Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Highly Partisan General Assembly Maps
On Wednesday, January 12, 2022, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling that invalidates the highly gerrymandered state legislative districts that were adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission on a partisan basis. In 2015, Ohio voters passed a Constitutional amendment aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering. In a 4-3 ruling, the Court stated that the plan failed to comply with provisions in the Constitution that the Commission attempt to match the statewide voting preferences of Ohio voters.
Over the past 10 years, voters in Ohio have favored Republicans over Democrats by a margin of 54% to 46%. However, the maps adopted by the Commission were drawn to give Republicans a two-thirds majority of the seats in both the House and the Senate. The Supreme Court invalidated the maps on the basis that the Commission did not attempt to correspond closely with the overall voting preferences of Ohioans.
OEA President Scott DiMauro praised the decision saying, “OEA applauds the wisdom of the Ohio Supreme Court to strike down gerrymandered maps that would have denied Ohioans a real voice at the Statehouse. This is a huge victory for Ohio voters and for Ohio schools, which are greatly impacted by the decisions of the state’s elected lawmakers.”
The majority opinion was written by Justice Melody Stewart and joined by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Justices Jennifer Brunner and Michael Donnelly. The three members who dissented and favored upholding the maps were Justices Sharon Kennedy, Patrick Fischer and Patrick DeWine.
The Court ordered the Ohio Redistricting Commission to reconvene and produce new maps within 10 days. Plaintiffs would then have three days to file any challenges to the revised maps.
Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Congressional Map
On Friday, January 14, 2022, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling striking down the highly partisan Congressional district map adopted by the Ohio General Assembly without Democratic support. Similar to the rejected General Assembly districts, the map failed to meet the requirements of a Constitutional amendment passed by voters aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering.
The 4-3 decision was written by Justice Michael Donnelly and joined by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Justices Jennifer Brunner and Melody Stewart. The Court ruled that the adopted plan violated the provision that a map could not unduly favor a political party. Despite a statewide voter preference of 54% Republican, the invalidated map would have favored Republicans in 12 of 15 Congressional districts.
Ohio lawmakers have 30 days to agree to new Congressional districts. If they cannot do so, the Ohio Redistricting Commission will have 30 days to do so.
Bill Introduced to Re-Establish STRS COLA
Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) has introduced Senate Bill 280. The bill would require the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) to pay an annual 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to eligible retirees. Under current law, the STRS Board has authority to adjust the COLA amount as necessary to preserve the fiscal integrity of the system. The bill would require at least a 2% annual COLA beginning on July 1, 2022.
After the Great Recession, STRS was projected to run out of money, which forced the adoption of pension reform legislation. Active teachers had their contributions increased, were forced to work longer and collect less in retirement. Retired teachers had the COLA reduced to 2% and the STRS Board further acted to freeze the COLA when the economy didn’t recover quickly enough. Thanks to shared sacrifice, and sound financial stewardship that has improved investment returns, STRS funding is now over 80%. The STRS Board is now in a position to consider restoration of the COLA as well as changes to benefit active teachers such as eliminating the age 60 requirement or decreased employee contributions.
SB 280, as currently written, would mandate a 2% annual COLA going forward without providing a way to pay for it. Actuaries project that such a change would increase STRS unfunded liabilities by over $13 billion—roughly a 66% increase. Because the legislation does not contain any mechanism for the state to cover this needed funding, it may put the benefits of active teachers at risk.
To be clear, retired teachers need and deserve cost-of-living adjustments. At the same time, the long-term ability of STRS to pay pensions to all its members is critical. Just as shoring up the funding of STRS has taken shared sacrifice, the improved funding should benefit active and retired teachers alike.
Bill Introduced to Require Teachers to Post Syllabi Online
HB 529, introduced by state Rep. Brett Hillyer, R-Uhrichsville, would require school districts, charter schools, public colleges (with respect to courses taught to secondary students through the college credit plus program), and private schools to post on its publicly accessible web site an internet link or title to all of the following used by each school, course, or classroom: every textbook, a course syllabus that includes a list of all “instructional materials” and activities to be “used for student instruction” in each instructional course, a written summary of each instructional course, the state academic standards related to each instructional course. OEA is currently reviewing the bill, which has not been assigned to committee yet. OEA remains concerned about any additional burdens being thrust upon members during these incredibly stressful times.
Urge DeWine to Veto Unconstitutional Redistricting Plan
Despite passage of a Constitutional amendment aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering, the Ohio legislature has passed a Congressional that heavily favors Republican candidates. In 2018, Ohio voters passed redistricting reform. The Constitution calls for an open and bipartisan process for drawing districts. That did not happen. Instead, Republican leadership rammed through a map that unduly favors their party in violation of the Constitution. The statewide voting preference of Ohioans is roughly 55% Republican and 45% Democrat. However, the proposed map would favor Republicans in 80% of the districts.
An amended version of SB 258 emerged on Monday night and was passed by the Senate on Tuesday (24-7) and by the House on Thursday (55-36). The bill is now headed to Governor DeWine for his signature. Gerrymandering, done for the benefit of either party, subverts our democracy. Click here to urge the Governor to stand up for the Constitution and the will of the voters by vetoing the bill.
If signed by Governor DeWine, the Congressional map would be in effect for four years instead of ten because it did not have bipartisan support. There is also certain to be a court challenge to the proposal.
Bill to Change Training Requirements for Armed School Staff Passes Ohio House
House Bill 99, a bill that would significantly decrease the current training hour requirements for armed school staff, passed out of the Ohio House by a vote of 59-33. Former educator, and Republican Representative Gayle Manning joined Democrats in voting no.
Prior to passage, Representative Leland (D-Columbus) offered an OEA supported amendment that would have strengthened training requirements and public notification portions of the bill.
OEA continues to be opposed to House Bill 99. The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for deliberation.
House Bill 99 Passes out of House Committee
House Bill 99, sponsored by Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township), passed out of the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee by a party-line vote of 7-5. The bill would exempt a “person authorized to go armed within a school safety zone” from satisfactorily completing an approved basic peace officer training program. This would reverse the 2021 Ohio Supreme Court ruling on Gabbard v. Madison Local School District Board of Education.
Substitute House Bill 99 would prescribe state training requirements at a maximum of 20 hours of initial training and 4 additional hours to be completed annually. OEA believes this level of firearms training remains inadequate and will ultimately jeopardize the safety of students and staff.
Additionally, the measure requires a board of education or governing body of a school to notify the public that they have authorized one or more persons to go armed within a school of the board or governing body. However, the bill does not expressly state how often the governing body should notify the public and if school districts who have already authorized this policy are required to notify the public.
Representative David Leland (D-Columbus) offered two OEA supported amendments that were tabled. These amendments would have enhanced the notification provisions and removed the maximum training hour requirements and instead allow the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission to determine the hours sufficient for training of armed school personnel.
OEA remains opposed to the bill.
OEA Continues to Oppose House Bill 99 – Training Requirements for Armed School Staff
House Bill 99, sponsored by Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township), would exempt a “person authorized to go armed within a school safety zone” from satisfactorily completing an approved basic peace officer training program. This would reverse the 2021 Ohio Supreme Court ruling on Gabbard v. Madison Local School District Board of Education that required personnel entering a school to go through peace officer training.
In October 2021, a substitute bill was introduced. The change represents marginal improvement to the original version of the bill. OEA is pleased that the measure requires the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTC) to create a training program for people to carry guns in schools. However, OEA remains concerned and opposed to the training hour requirements in the bill. The new bill version would prescribe state training requirements at a maximum of 20 hours of initial training and 4 additional hours to be completed annually. OEA believes this level of firearms training remains inadequate and will ultimately jeopardize the safety of students and staff. Additionally, the measure requires a board of education or governing body of a school to notify the public that they have authorized one or more persons to go armed within a school of the board or governing body. However, the bill does not expressly state how often the governing body should notify the public, nor does it clarify if school districts who have already authorized this policy are required to notify the public. OEA has requested that this provision be amended to require annual notification to the public, including notification from school districts who have already authorized personnel to carry guns in schools, and post these notifications on the district’s website.
The bill is currently pending in the House Criminal Justice Committee.
Republicans Unveil Proposed Congressional Maps
Despite a statewide ballot issue that enshrined a Constitutional amendment aimed at ending gerrymandering, Republican leaders in the Ohio General Assembly have introduced new Congressional maps heavily tilted in their party’s favor. The House and Senate Republicans introduced separate plans this week that would each likely result in 13 of 15 Congressional districts being represented by Republicans. Ohio currently has some of the most heavily gerrymandered maps in the country and the new ones would shockingly be even worse.
In 2018, voters overwhelming passed Congressional redistricting reform that called for fair districts and an open, bipartisan process. Thus far, instead we have seen missed deadlines and no cooperation between the two parties. The partisan maps unveiled this week would break Ohio’s largest urban counties among multiple Congressional districts. This dilutes the voice of Ohio communities of color and results in up to 86% of the seats would favor Republicans in spite of that party winning approximately 55% of the statewide vote.
The General Assembly has until the end of November to pass a Congressional redistricting plan. If a plan is passed with a three-fifths majority (including at least one-third of each party) it will go into effect for 10 years. Without bipartisan support, only a simple majority is needed but the districts will only be in effect for four years. Further, those districts must not unduly favor or disfavor any political party.
OEA is part of a coalition advocating for fair maps called Equal Districts. The coalition is holding a Statehouse Lobby Day on Tuesday, November 16. Members who are able to attend are encouraged to do so. More information is available by clicking here.
HB 327 – Anti-Freedom in the Classroom Bill Undermines Honesty in Education
OEA opposes HB 327. Despite some recent changes to the bill, HB 327 continues to prohibit K-12 schools, state institutions of higher education, state agencies, and political subdivisions from teaching, instructing, promoting, or providing professional development in certain “divisive concepts” listed in the bill. OEA also opposes HB 322, a similar bill that is receiving less attention from the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee.
Violations of murky state censorship prohibitions in HB 327 would threaten students with loss of graduation credit, schools with cancellation of state funding, and educators with suspension/revocation of state licenses. HB 327 also threatens financial harm to educators and schools with exposure to uncapped civil liability damages in lawsuits brought by parents alleging violations of state censorship regulations.
Educators and students deserve the freedom to teach and learn without fear of state censorship, intimidation, and punishment. Instead of more state regulations in the classroom, let’s trust educators, administrators, and school board members to do the jobs they were trained and elected to do on behalf of students.
To send an email to your state Representative, click HERE.
For a guide on how to prepare and submit HB 327 opponent testimony to the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee, click HERE.
For a summary of the current version of HB 327 click HERE.
SB 1 – Ohio House Passes Financial Literacy Graduation Requirement and Extends Substitute Teacher Hiring Flexibility
The Ohio House of Representatives has passed SB 1 (9.29.21), a bill that creates a half-unit financial literacy requirement for graduation. The bill also extends for the 2021-22 school year temporary flexibility for districts to hire substitutes that do not have a four-year degree. The next step for SB 1 will be a Senate vote to concur in House changes to the bill, most likely to occur next week. OEA has engaged with stakeholders as an Interested Party on SB 1.
SB 1 does the following:
- Requires students who enter ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2022, to complete a half-unit of instruction in financial literacy as part of the required high school curriculum.
- Overall graduation requirement of 20 units remains the same. Students can take the financial literacy course by using a half-unit of elective credit (out of 5 elective units) or in lieu of one-half unit of instruction in math. The math course cannot be Algebra II, or its equivalent, or a course for which the State Board requires an end-of-course examination (algebra I and geometry).
- Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, an educator license validation in financial literacy will be required to provide financial literacy instruction for high school credit. Exempted from this validation requirement are those who have a license or endorsement required to provide instruction in social studies, family and consumer sciences, or business education. For individuals that obtain a financial literacy validation, a school district must cover up to $500 of the cost and the district is reimbursed by state funds.
- Substitute Teacher Amendment: Extends through the 2021-22 school year temporary flexibility for districts to hire substitutes that do not have a four-year degree. The rationale for this extension are substitute shortages exacerbated by Covid-19. This provision contains an “emergency clause” and therefore would go into effect immediately if the Senate concurs in House changes and the Governor signs the bill.
HB 322 and HB 327 – “OEA leaders, members lead challenge to bills designed to kill academic freedom and honesty in the classroom”
OEA President Scott DiMauro and other OEA members presented opponent testimony this week on legislation that would prohibit teaching certain “divisive concepts.” Instead of censorship and fear, President DiMauro called for honesty in education and trusting educators to do their jobs.
Copies of President DiMauro’s opponent testimony can be viewed at the following links: HB 322 and HB 327
A video of President DiMauro’s opponent testimony on HB 322 and HB 327 can be viewed HERE.
You can take action by using the OEA Action Alert to send an email letter to your State Representative and for guidance on submitting written-only testimony to the committee.
Lawsuit Challenges General Assembly Maps as Unconstitutional
Several voting rights groups have filed a lawsuit arguing that General Assembly maps adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission are unconstitutional. Earlier this month, the Commission adopted maps on a party-line vote. The suit alleges the maps violate provisions in the Ohio Constitution adopted by voters in 2015 to reform redistricting and end partisan gerrymandering.
Specifically, the lawsuit focuses on Article XI Section 6 of the Ohio Constitution which states, “No general assembly district plan shall be drawn primarily to favor or disfavor a political party” and “the statewide proportion of district whose voters, based on statewide state and federal partisan general election results during the last 10 years, favor each political party shall correspond closely to the statewide preferences of the voters of Ohio.”
Over the past ten years, voters in Ohio have favored Republicans over Democrats by a margin of approximately 55% to 45%. However, the maps adopted by the Commission were drawn to give Republicans a two-thirds of the seats in both the House and the Senate—a veto-proof majority.
Over 71% of Ohio voters passed redistricting reform. Hundreds of Ohioans testified about the need for fair maps and fair representation. However, the Redistricting Commission process was marked by delays and a lack of transparency. The maps adopted by the Commission broke both the letter and the spirit of the law. The party-line vote results in maps that, if upheld, would be in effect for only four years.
The lawsuit challenging the maps was brought by the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the A. Phillip Randolph Institute of Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and six Ohio voters. The lawsuit was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court which has sole jurisdiction over the General Assembly redistricting process.
SB 1 – Financial Literacy Graduation Requirement and Substitute Teacher Flexibility
The House Education Committee unanimously passed SB 1 this week. The bill creates a half-unit financial literacy requirement for graduation and also extends for the 2021-22 school year temporary flexibility for districts to hire substitutes that do not have a four-year degree. The next steps for SB 1 will be a floor vote in the Ohio House and then a concurrence vote in the Ohio Senate. OEA has engaged with stakeholders as an Interested Party on SB 1.
SB 1 does the following:
- Requires students who enter ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2022, to complete a half-unit of instruction in financial literacy as part of the required high school curriculum. Overall graduation requirement of 20 units remains the same. Students can take the financial literacy course by using a half-unit of elective credit (out of 5 elective units) or as a substitute for a half-unit of Algebra II.
- Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, each public school and chartered nonpublic school must require an individual to have an educator license validation in financial literacy to provide financial literacy instruction for high school credit. Exempted from this validation requirement are those who have a license or endorsement required to provide instruction in social studies, family and consumer sciences, or business education. For individuals that obtain a financial literacy validation, a school district must cover up to $500 of the cost and the district is reimbursed by state funds.
- Extends through the 2021-22 school year temporary flexibility for districts to hire substitutes that do not have a four-year degree. The rationale for this extension are substitute shortages exacerbated by Covid-19.
Redistricting Commission Produces a more Gerrymandered Map than Current One, Defying the Will of the People
On Thursday, the Ohio Redistricting Commission introduced legislative maps created by staffers for the Senate and House Republicans. These maps were adopted by the Commission 5-2 on a party-line vote as a “starting point.” This plan is wholly inadequate and fails to meet the demands of the Constitutional amendment passed by voters to end partisan gerrymandering.
In 2015, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to approve an amendment to the state Constitution on redistricting. The amendment created the bipartisan Redistricting Commission and established rules for drawing legislative districts. A bipartisan agreement is needed for the maps to go into effect for 10 years. Otherwise, a simple majority of members of the Commission can enact a four-year map.
There are two fatal flaws with the current proposal. First, the Constitution calls for the statewide proportion of districts favoring each political party correspond closely with the statewide preferences of the voters (i.e. representational fairness). In statewide elections over the last 10 years, Republicans have averaged approximately 55% of the vote while Democrats have averaged 45% of the vote. Therefore, the districts that favor each party should fall roughly on those lines. The proposed plan under consideration brazenly would have two-thirds of the House and Senate districts favoring Republicans—a veto-proof supermajority. Secondly, the Constitution requires that the plan comply with federal law. The Voting Rights Act requires that communities of color have real pathways to political representation. The staffers who produced the map testified that they were instructed by legislative leaders not to take race or ethnicity into account in drawing district lines. This will likely dilute the political voices of minority populations in Ohio – a violation of federal law.
Members of the Commission maintain that they still want a 10-year map and will work over the next few days for a compromise. The Constitutional deadline is September 15th. It is critical for state leaders to put politics aside and give the voters of Ohio what they voted for—fair maps. Time is running out.
What Can You Do? Take Action to tell the Commission We Demand Fair Maps:
- Click here to send an email demanding fair maps.
- Provide written testimony by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org or attend a Commission hearing:
Sunday at 4pm – Dayton
Washington Township Recreation Center
895 Miamisburg Centerville Rd
Dayton, Ohio 45459
Monday at 4pm – Cleveland
Corporate College East
4400 Richmond Rd
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
Tuesday at 10am – Columbus
1 Capitol Square
Ohio House Finance Hearing Room (Room 313)
Columbus, OH 43215
If you have questions or need information about how to testify, contact Robert Davis in OEA Government Relations: email@example.com
Redistricting Commission Blows by First Deadline for District Maps
The Ohio Redistricting Commission, the body tasked with drawing new district lines for the state legislature, has missed its first deadline to produce maps. Under an amendment to the Ohio Constitution passed in 2015, the Commission had until September 1 to vote on an initial map and then hold public hearings on it. At this point, no map has been voted on nor have any further public hearings been scheduled. The Commission then has until September 15 to vote on a final map.
Redistricting reform passed with support of over 70% of Ohio voters to bring about fairer maps, rather than ones drawn specifically to favor one party over another through gerrymandering. Last month the Commission held 10 public hearings where citizens testified with a strong message of calling for an open and bipartisan process that lives up to the letter and spirit of the Constitutional amendment. Several OEA members provided testimony including OEA President Scott DiMauro and Vice President Jeff Wensing. Click here and here to read their testimony.
The Redistricting Commission is comprised of seven members: Governor Mike DeWine (R), Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R), Auditor Keith Faber (R), Speaker of the House Bob Cupp (R), House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D), Senate President Matt Huffman (R), and Senator Vernon Sykes (D). In order for a map to take effect for 10 years, it would take a majority vote of the Commission with both of the Democrats voting for it. A simple majority of members can pass a map, but it would only be in effect for four years.
Redistricting Commission Releases Schedule for Regional Hearings
The Ohio Redistricting Commission has released a schedule of ten regional hearings around the state from August 23-27. The hearings provide an opportunity for the public to provide input to the Commission tasked with redrawing district lines for the Ohio General Assembly.
Ohio voters twice passed redistricting reform measures. Fair districts are vitally important and Ohio citizens should be provided with ample opportunities for meaningful input in the process. For too long, partisan gerrymandering has subverted our democracy.
OEA urges our members to participate in these public hearings. We note that the bulk of the public hearings take place during the school day at the beginning of the new year making attendance difficult for many of our members. However, the Commission will accept written testimony from those unable to appear in person. The hearings are as follows:
|Monday, August 23||9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||Cleveland|
|Monday, August 23||2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.||Youngstown|
|Tuesday, August 24||9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||Dayton|
|Tuesday, August 24||2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.||Cincinnati|
|Wednesday, August 25||9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||Zanesville|
|Wednesday, August 25||2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.||Rio Grande|
|Thursday, August 26||9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||Lima|
|Thursday, August 26||2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.||Toledo|
|Friday, August 27||9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.||Akron|
|Friday, August 27||2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.||Mansfield|
If you have an interest in testifying (either in person or submitting written testimony), contact Robert Davis in OEA Government Relations firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
OEA Analysis of Recently Signed State Budget
OEA’s Government Relations staff has compiled an analysis of the education-related provisions included in House Bill 110, the budget for FY 2022 and FY 2023. Please click here to read the analysis. You can also download the district-by-district funding spreadsheets, as well as those for Joint Vocational Districts.
Final Budget Bill Includes Fair School Funding Plan, Pathway Out of State Takeover
On Monday, June 28, 2021, the Ohio General Assembly finished its work on House Bill 110, the state budget for FY 2022 and FY 2023. The final bill was produced by a Conference Committee that worked out the differences between the House and Senate. The final bill was passed by a vote of 32-1 in the Senate and 82-13 in the House.
Of great importance was the inclusion of the Fair School Funding Plan in the final bill. This was OEA’s top budget priority. The Fair School Funding plan was a product of years of work by policy makers and school finance experts that garnered bipartisan support. The plan is based upon the costs of providing a high-quality education. It will reduce the reliance on local property taxes. The bill directly funds charter school and voucher students, ending the pass-through funding model that deducts from local school districts. When fully implemented, it will provide a formula is student-centered, equitable, adequate, transparent, and ensures the funding needed to provide all kids the future they deserve.
Of concern is that the final budget applies the formula to only this two-year budget. Intent language to fully phase in the formula over six years and several studies to further refine aspects of the formula were removed. Clearly, our work is not over, and it will be important to continue to advocate for the resources to fully implement the Fair School Funding plan and make it historic promise a reality for Ohio’s students.
Another positive aspect of the bill was the inclusion of language that was in the Senate version establishing a pathway out of state takeover for Lorain, Youngstown, and East Cleveland. The failed state takeover law has been a harmful experiment for students, educators, and communities. The distractions and dysfunction caused by state takeovers increases the difficulty of developing comprehensive supports that help students overcome barriers to learning caused by poverty. All three districts and communities under an ADC/CEO deserve to regain local control.
On the priority issues of vouchers and charter schools the news was less welcome. The expanded eligibility for EdChoice vouchers, removal of the statewide cap and increased voucher amounts in the Senate version were retained. The Senate’s provision that allows brick and mortar charter schools to open anywhere in the state was also included. The final bill did not include language to allow charter schools to be operated by a sectarian school or religious institution. However, the bill did include tax credits of up to $1,000 on private school tuition.
The bill must be signed by Governor DeWine by June 30 and is subject to potential line-item vetoes. OEA will provide members additional information as this occurs. Fuller analysis of HB 110 will be provided over the coming weeks.
HB 82: Reworked Report Card System Contains Major Changes Called for by OEA
Eliminates A-F Letter Grades; Creates Student Opportunity Profile
The Ohio General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a reworked version of the state report card system for school districts/buildings that seeks to address numerous flaws with the current approach. The updated report card system was amended into House Bill 82, a bill supported by OEA that allows students to opt out of the statewide administration of the ACT and SAT tests in their junior year (with parental consent). House Bill 82 now heads to the Governor, who is expected to sign the bill.
The updated report card system in House Bill 82 contains major changes called for by the OEA. These include the elimination of misleading A-F letter grades beginning with the report card for the 2020-21 school year. The new rating system will be based on a five-star system (including half-stars) accompanied by trend arrows and brief explanatory descriptors. The bill also includes the creation of an ungraded Student Opportunity Profile with twenty-two indicators proposed by OEA beginning with report card for the 2022-23 school year.
A summary of the updated report card system can be found here.
Earlier this week, the Senate Finance Committee accepted an omnibus amendment House Bill (HB) 110, the state budget bill for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. The bill passed the Ohio Senate Finance Committee along party lines and passed the Ohio Senate with a vote of 25-8. Prior to passage, Senator Fedor offered an OEA supported amendment to restore the Fair School Funding Plan as passed by the Ohio House. The amendment was tabled.
The Senate version of the bill includes a provision establishing a process by which certain school districts subject to an academic distress commission (ADC) may be relieved from the oversight of its ADC. The provision applies to all districts currently with an ADC (Lorain, East Cleveland, and Youngstown) rather than just Lorain as under a previous version of the bill. OEA supports this provision.
Additionally, the Senate version of the bill appropriates $125 million in federal funds over the biennium to establish education savings accounts for after-school child enrichment. Eligible students are ages 6-18 from households with family income under 300% of poverty level. Students can attend public or private school or be homeschooled. Each eligible student would be granted $500 and provided on a first come-first served basis until funds run out. These funds can be used for expenses such as tutoring, classes, camps, field trips, etc.
As the budget heads to conference committee, OEA’s top priority remains enacting the Fair School Funding plan as passed by the Ohio House. Now is the time for Ohio’s policymakers to enact the funding for schools that our students need and deserve. It is also important that the bill include language to end academic distress commissions in Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland. Additionally, we are calling for the elimination of the voucher and charter school expansion language in the Senate’s version of the budget. OEA will continue to keep members informed throughout the process and provide ways to make your voice heard on these critical issues.
More information regarding major provisions of the omnibus amendment can be found here.
Earlier this week, the Senate Finance Committee adopted a substitute version of House Bill 110, the state budget bill for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. Disappointingly, the Senate version of the bill removes the House-passed Fair School Funding Plan (FSFP) and replaces it with a lower base per-pupil of $6,110. The Senate plan equates to a $90 per pupil increase from the per-pupil amount enacted two years ago and is considerably less than a fully phased in base per-pupil of the FSFP (statewide average is $7,200). The Senate school funding plan also fails to address any of adequacy or equity issues that have long made Ohio’s broken school funding system unconstitutional. OEA continues to advocate for the adoption of the Fair School Funding Plan that when fully phased-in would provide an additional $1.8 in funding for schools.
The Senate’s substitute version of the budget maintains the House’s action to directly fund voucher programs and charter schools. This is very positive as it will end the practice of “pass through funding” that deducts voucher amounts and charter school funding from the state funds that a district receives. This funding method has forced local taxpayers to subsidize voucher students and resulted in lower funding for public school students.
However, the Senate’s version would eliminate the current cap on EdChoice vouchers, increase the eligibility for EdChoice vouchers, and increase the maximum amount of each voucher to an amount that for high school vouchers would exceed the per pupil state aid public school students receive in 80 percent of Ohio School Districts. These changes would result in higher costs and even more taxpayer money going to private schools. OEA opposes these changes.
Other major policy highlights contained within the Senate substitute measure are outlined below:
- Removes Student Wellness and Success Funds from the school funding formula and reinstates a standalone program. Appropriates $650 million over the biennium for this purpose.
- Allows new start up charter schools to open anywhere in the state (not just “challenged districts,” i.e. the Big Eight urban districts and districts with certain “low performing” ratings on the state report card). Charters are direct funded by the state under FSFP.
- Allows charter schools to be operated by a sectarian school or religious institution or to be sectarian in their programs, admissions policies, employment practices, and all other operations.
- Includes Academic Distress Commission language from SB 165, which establishes a pathway for Lorain City Schools (does not apply to Youngstown or East Cleveland City Schools) to exit state control under the state takeover law.
- Removes a variety of educator licensure disciplinary provisions that would have undermined due process for license holders.
Provides a 5% income tax cut over the biennium resulting in a loss of $874 million in income tax revenue. Losing this revenue will hamstring Ohio’s ability to adequately fund our schools and other important programs.
- Eliminates the provision from the Executive budget that would have required students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to graduate.
- Permits parents to opt-out of the administration of the ACT/SAT starting with the class of 2026.
- Permits students to use relevant final course grades of B or higher to qualify for citizenship or science diploma seals.
New district funding spreadsheets (School district and JVSD) produced by the Ohio Legislative Services Commission (LSC) detailing the Senate funding plan are available. Additionally, you may see how the current school funding system affects your district and how much better districts would fare under the Fair School Funding Plan at https://www.allinforohiokids.com/
HB 110 is expected to have additional amendments and a vote next week in the Ohio Senate.
OEA Testifies in Support of Testing Reduction Legislation
This week, OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing and several other OEA members testified in support of House Bill 73. The bill is designed to help reduce the amount of standardized testing for Ohio’s students to allow more time for teaching and learning in the classroom.
Wensing highlighted OEA’s enthusiastic support for HB 73 including provisions that would reduce the number of state-required tests, establish district workgroups to review the amount of district-required testing, and eliminate the retention provisions of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. You can read the testimony here.
OEA members Dan Heintz (Chardon EA) and Rob Schofield (Avon Lake EA) also testified as proponents of the bill. Written testimony was also provided by Erin Stevens (Pickerington EA), Kara Jankowski (West Carrollton EA), and Matthew Jablonski (Elyria EA). If you would like information on providing testimony in support of HB 73, contact OEA lobbyist Robert Davis at email@example.com
SB 145 – OEA Provides Senate Education Committee Feedback on Report Card Bill
Bills under consideration in the House (HB 200) and Senate (SB 145) seek to address numerous flaws with the current state report card system for school districts and buildings.
OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing provided “Interested Party” testimony on SB 145 in Senate Education Committee on May 11, 2021. Mr. Wensing stated the report card proposals in SB 145 and HB 200 demonstrate broad consensus it is time to make significant and meaningful changes in the interest of students, families, and communities. A copy of the OEA SB 145 testimony can be viewed here.
Major OEA priorities include eliminating misleading letter grades, ending the use of overall grades (which are inherently over-simplified), and adding a Student Opportunity Profile that allows schools to provide report-only data for equity and access indicators that can be plainly understood by all users of the report card, including parents, the public and policymakers.
Mr. Wensing recognized positive elements of SB 145, but stated HB 200 most aligns to the Report Card Proposal adopted by OEA RA delegates in 2019 and therefore has the support of OEA.
SB 1 – Ohio Senate Unanimously Passes Half-credit Financial Literacy Requirement
SB 1 would create a half-credit financial literacy requirement for high school students. The Ohio Senate unanimously passed SB 1 on May 12, 2021. OEA is monitoring SB 1.
SB 1 would do the following:
- Requires students who enter ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2021, to complete at least one-half unit of instruction in financial literacy as part of the required high school curriculum.
- Allows flexibility to provide the equivalent of a half-credit of instruction in financial literacy through currently offered courses or as a standalone course.
- Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, each public school and chartered nonpublic school must require an individual to have an educator license validation in financial literacy to provide instruction in financial literacy in high school.
- Requires the State Board of Education to consult with an advisory committee of at least five classroom teachers prior to adopting any rules regarding the license validation. The teacher advisory committee must include a representative of each of the following: (1) the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics, (2) the Ohio Council for the Social Studies, (3) the Ohio Business Educators Association, and (4) the Ohio Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences.
- Requires each district or school to cover any costs necessary for a teacher employed by a district or school to meet the additional requirements for the license validation. The bill establishes the High School Financial Literacy Fund to reimburse districts and schools for covering the costs of teachers obtaining a license validation. Allocates an initial $1.5 million to ODE for the reimbursement fund.
Testing Reduction Legislation to Receive Proponent Testimony
House Bill 73 is jointly sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Erica Crawley (D- Columbus). The bill is aimed at reducing the testing load on Ohio’s students. The bill is similar to HB 239 from the last General Assembly, the Testing Reduction Act, which passed the House 78-14 but was not taken up by the Senate. OEA strongly supports the bill.
The major provisions of HB 73 include:
- Eliminates the Fall administration of the third grade ELA test and student retention provisions of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
- Beginning with the class of 2024, reduces the number of end-of-course exams to four by combining the American History and American Government exams.
- Requires each school district to establish a workgroup made up of teachers, parents, and administrators to examine the amount of time students spend on district-required testing and make recommendations on how to reduce testing.
- Permits districts to exceed statutory testing limitations through passage of an annual resolution after considering recommendations from the testing work group.
- Eliminates taking the ACT/SAT as a graduation requirement and makes student participation voluntary.
- Requires ODE to issue an annual report on the amount of time students spend on state and district required testing.
The bill is likely to receive proponent testimony next week before the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee. If you are interested in supporting the bill by providing written testimony, contact Robert Davis in OEA Government Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Ohio House Passes State Budget Bill
On Tuesday, April 20, the Ohio House Finance Committee made further changes to the state budget bill, via the omnibus amendment, before sending the measure (Substitute HB 110) to the full House.
After House floor deliberations on Wednesday, April 21, the Ohio House passed the bill by a vote of 70-27. New district funding spreadsheets produced by the Ohio Legislative Services Commission (LSC) detailing the House-passed version are available here. It is important to note, that we are halfway through the state budget process and that the spreadsheets could change. In addition, because the legislature is phasing in the plan, there are going to be occasionally odd results showing some districts doing better than others. That is the nature of phasing in a new school funding plan, which is why we are pushing for a quicker implementation of the plan so these incongruities are minimized.
Details of the major policy changes contained within the omnibus amendment are outlined below.
- Requires, for purposes of calculating the formula transition supplement for city, local, exempted village, and joint vocational school districts paid under the substitute bill, that a district’s foundation aid is calculated before any state budget reductions ordered by the Governor.
- Extends a provision of the introduced bill requiring that the tangible personal property supplement payment amount to be paid to school districts that have a nuclear power plant located in their territory should be no less than the amount that was paid to them in fiscal year 2017. This change extends the supplement through 2026.
- Allows for parental opt out for students taking the ACT/SAT for those who enter 9th grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2022.
- Authorizes the State Teachers Retirement Board to adopt a policy that allows Board members to attend Board meetings by means of teleconference or video conference. Requires, that at least one-third of the Board members must be present in person where the meeting is being held.
- Prohibits automatic closure of community schools on the basis of any report card rating issued prior to the 2022-2023 school year.
- For the 2021-2022 school year only, waives the requirement that a community school automatically withdraw any student who without legitimate excuse fails to participate in seventy-two consecutive hours of learning opportunities.
- Requires the Department of Education to submit to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) any proposed changes to the Education Management Information System (EMIS) or the Department’s business rules and policies that may affect community schools.
- Requires JCARR to hold public hearings regarding the proposed rule changes, consider testimony provided at those hearings, and vote to determine whether community schools can reasonably comply with the proposed changes.
- Prohibits the Department from implementing any changes to EMIS or the Department’s business rules and policies that may affect community schools without JCARR’s determination that those schools can reasonably comply with the proposed changes.
- Changes the deadline for the Department of Education’s report on the pilot program for dropout recovery e-schools to December 31, 2022 (from December 31, 2023, as under the substitute bill). This pilot program was created under H.B. 123 of the 133rd General Assembly, and that bill required the report to be submitted by December 31, 2021.
Restores the use of a single line item to make State Share of Instruction (SSI) formula payments for universities and regional campuses and community and technical colleges.
DRC Reentry Employment Grants
Earmarks $275,000 in each fiscal year from GRF appropriation item 503321, Parole and Community Operations, to create and implement a program to award grants to at least one nonprofit organization that operates reentry employment programs that meet certain criteria. Requires the Department to establish guidelines, procedures, grant application forms, and outcome-based criteria upon which performance is evaluated. (Sec. 383.10)
OEA President DiMauro Testifies on Budget Bill in Ohio Senate
On Thursday, OEA President Scott DiMauro testified before Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee to present OEA’s views on school funding, academic distress commissions, graduation requirements, and other proposed policy changes contained within the budget bill. You can read his testimony here.
Ohio House Finance Committee Accepts Substitute Budget Bill
On Tuesday, April 13, the Ohio House Finance Committee adopted a substitute version of House Bill (HB) 110, the state budget bill for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022 and 2023.
Notably, the substitute measure includes the Fair School Funding Plan formula (House Bill 1) with some adjustments outlined below. The Plan will continue to be phased-in over a six-year period – with $4.5 billion in American Recovery Act funds put on top of the additional state aid included during the phase in period, which helps to ease the transition to the new formula. The bill also eliminates separate funding for the Success and Wellness program, currently funded outside of the funding formula, merging those funds into the Fair School Funding Plan. With this change, the substitute bill ensures that all districts in this budget cycle will receive from the state an amount equal to at least the sum of their total FY 2019 formula aid plus total FY 2021 Success and Wellness Funds.
The substitute bill removes the requirement that each student, as a condition of graduation, provide evidence of having completed and submitted a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). OEA supports this change. Additionally, the measure retains the Executive Budget proposal, supported by OEA, that prohibits the Superintendent of Public Instruction from establishing new academic distress commissions (ADCs) for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.
OEA Government Relations staff is currently reviewing the language in the substitute bill and will provide additional details as they become available. District runs are not currently available. HB 110 is expected to have additional amendments and a vote next week in the Ohio House.
You may view a summary of the major changes included in the substitute budget bill here.
OEA Submits Testimony in Opposition to Bill to Alter Training Requirements for Armed School Staff
On Thursday, April 15, 2021, the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing for opposition testimony on House Bill 99. OEA President Scott DiMauro submitted testimony in opposition, as well as over 130 other opponent witnesses, but only four witnesses were given the opportunity to testify in person. OEA President DiMauro was not one of the four. The Chair stated that time constraints of the committee hearing necessitated limiting the number of witnesses, and that there would be future opportunities for individuals to testify on the bill.
The bill would exempt a “person authorized to go armed within a school safety zone” from satisfactorily completing an approved basic peace officer training program. This would reverse the 2020 12th District Court of Appeals ruling on Gabbard v. Madison Local School Dist. Bd. of Edn., 2020-Ohio-1180, that is now pending in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Further, House Bill 99 would prescribe no state training requirements for armed school personnel outside of Ohio’s concealed carry training, assuming that school staff are carrying concealed. This training is 8 hours, 6 of which can be completed online.
OEA opposes the legislation. The safety of Ohio’s students and school staff necessitates increased training requirements for armed personnel not fewer. You can read his full testimony here.
HB 200 – OEA Provides Committee Testimony Regarding Report Card Reform Bill
OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing provided testimony to the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee this week regarding HB 200. The bill is designed to address numerous flaws with the current state report card system for school districts/buildings. OEA testimony highlighted priorities such as eliminating misleading A-F letter grades and adding a “Student Opportunity Profile” with indicators that help districts/buildings demonstrate their offerings and support for students beyond test-based measures. HB 200 is bi-partisan legislation joint sponsored by Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon). The OEA HB 200 testimony is available here.
SB 165 – Establishes Process to Release Lorain City Schools from ADC
Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) has introduced legislation (SB 165) that would establish a process for Lorain City Schools to be released from state control under the HB 70 Academic Distress Commission/CEO system. Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee Chair Andrew Brenner is co-sponsoring the bill. OEA is seeking an amendment that would also apply the bill to Youngstown and East Cleveland City Schools.
House Bill 67 Advances to the Governor
The Ohio Senate amended and passed House Bill 67 this week. The bill, which deals with high school graduation and testing flexibility, was passed by a vote of 32-1 on the Senate floor. The Ohio House concurred with the amendments made by the Senate by a vote of 96-0. Importantly, the final bill does include an emergency clause and will go into effect immediately upon being signed into law by the Governor.
Key changes made by the Senate include adding an additional graduation pathway for this year’s seniors; limiting the ability to use course grades in lieu of test scores for the purposes of high school graduation to this year’s 11th and 12th graders; and reinserting the emergency clause. OEA supports HB 67 as it will offer increased flexibility for high school students who have had their learning experience disrupted to progress towards graduation. However, OEA is disappointed that the flexibility was limited to 11th and 12th grade students. A summary of key provisions of the bill is below:
- Permit juniors and seniors to use course grades in lieu of test scores on end-of-course exams from the 2020-21 school year to satisfy conditions for a high school diploma
- Permit schools to grant a diploma this year to a senior student who is on track to graduate and for whom the principal, in consultation with teachers and counselors, determines the student has successfully completed high school curriculum or individualized education program
- Creates another graduation pathway for the 2020-21 school year only. Student must complete all required courses and earn the OhioMeansJobs-readiness seal
- Exempt schools from administering the state required American history end-of-course exam
- Extend testing windows later in the school year and requires deadline extensions related to assessments
- Require ODE to seek a waiver from federal accountability and school identification requirements
- Extend back the deadline for school district/building report cards to October 14
HB 200: Report Card Overhaul Receives First Hearing Sponsor Testimony
Reps. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Phil Robinson (D-Solon) provided HB 200 sponsor testimony in House Education Committee on March 16, 2021. This was the first committee hearing on HB 200.
HB 200 makes strong progress with regard to replacing misleading A-F letter grades with a series of measures (Achievement/Progress/Equity/Early Literacy) that use expectations/needs-based ratings as follows: “significantly exceeds expectations,” “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “significantly approaching expectations,” “moderately approaching expectations” and “in need of support.” Overall performance ratings of school districts and buildings are prohibited under the bill.
OEA is taking an “Interested Party” position on HB 200 and will be engaging with legislators and other stakeholders to support areas of progress while recommending additional improvements
OEA Testifies in Support of HB 67
On Tuesday, March 9, 2021, OEA President Scott DiMauro testified in support of Substitute House Bill 67. The bill would allow high school students to use course grades instead of scores on end-of-course exams given this year for the purposes of high school graduation. Further, the bill would allow local education officials to make graduation decisions for seniors who are on track to graduate this year and provide additional testing flexibility.
The bill passed the House last week by a wide margin but without an emergency clause that is needed for it to have its intended effect. DiMauro asked the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee to pass the bill quickly and re-insert the emergency clause. You can read his full testimony here. The bill is expected to have an additional hearing and possible vote next week.
HB 200: Bi-Partisan Report Card Bill Would Eliminate A-F Letter Grades
Reps. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and Phil Robinson (D-Solon) have introduced legislation to improve Ohio’s state report card system. HB 200 bill has 58 co-sponsors and is expected to receive serious consideration in the Ohio House of Representatives.
HB 200 would replace misleading A-F letter grades with a series of measures that use expectations/needs-based ratings as follows: “significantly exceeds expectations,” “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “significantly approaching expectations,” “moderately approaching expectations” and “in need of support.” Overall performance ratings of school districts and buildings are prohibited under the bill.
While the proposal keeps the flawed value-added student growth measure, it seeks to make improvements in how the measure is used. The State Board of Education would also be permitted to replace value-added with a different growth measure. Other areas for improvement in the bill include adding a Student Opportunity Profile that allows districts to report information about education programs, extracurricular activities, student supports, staffing ratios and other pertinent information about the district/building.
OEA is taking an “Interested Party” position on HB 200 and will be engaging with legislators and other stakeholders to support areas of progress while recommending specific improvements.
Revamped Testing Bill Heads to Senate
On Thursday, March 4, 2021, a substitute version of House Bill 67 was voted out of the House and will head to the Senate. The bill addresses state testing for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. The bill passed 93-1. However, the bill’s emergency clause did not have sufficient votes with most House Democrats voting against the measure. Without an emergency clause the bill will not take effect for 90 days, after the end of the school year.
The new version of the bill emerged in committee this week after the announcement that the U.S. Department of Education would not grant waivers of federal testing requirements. The new version of HB 67 would do the following:
- For the 2020-21 school year, permits students to use course grade in lieu of scores on end-of-course exams to satisfy conditions for a high school diploma
- Permits schools to grant a diploma in the 2021 school year to a student on track to graduate and for whom the principal, in consultation with teachers and counselors, determines the student has successfully completed high school curriculum or individualized education program
- Exempts schools from administering the state required American history end-of-course exam
- Extends testing windows later in the school year and requires deadline extensions related to assessments
- Requires ODE to seek a waiver from federal accountability and school identification requirements
- Pushes back the deadline for school district/building report cards to October 14
OEA supports HB 67. The lack of a federal waiver of testing requirements was hugely disappointing. However, HB 67 attempts to make the best of a bad situation. The bill offers some additional flexibility and, importantly makes sure that test results on this year’s end-of-course exams are not a barrier to graduation. Even those who support testing have stated that this year’s tests shouldn’t be tied to punitive measures or high-stakes decisions. For our high school students, their pathway to graduation has incredibly high stakes. HB 67 will need to pass as an emergency measure in order to have an impact. HB 67 is scheduled for its first hearing in the Senate on Tuesday and OEA will testify in support of the bill.
HB 151: Eliminates Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA)
Recently introduced HB 151 would eliminate the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA). In separate legislation passed at the end of last year, the Ohio Teacher Residency Program and Resident Educator license was reduced to two years from four years (Effective April 12, 2023; HB 442-133rd G.A.*).
In addition to eliminating RESA, HB 151 would require Local Professional Development Committees (LPDCs) to establish a 2-year mentorship program that “reflects on instructional practices, an introduction to the teaching profession and the school district or school, as well as any other topic determined appropriate by the committee.” Each new teacher would be assigned a mentor teacher that has at least 5 years of experience and has renewed their professional license at least once. Finally, the bill requires each school district to give one day of professional development to new teachers in each of those two years to observe a veteran teacher in action in the classroom.
HB 151 is sponsored by Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) and co-sponsored by Reps. Joe Miller (D-Amherst), Jeffrey LaRe (R-Canal Winchester), Jon Cross (R-Kenton), D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron), and Adam Bird (R-Cincinnati).
* HB 442 (133rd G.A.) reduces the duration of both the resident educator license and the Ohio Teacher Residency program to two years from four years effective April 12, 2023. The State Board of Education must determine a method to condense the four-year Teacher Residency program into a two-year program, including a timeframe by which individuals already enrolled shall complete the program.
HB 6: School Nurse License Changes for Make Up Hours Educator Preparation Program
School nurses and ODE pupil services licenses: Provides that a licensed registered nurse is not required to obtain a pupil services license from the Ohio Department of Education to work in schools if the nurse also holds a bachelor’s degree (but the bachelor’s degree is not required to be in nursing).
Educator preparation program make up hours and weeks: Requires each educator preparation program to develop and implement a plan to provide its students with alternative experiences, assignments, or instruction in the 2021-2022 academic year to make up any hours or weeks of clinical experiences missed due to school closure or limited hours because of COVID-19.
OEA Testifies in Support of Bill to Fix School Funding
On Thursday, February 25, 2021, OEA President Scott DiMauro offered proponent testimony before the House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education for House Bill 1. House Bill 1 contains the Fair School Funding Plan. The Fair School Funding Plan passed the Ohio House by a vote of 87-9 at the end of 2020, but the Senate did not consider the bill before the legislative session ended.
The Fair School Funding Plan seeks to base decision making on identifiable student needs and the actual cost of providing a high-quality education. The funding plan would provide an additional $1.99 billion more in state aid annually when fully phased in and provides about 70% of the increased funds to the poorest urban, small town, and rural districts in the state. The plan would also end the use of gain caps and would reduce the number of districts from the state’s funding guarantee to fewer than 10 of Ohio’s 609 districts. Additionally, the bill direct funds charters and vouchers, rather than the current pass-through funding system.
Click here to read OEA President Scott DiMauro’s testimony.
HB 67 Stalls Amid Federal Testing Announcement
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education announced that they would not be granting waivers allowing states to forego annual testing this year. While the announcement included flexibility about when and how the tests are administered and how the data may be used; testing will go forward. This is hugely disappointing news as Ohio educators have been vocal about the need to focus on classroom instruction and meeting student needs rather than spending time on standardized tests.
This announcement came a day before the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee was poised to pass House Bill 67. HB 67, sponsored by Representatives Adam Bird (R- Cincinnati) and Kyle Koehler (R- Springfield), calls for waiving state required tests and requiring the Ohio Department of Education to seek a waiver of federally mandated tests for this school year. The bill also allows high schoolers to use their course grades in lieu of test scores for the purpose of high school graduation.
OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing testified in support of HB 67. Click here to read his testimony. Additionally, over 6,300 OEA members took action in support of HB 67. There was broad support in the House to pass the bill, however, the Ohio Senate and Governor DeWine were likely roadblocks to keep the bill from being signed into law.
OEA remains supportive of the provisions of HB 67 related to waiving state testing above the federal minimum requirements (high school end of course exams in American History and American Government) and allowing class grades to be used for high school graduation. These provisions may move forward in an amended version of HB 67 or in separate legislation. We will keep members updated as the situation develops.
Bills Introduced to Waive Spring Testing for This School Year
One of OEA’s legislative priorities for this General Assembly is secure legislation to forego state and federally mandated testing for this school year. The administration of standardized tests is logistically challenging and anxiety-inducing under the best of circumstances. Of course, this year has been anything but the best of circumstances for our members and Ohio’s students. Testing this year would not provide reliable data and would only serve to take away meaningful time from classroom instruction and meeting the needs of students.
Two bills have been introduced that would waive state-required end-of-course exams and require the Ohio Department of Education to seek a waiver of federally required testing. Note that achievement tests administered in grades K-8, as well as one high school test in math, English language arts, and science, are federally required. The US Department of Education has yet to announce a testing waiver, but this may be forthcoming.
House Bill 67, sponsored by Representatives Adam Bird (R- Cincinnati) and Kyle Koehler (R- Springfield), and House Bill 40, sponsored by Representatives Lisa Sobecki (D- Toledo) and Jeffrey Crossman (D- Parma), both received sponsor testimony in the House Education Committee on Tuesday. All the sponsors noted the importance of focusing on teaching and learning rather than testing what remains of the 2020-21 school year. Rep. Koehler noted the urgency of passing having the bill signed into law with an emergency clause by early March in order to have a practical impact. However, Senate President Matt Huffman (R- Lima) has indicated he favors keeping testing in place this school year.
OEA strongly supports legislation to waive testing this year. Click here to take action and urge your legislators to support HB 67. If you are interested in providing written testimony in support of the bill contact OEA Lobbyist Robert Davis at email@example.com
SB 1 – Requires Half-Unit Financial Literacy Course for High School Students
SB 1 requires students who enter ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2021, to complete a half-unit course in financial literacy. The bill received first hearing sponsor testimony in the Ohio Senate Education Committee on February 2, 2021. Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, any licensed teacher who receives a validation in financial literacy is eligible to teach the stand-alone half credit in financial literacy. The State Board of Education must consult with an advisory committee of at least five classroom teachers prior to adopting any rules regarding the license validation.
To view an SB 1 bill summary, click here.
HB 54: Repeals Academic Distress Commissions (State Takeovers)
Rep. Joe Miller (D-Amherst) and Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) provided HB 54 sponsor testimony to the Ohio House Education Committee on February 9, 2020. HB 54 would repeal the failed state takeover law and return local control to school districts in Youngstown, Lorain, and East Cleveland. HB 54 is the same bill that passed the Ohio House of Representatives 83-12 in 2019 (under bill number HB 154). In addition to HB 54, a second bill HB 100 (R-G.Manning/D-K.Smith) has been introduced that would also dissolve academic distress commissions and repeal the state takeover law. OEA supports both bills.
On Monday, February 1, 2021, Governor DeWine released his second Executive Budget Blue Book detailing his plans for the state budget for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022 and 2023. The administration’s main focus is utilizing $1 billion in one-time funds for the “Investing in Ohio Initiative” that would provide $250 million to enhance broadband access and support small businesses and other businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, of note, the governor does not tap into the $2.7 billion Rainy Day Fund.
Below is a review of the governor’s proposal. 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 district-by-district spreadsheets. OEA Government Relations staff will share additional information as it becomes available.
DeWine’s budget proposal continues to fund the Student Wellness and Success Funds which he created in his last budget. This proposal provides an additional $100 million in each fiscal year for a total of $1.1 billion over the biennium for districts to support students by providing mental health counseling, wraparound services, mentoring, and other supports to address student needs. These funds will continue to be provided to school districts outside of the school funding formula. The funding formula is frozen at current levels.
What is noticeably absent from his budget proposal is a plan to address the state’s unconstitutional school funding formula. OEA will continue to encourage state lawmakers to include the Fair School Funding Plan which received overwhelming bi-partisan support in the House at the end of the last session and represents years of work and compromise to finally deliver an equitable and constitutional funding system.
- The proposal eliminates the $20 million school bus purchase program that was established in FY 2021.
- The budget provides $20.5 million in each fiscal year (a 412% increase from FY 21) to support over 70,000 high school students to earn industry-recognized credentials and support the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program.
- The proposal increases the income-based EdChoice voucher fund by 8.4% ($7.1 million) for an appropriation of $92 million per year.
- The budget transfers the Quality Community Support funding from the Lottery Profits Fund to the General Revenue Fund and appropriates $54 million in each fiscal year (an 80% increase over FY 21 levels). This fund was created in the last budget to provide additional per-pupil funding for the highest performing charter schools.
Higher Education (HE)
Developmental Disabilities (DD)
|Medicaid Services||FY 2022 – $637.0 million – 11.5% increase
FY 2023 – $707.0 million – 11.0% increase
*According to the Blue Book the increased appropriations in this line item for FYs 2022 and 2023 is primarily attributable to the receipt of an enhanced federal medical assistance percentage (eFMAP) associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency. This additional federal reimbursement artificially reduced GRF Medicaid Services spending as additional costs were shifted to federal funding sources. The elimination of this additional revenue skews year-over-growth as expenditures shift back to the GRF.
Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC)
|Institution Education Services||FY 2022 – $34.9 million – 2.9% increase
FY 2023 – $35.7 million – 2.2% increase
|Education Services||FY 2022 – $4.6 million – 0% increase
FY 2023 – $4.6 million – 0% increase
|Prisoner Programs||FY 2022 – $400k – 0% increase
FY 2023 – $400k – 0% increase
|GRF Total (State Funding)||FY 2022 – $1.95 billion – 3.8% increase
FY 2023 – $2.02 billion – 3.8% increase
|All Funds DRC||FY 2022 – $2.04 billion – 0.4% increase
FY 2023 – $2.1 billion – 2.7% increase
Department of Youth Services (DYS)
State School for the Blind
|GRF Total (State Funding)||FY 2022 – $12.6 million – 4.0% increase
FY 2023 – $12.8 million – 1.6% increase
|All Funds||FY 2022 – $14.3 million – 0.4% increase
FY 2023 – $14.5 million – 1.4% increase
Ohio School for the Deaf
The Ohio House of Representative reintroduced the Fair School Funding Plan as House Bill 1. The Fair School Funding Plan (FSFP), which was passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in the Ohio House during the last legislative session, would enact a student-centered school funding formula that is equitable, adequate, predictable, and that ensures that all students have the resources to succeed regardless of where they live or their family’s income. The FSFP would provide an additional $1.99 billion in state aid when fully phased in and provides about 70% of the increased funds to the poorest urban, small town, and rural districts in the state. Importantly, it would finally fix the state’s broken funding system, which was ruled unconstitutional decades ago by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1997’s landmark DeRolph v. State of Ohio ruling.
Following testimony from the non-partisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC) estimating nearly a billion dollars more in tax revenue over the next biennium than Governor Mike DeWine’s executive spending plan budgeted for, OEA is calling on the General Assembly to take up and approve the Fair School Funding Plan immediately.
SB 1: Requires Half Unit of Financial Literacy for High School Graduation
SB 1 received first hearing proponent testimony this week in the Ohio Senate Education Committee.
SB 1 requires students who enter ninth grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2021, to complete at least one-half unit of instruction in financial literacy as part of the required high school curriculum (this is in addition to current law that requires the social studies curriculum to include financial literacy). High school graduation requires 20 credits. In order to help make space for a half unit of financial literacy requirement, the bill adjusts high school elective credits from 5 to 4.5.
Further, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, a license validation in financial literacy is required to provide the half unit of instruction in financial literacy (this requirement does not apply to social studies teachers who teach financial literacy as part of the ongoing social studies curriculum). The State Board of Education must consult with an advisory committee of at least five classroom teachers prior to adopting any rules regarding the license validation for teaching a half credit course in financial literacy.
Each district or school is required to cover any costs necessary for an individual employed by a district or school to meet the additional requirements for the license validation, and permits a district or school to seek reimbursement of the license validation costs from the Ohio Department of Education.
2019-2020 | 133rd Ohio General Assembly
HB 409 – Ohio Senate Passes More Covid-19 School Flexibility Measures
The Ohio Senate passed more Covid-19 school flexibility measures supported by OEA this week (12.17.20). The Ohio House still needs to concur with Senate changes to House Bill 409.
HB 409 would do the following:
- Suspends report card letter grades for the 2020-21 school year.
- Establishes a safe harbor from penalties and sanctions for school districts and schools based on the state report card data for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Exempts for the 2020-2021 school year schools from retaining a student under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee based solely on the student’s academic performance in reading, unless the student’s principal and reading teacher determine the student is not reading at grade level and is not prepared for fourth grade.
For a summary and status of recent legislation with Covid-19 flexibility provisions, click here.
HB 442 – Reduces Resident Educator License to 2 years and Eliminates Certain Licenses
Before passing HB 442 this week (12.17.20), the Ohio Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee added language that would do the following:
- Eliminates the requirement that individuals hold a substitute license from the state board of education.
- No longer require a separate pupil services license from the state board of education for certain individuals already licensed by another professional board (i.e. school speech language pathologists, audiologists, school nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and social workers).
- Requires the State Board of Education to determine a method to condense the four-year Teacher Residency program into a two-year program, including a timeframe by which individuals already enrolled in the program will complete the program.
For a summary of HB 442, click here.
Ohio House Passes Bill to Address School Funding Crisis OEA Urges Ohio Senate to Act
Yesterday, the Ohio House passed Substitute House Bill 305, better known as the Fair School Funding Plan, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 87-9 – more than 90% of the House approved it. OEA has long advocated for state lawmakers to address the shortcomings of Ohio’s school funding system. The Fair School Funding Plan seeks to base decision making on identifiable student needs and the actual cost of providing a high-quality education.
The funding plan would provide an additional $1.99 billion more in state aid when fully phased in and provides about 70% of the increased funds to the poorest urban, small town, and rural districts in the state, which could lead to a greatly reduced need for levies to fund schools. The plan would also end the use of gain caps and would reduce the number of districts from the state’s funding guarantee to fewer than 10 of Ohio’s 613 districts. Additionally, the bill direct funds charters and vouchers, rather than the current pass-through funding system.
Please contact your Ohio Senator here to urge their support of HB 305, a funding formula that will ensure that Ohio’s students are given the state resources needed to succeed regardless of where they live.
Senate Concurs with House Changes to OEA Opposed Senate Bill 40
Senate Bill 40, regarding free speech on college campuses, has been sent to Governor DeWine for his consideration. OEA is opposed to the bill and believes that the legislation is unnecessary. Ohio’s public colleges and universities recognize the 1st Amendment, the exercise of Freedom of Expression and Speech, as a central tenant of higher education. From the 1970s and onward, our colleges and universities have adopted policies and procedures to protect this critical right.
Additionally, OEA is concerned about the increased costs that universities would incur as a result of the bill’s passage. Senate Bill 40 would deem that all outdoor spaces on campuses are public forums for expression, potentially resulting in safety concerns. The bill provides no state funding to protect students and staff, such as the need for increased campus security, that would be needed to enforce the provisions of the bill.
SB 358 – Senate Education Committee Passes Flexibility Provisions for Testing, Graduation, State Report Cards & Pathway Out for ADC Districts
The Ohio General Assembly continues to consider additional flexibility provisions for students, educators, and schools in response to ongoing Covid-19 challenges.
In addition to the OEA supported flexibility provisions for evaluations and licenses in recently passed House Bill 404 (effective 11.23.2020; see OEA Legislative Watch 11.20.20), the Ohio Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 358 (R-Nathan Manning/D-Teresa Fedor) this week by a vote of 8-1 (No vote by Sen. Bill Colley-R).
- OEA supports Senate Bill 358 (as passed by Senate Education Committee). In part, the bill would:
- Prohibit state report card grades in 2020-21
- Allows students to use final course grade instead of score on end-of-course exams for the purposes of high school graduation if the test is cancelled in 2020-21.
- If US Dept. of Education offers a testing waiver, allows state Superintendent to apply after consultation with stakeholder groups (including OEA).
- Establishes a three-person committee (Governor/designee, House Education Chair, and Senate Education Chair) to review proposals submitted by boards of education under ADC control. If ADC review committee approves a proposal, state Superintendent must also approve.
To see a complete summary of Senate Bill 358, click HERE.
HB 367 – Ohio House Passes Job Description Protections for Guidance Counselors
The Ohio House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 367 (R-Susan Manchester/D-Jessica Miranda) by a vote of 76-10. The bill has been assigned to Senate Education Committee.
OEA supports House Bill 367 and provided proponent testimony in the Ohio House Education Committee. To view the OEA testimony click HERE.
HB 367 requires the Ohio Department of Education to make specified recommendations for a job description for school counselors employed by public schools. These recommendations must be based on the standards for school counselors most recently adopted by the State Board of Education, which specify that 80% of school counselor duties must be direct and indirect services to students and 20% of school counselor duties must be program planning and school support activities. Under the bill, school districts must consider these recommendations when preparing job descriptions and assigning duties to school counselors. The bill also requires at least one ODE employee to serve as a liaison for school counselors across the state.
House Bill 404 – Additional Flexibility for Schools, Student and Educators Due to Covid-19
The Ohio General Assembly has extended flexibility provisions impacting evaluations, licenses, assessments, health screenings, food processing program registration, retirant re-employment, college credit plus and electronic meetings by public bodies.
House Bill 404 (R-Manchester/D-Sweeney) received final approval from the General Assembly on November 19, 2020. The bill will be effective immediately upon being signed by the Governor. To see a summary of House Bill 404, click HERE.
Legislature Makes Changes to EdChoice Eligibility
Earlier this year, the House and Senate were at an impasse over EdChoice vouchers as over 1,200 buildings were set to become voucher eligible based on flawed school report cards. Unable to reach a long-term agreement, a freeze in eligibility was enacted carrying the 2019-2020 list of 517 schools forward for the 2020-2021 school year.
This week the General Assembly made changes to eligibility for the EdChoice voucher program. The changes were made by a conference committee for Senate Bill 89. Previously, the House-passed version of SB 89 contained many positive provisions including moving away from pass-through funding of vouchers and dissolution of existing academic distress commissions in Youngstown, Lorain and East Cleveland. These provisions were removed in conference committee. Instead, new voucher eligibility criteria was put in place that expands EdChoice beyond its current levels, but smaller than the more than 1,200 schools that would be eligible next school year without a change.
The conference committee report was passed by the Senate (23-8) and House (51-36).
OEA opposed the final version of SB 89 as reported by the conference committee as it removed positive aspects of the bill passed by the House and increases voucher eligibility beyond 2020-2021 levels. Vouchers drain needed resources from the 90% of students who attend public schools. Diverting resources from public schools has real consequences such as larger class sizes and reduced opportunities for students. Additionally, recent analysis by the Cincinnati Enquirer shows that in nearly 9 of 10 cases, the public school district outperforms their private school voucher students on comparable state tests that both groups of students take. Further, SB 89 does nothing to address the problem of pass-through funding that deducts voucher amounts from state aid to school districts, thereby eroding local budgets.
Below is a summary of the provisions of SB 89 related to vouchers:
- Cap: Retains the current cap on number of EdChoice vouchers (60,000 total vouchers with a trigger to increase the cap by 5% the following year if applications reach 90% of the cap)
- Performance-Based Eligibility: Deletes the current criteria for a school to be EdChoice eligible based on report card performance (“D” or “F” on performance index two out of last three years; graduation rate of under 75% etc.)
- Performance-Based Eligibility: Changes performance-based eligibility to a list of schools that meet both of the following:
- Are in a school district with at least 20% Title I eligible students on average over the past three years; and
- The building was in ranked in the lowest 20% of buildings on the performance index
- For 2021-22 and the following year, lowest 20% for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years
- For 2023-24, lowest 20% for both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years
- For 2024-25 and beyond, lowest 20% for two out of three of the most recent years
- Grandfathering: Current EdChoice voucher recipients maintain their eligibility to renew through 12th grade
- Grandfathering: Students who were eligible for an EdChoice voucher this school year based on the current (frozen) school-based eligibility list (2019-2020 list of 517 buildings)
- Income-Based Eligibility: Increases the threshold of eligibility for the income-based EdChoice voucher from 200% of poverty to 250% of poverty. ($65,500 for a family of four). The income-based voucher is paid directly by the state and available statewide.
Bill to Alter Training Requirements for Armed School Staff Passes Ohio Senate
This week, Senate Bill 317 (Coley-Liberty Township) passed the Ohio Senate 21-11. The bill seeks to reverse the recent 12th District Court of Appeals ruling on Gabbard v. Madison Local School Dist. Bd. of Edn., 2020-Ohio-1180, regarding training requirements for arming school staff. This decision is on appeal at the Ohio Supreme Court.
Specifically, the bill would exempt district staff authorized by local school boards of education to carry concealed firearms from a requirement that peace officer basic training be obtained. OEA opposes the legislation. The safety of Ohio’s students and school staff necessitates increased training requirements for armed personnel not fewer.
The bill now heads to the Ohio House for consideration.
Senate Introduces School Funding Legislation
This week, Senators Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) introduced Senate Bill 376 companion legislation to House Bill 305, better known as The Fair School Funding Plan. The plan represents more than two years 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.
OEA believes Ohio’s current school funding formula is a patchwork of band aids that fails to provide adequate funding. It is neither functional nor driven by what constitutes a high-quality education. The Fair School Funding Plan seeks to base decision making on identifiable student needs and the actual cost of providing a high-quality education. The plan direct funds charter school and voucher students rather than the current district pass-through system. Additionally, the proposal ends the use of gain caps and reduce the number of districts that rely on a funding guarantee.
Due to the advocacy efforts of OEA and other education organizations, changes were made to previous versions of the House bill that would direct 70% of the increased money to the poorest types of school districts. The plan has a projected six-year phase-in and would provide more than $1.9 billion in state funding for K-12 education.
OEA Testifies in Support of Bill to Waive Testing, Report Card Ratings
On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing offered proponent testimony before the Senate Education Committee for Senate Bill 358. SB 358 is bipartisan legislation that seeks to waive testing requirements, state report card ratings and several other provisions of law in response to the ongoing pandemic. Senate Bill 358 is jointly sponsored by Senators Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo). The bill would provide additional flexibility to school districts in a number of areas. Provisions of the bill include:
- Requiring the Ohio Department of Education to request a waiver for federally required state tests
- Continuing the “freeze” on report cards and related sanctions, including new state takeovers, and EdChoice district designations
- Extending flexibility for educator and administrator evaluations, student promotions, and graduation requirements through the 2020-2021 school year
OEA supports SB 358. Click here to read Vice President Wensing’s testimony.
Legislature Passes Civil Immunity Bill
The House and Senate have agreed to a conference committee report on House Bill 606 that would enact civil immunity protections to employers from COVID-related lawsuits. OEA is opposed to the legislation believing that if employees get sick due to unsafe conditions and the spread of the disease, HB 606 would set a very high bar for plaintiffs and prohibit class actions by groups of employees or unions. Two changes were made to the version of the bill passed by the Senate: removal of an emergency clause and extending the provisions of the bill through September 2021.
The conference committee report was agreed to by a vote of 63-30 in the House and 22-8 in the Senate. House Bill 606 will now head to Governor DeWine for his signature. Click here to read OEA’s letter of opposition to HB 606.
Bill to Clarify Training Requirements of Armed School Personnel Passed in Committee
This week, Senate Bill 317, sponsored by Senator Bill Coley (R-West Chester) passed the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. The bill seeks to clarify that local school boards can authorize educators and staff to carry concealed weapons on school property without police training.
Chair Coley stated that the intent of the bill is to overturn a state appeals court ruling that Madison Local Schools employees are required to complete Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) training before being authorized to carry concealed weapons on school property. On August 26, 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court granted a stay execution of the 12th District Court of Appeals ruling as justices consider the case.
OEA opposes the legislation.
On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, OEA President Scott DiMauro presented opponent testimony on Senate Bill 320 (Matt Huffman-Lima) to the Senate Education Committee. The bill would leave decisions on reopening schools for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year in the hands of local school district boards of education and would prohibit state officials from preventing reopening, ordering closings, or requiring school districts to adopt health safety measures and guidelines for addressing COVID-19.
In his testimony, President DiMauro stated, “OEA’s top priority remains the health and safety of our students, members, and the communities we serve. OEA believes that any decision on re-opening schools next year must be driven by guidance from public health officials. While OEA supports local control, we also support the authority of the Governor and public health officials to make decisions that are data-driven and scientifically-based to keep our students and educators safe.”
Click here to read the entire SB 320 testimony.
This week the Ohio General Assembly used HB 164 to pass a package of changes to education law. These education amendments are intended to address issues arising from the closure of school buildings due to the COVID-19 health crisis. HB 164 was passed with an emergency measure and is effective immediately when signed by Governor. The General Assembly previously passed a package of education law changes in HB 197 (effective March 27, 2020).
Many of the education amendments to HB 164 are also in SB 319, a bill that received hearings in Senate Education Committee this week. SB 319 is no longer under consideration. OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing testified in Senate Education Committee regarding the various education amendments under consideration. OEA committee testimony can be found here.
Furlough and Continuing Contract Proposals NOT Included in HB 164
OEA strongly opposed two provisions in SB 319 regarding school district furloughs and limits on continuing contracts for next school year. Those provisions were NOT included in HB 164.
OEA’s analysis of HB 164 can be found here.
The package of education amendments in HB 164 included:
- Payments to school districts with decreases in utility TPP value; funding adjustment for districts with utility TPP value increases; teacher and principal evaluations for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year; teacher subject area or grade band assignment flexibility (OEA opposes this provision); online bus driver training; criteria for high school diplomas using final course grades in lieu of end-of-course exam scores; Third-Grade Reading Guarantee; reading improvement plans; academic assessment records for home instructed students; services to special needs students; remote learning; storm shelters; and religious expression in schools.
Senate Bill 319: Second Round of Covid-19 Education Law Changes Proposed
The recently introduced Senate Bill 319 contains additional proposed changes to education law for the 2020-2021 school year in response to the ramifications of COVID-19. A previous package of changes to education law, House Bill 197, was enacted in late March of this year.
Senate Bill 319 is scheduled for a first hearing in the Ohio Senate Education Committee on June 9, 2020.
As introduced, Senate Bill 319 would make the following temporary changes in state law for the 2020-21 school year:
- Permits furloughing of school employees through June 30, 2021 (OEA opposes)
- OTES relief measures (OEA supports)
- Suspends automatic continuing contract if evaluations are incomplete (OEA opposes)
- High school graduation flexibility (OEA supports)
- Third grade reading guarantee adjustments (OEA interested party/neutral)
- Additional payments in fiscal year 2020 or 2021 to certain districts that experience a decrease in taxable value of the district’s utility tangible personal property (OEA supports)
- Flexibility to provide special education services (OEA supports)
- On-line school bus driver training (OEA interested party/neutral)
Click here to read the entire OEA bill analysis.
OEA Advocates for Improved Voter Access
On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing testified before the House State and Local Government Committee calling for improved voter access for Ohio’s citizens. The testimony was regarding House Bill 680. As introduced, the bill created a contingency for a mail-only election in case of an emergency and prohibited the Secretary of State from mailing absentee voting applications to voters. The committee removed those harmful provisions from the bill. However, the bill represents a missed opportunity to make improvements such as the ability for voters to request absentee ballots online and for the Secretary of State to use federal funds to pay for postage on applications and ballots. You can read OEA’s testimony here.
OEA continues to support measures to ensure that we have free and open elections and making sure Ohio’s citizens have unencumbered access to participate in our democracy. One helpful piece of legislation would be Senate Bill 191, sponsored by Senator Theresa Gavarone (R- Bowling Green) which would allow for online requests of absentee ballots. This would make the process less time consuming, reduce costs and improve accuracy. The bill is pending before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee.
On Thursday, May 29, 2020, the Ohio House passed House Bill 239 with strong, bipartisan support by a vote of 78-14. The bill, jointly sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Erica Crawley (D- Columbus) seeks to reduce the amount of time that students spend on tests required by the state and local school districts in an effort to restore instructional time to the classroom. OEA strongly supports HB 239 and would like to thank the sponsors for their hard work on the legislation as well as all House members who supported the bill.
Prior to its passage, the bill was amended several times this week. In its final hearing before the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee, two amendments were added to the bill. One amendment reduced the number of state-required end-of-course exams by combining the assessments in American History and American Government into a single test. The second amendment exempts the 2020-2021 school year from the student retention requirement tied to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. The bill was approved unanimously by the Committee. On the House floor, the bill was amended to make student participation in the ACT/SAT voluntary. However, the state will continue to offer a paid administration of the test for high school juniors who choose to take it.
As passed by the House, the bill now includes the following provisions:
- 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 students spend taking tests.
- Reduce the number of high school end-of-course exams by combining American History and American Government assessments into a single test.
- Alter the existing provision that allows local school boards to pass a resolution to exceed testing limits by requiring that such action be taken on an annual basis and be reported to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
- Provide that the state continues to offer administration of the ACT/SAT tests for high school juniors, but student participation would be voluntary.
- Exempt the 2020-2021 school year from student retention tied to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.
- Require that ODE issue an annual report on the time spent on state- and district-required testing in Ohio’s schools.
House Bill 239 will now advance to the Ohio Senate. You can urge your State Senators to support this important legislation by clicking here.
OEA Members Testify in Support of Testing Reduction Legislation
On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee made some changes to House Bill 239, the Testing Reduction Act before hearing testimony in support of the measure from two OEA members. Tina Allen and Katrina Cook, both teachers in Columbus, spoke from their personal experience about the impact that over testing is having on their students. Several other OEA members provided written testimony as proponents of the bill.
The changes to the bill, which is jointly sponsored by Representatives Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville) and Erica Crawly (D- Columbus), were consistent with provisions included in the state budget that was adopted last summer. The original bill called for the elimination of four end-of-course exams. The revised measure would retain tests in American History and American Government. The elimination of those tests had drawn opposition, most notably from the President of the Senate, which posed a major obstacle to passage of the bill. Other changes approved by the Committee include a parental opt-out for the ACT/SAT and exemptions for smaller districts to fill some administrative positions on testing work groups.
As it stands, Substitute House Bill 239 would do the following:
- 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 students spend taking tests.
- Alter the existing provision that allows local school boards to pass a resolution to exceed testing limits by requiring that such action be taken on an annual basis and be 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 tests for high school juniors, but student participation would be subject to a parental opt-out.
OEA strongly supports HB 239. Click here to encourage your State Representative to support the bill.
OEA Testifies on Re-opening of Schools for the 2020-2021 School Year
This week, OEA President DiMauro presented testimony in the Senate Finance Committee on OEA’s priorities for conditions necessary for the safe reopening of school buildings.
OEA’s top priority remains the health and safety of our students, members, and the communities we serve. Any decision on re-opening schools next year must be driven by guidance from public health officials. One element that will be essential in planning for how to navigate these waters at the local level is collaboration, communication, and mutual respect, as well as reliance on collective bargaining as a tool for creative problem solving.
Click here to read OEA’s testimony.
Yesterday, Governor DeWine announced a $775 million budget reduction for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020. Budget reduction spreadsheets provided by the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM), broken down by individual school districts and higher education institutions, can be found in the links below.
OEA Government Relations will continue to provide updates when additional details are available.
Today, Governor DeWine announced a $775 million budget reduction for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 (ends June 30, 2020). This is due to the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 health crisis. The DeWine administration decided to not use funds from the $2.7 billion Rainy Day Fund for Fiscal Year 2020 stating that they will be needed for Fiscal Year 2021.
The cuts include:
- 300 million (or a $3.7% reduction) in K-12 education foundation payments
- $55 million in other education programs
- $110 million in higher education
- $210 million in Medicaid
- $100 in other state agencies and programs
However, Ohio does expect approximately $490 million in federal CARES Act funds for education, 90 percent of which would be allocated to schools based on the Title I formula. While the Title I funding formula is different than the state foundation funding formula, these federal funds could mitigate some of the state reductions.
OEA Government Relations will provide an update once additional details are available.
Legislature Passes Emergency Coronavirus Legislation
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020 the House and Senate both gave unanimous approval to legislation (HB 197) that includes several changes to current law in reaction to the unprecedented public health crisis. The changes to law are temporary, lasting just for this year and will take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature. Among the changes are cancellation of state testing, the elimination of school report cards, freezing EdChoice eligibility and an extension of primary voting until April 28th.
Below is a summary of some of the key provisions of the bill:
Minimum School Year
- Permits school districts and schools other than e-schools to use distance learning to make up for any missed days or hours of instruction caused by the ordered closure of Ohio schools
- Requires school district to utilize the makeup plan they created prior to August 1, 2019 (ORC 3313.482)
- If a school district has not adopted a plan under ORC 3313.482 the bill permits the district to do so.
- Exempts all schools from administering state tests for the 2019-2020 school year, including state achievement tests, alternative assessments, OELPA and WebXams.
- Prohibits the Department of Education from subtracting from a district or school’s state aid account for students who were unable to complete assessments.
- Permits schools to grant a diploma to any student on track to graduate and for whom the principal, in consultation with teachers and counselors, determines that the student has successfully completed the student’s high school curriculum or individualized education program at the time of the Director’s order.
- Permits a district or school that has previously adopted a resolution to exceed the minimum curriculum requirements prescribed under current law to elect to require only the minimum curriculum for the purpose of determining high school graduation for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Declares the intent of the General Assembly that school districts and schools continue to find ways to keep students actively engaged in learning opportunities for the remainder of the school year and to grant students who need in-person instructional experiences to complete diploma requirements or career-technical education programs to access school facilities as soon as reasonably possible after the Director of Health permits such access, even if the last instructional day of the school year has passed.
- For the 2019-20 school year, prohibits ODE from publishing and issuing ratings for overall grades, components, and individual measures on the state report cards, report cards for dropout recovery schools, report cards for joint vocational school districts and other career-technical planning districts, and submitting preliminary data for report cards for school districts and buildings.
- Permits the State Superintendent to waive the requirement to complete any report based on data from assessments that were to be administered in the 2019-2020 school year.
Safe-Harbor (protection from penalties/sanctions)
- Establishes a safe harbor from penalties and sanctions for districts and schools based on the absence of state report card grades for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Includes safe harbor from:
- Restructuring under state law based on poor performance;
- The Columbus City School Pilot Project;
- Provisions for academic distress commissions and progressive consequences for existing commissions (but specifically retains the chief executive officer’s powers prior to the 2020-2021 school year);
- Buildings becoming subject to the Educational Choice Scholarship;
- Determination of “challenged school districts” where new start-up charter schools may be located;
- Charter school closure requirements;
- Identification of school districts and buildings for federal and state targeted support and improvement;
- Conditions under which charter schools may change sponsors.
- Prohibits the use of the value-added progress dimension from the 2019-2020 school year to measure student learning attributable to teachers for their performance evaluations.
- Permits a board of education to elect not to conduct evaluations of district employees, including teachers, administrators, or a superintendent for the 2019-2020 school year, if the district board determines that it would be impossible or impracticable to do so.
- If a district board elects not to evaluate an employee for the 2019-2020 school year, the employee shall be considered not to have had evaluation procedures complied with and shall not be penalized for the purpose of reemployment.
- Specifies that the district board may collaborate with any bargaining organization representing employees of the district in determining whether to complete evaluations for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Nothing in the amendment precludes a district board from using an evaluation completed prior to the Director of Health’s order in employment decisions.
- Permits ODE to issue one-year, nonrenewable, provisional licenses to educators that have met all other requirements for the requested license except for the requirement to pass a subject area exam prescribed by the State Board.
- However, an educator that is issued a provisional license is required to take and pass the appropriate subject area exam prior to expiration of the license as a condition of advancing the license.
- Extends current law deadlines with which a licensee must comply to maintain a license’s validity that occurs during the emergency declared by Executive Order 2020-01D until the sooner of 90 days after the emergency ends or December 1, 2020.
- Extends a license’s validity until the sooner of 90 days after the emergency declared by Executive Order 2020-01D ends or December 1, 2020, if the license would otherwise expire during the emergency, unless it is revoked, suspended, or otherwise subject to discipline or limitation under the applicable law for reasons other than complying with the deadline extensions by delaying in taking action to maintain the license.
- Specifies that a licensing entity may take disciplinary action against a licensee except because of a licensee’s compliance with the deadline extensions in delaying in taking action to maintain the license.
Waivers and Extended Deadlines
- Gives authority to the State Superintendent to adjust deadlines set in current law and required of the State Board of Education, educators, and schools, including:
- Teacher evaluations;
- Intent to reemploy notifications;
- School safety drills;
- Emergency management tests;
- Requirements to fill a vacancy on a board of education;
- Updating teacher evaluation policies; and
- Gifted screening requirements.
- Permits the State Superintendent to waive the requirement to complete any report based on data from assessments that were to be administered in the 2019-2020 school year.
- Permits the State Superintendent to waive or extend deadlines, or otherwise grant providers and students flexibility, for completion of adult education program requirements interrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Waives the requirement that the parents of a homeschooled student must submit assessment data to the resident school district as a condition of the district allowing the student to continue to receive home instruction for the 2020-2021 school year.
Third Grade Reading Guarantee
- Exempts schools from retaining students under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, unless school principal and student’s reading teacher determine the student is not reading at grade level.
- Prohibits awarding of first time performance-based EdChoice scholarships to students first eligible to receive them this year.
- Essentially retains the 2019-2020 list of EdChoice eligible schools for the coming school year.
Services for Special Needs Students
- Permits during the duration of school closures the holders of licenses issued by the following boards to provide services electronically or via telehealth communication to children who receive services through their resident school districts, Autism Scholarship or the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship with no penalty:
- The State Board of Education, with respect to intervention specialists;
- The Ohio Speech and Hearing Professionals Board;
- The Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board;
- The State Board of Psychology; and
- The Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board
- Voids the Secretary of State order of a June 2nd primary election.
- Retains the March 17th Primary Election and extends absentee voting through April 28th.
- Requires Secretary of State to send postcard to all eligible voters about change.
- Requires County Board of Elections to send requested absentee ballots with postage-paid return envelopes.
- Votes previously received or postmarked on or before April 28th will count.
- Allows voters who are disabled or unable to receive mail to vote at County Board of Elections.
Budget Stabilization Fund Transfer
- Authorizes the Ohio Director of Budget and Management to transfer cash in Fiscal Year 2020 from the Budget Stabilization Fund to the General Revenue Fund (GRF) to ensure the fiscal year 2020 GRF budget is balanced, on the approval of at least two Controlling Board members from each chamber of the General Assembly.
- Authorizes the Tax Commissioner to extend state tax filing and payment deadlines for the duration of the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.
- Permits public bodies to operate meetings electronically so long as the public is aware and can participate electronically (for use only during the period of the emergency, but not beyond December 1, 2020, if the period of the emergency continues beyond that date).
- Allows public retirement systems to delay Board elections until December 1, 2020.
- Permits the Chancellor of Higher Education, in consultation with the Superintendent of Public Instruction to extend, waive, or otherwise modify requirements of the College Credit Plus Program.
Virtual Rally for Public Schools: March 18 at 3:30
In response to the recent confirmation of coronavirus cases in Ohio, and Governor DeWine’s declaration of a public health emergency, we are adjusting our plans for the Rally for Public Schools on March 18.
We will not be holding an in-person rally at the statehouse. Instead, we will be holding a “virtual rally” at 3:30 pm on March 18 to kick off two weeks of action in support of the students in our public schools. This tele-conference will display the breadth of our public schools coalition, update attendees on the voucher crisis in our school districts, and engage activists in concrete next steps to protect public education.
OEA March Lobby Day is now Lobby Week – 23rd-27th
As a follow up to the upcoming virtual Rally for Public Schools on Wednesday, March 18, OEA is asking members to engage with legislators in your districts the following week (March 23-27th). An OEA Member Lobby Day in Columbus originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 will not be held.
Please contact Government Relations at (614) 227-3056 or firstname.lastname@example.org when you have scheduled an in-district meeting with your State Representative or State Senator, or should you need any assistance. Talking points and other information will be shared in the near future.
In the meantime, please plan to participate in the ”virtual rally”! Encourage your co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors to do so as well.
Click here to Register today: www.rallyforpublicschools.org
Last week, a strong, bi-partisan majority (88-7) in the Ohio House voted in favor of a measure (Senate Bill 89) that sought to resolve the still looming crisis that would make more than 1,200 public schools eligible for EdChoice vouchers based on a flawed report card system. SB 89 would eliminate most new EdChoice vouchers and shift the program to one based on family income.
Additionally, the bill dissolves Academic Distress Commissions (a part of the failed state takeover law) and restores local control of the Lorain, Youngstown and East Cleveland school districts by June 30, 2020.
However, on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, the Senate voted not to accept the House-passed bill. Now, with both the House and Senate having passed different bills, the sides remain at impasse. A series of nine public hearings on the EdChoice voucher program began this week before the Conference Committee on a related bill (HB 9).
Upcoming hearing dates include:
- February 15, 2020 9am-Noon, Statehouse Room 313
- February 17, 2020 9am-Noon, Statehouse Room 313
- February 18, 2020 at 5:00pm, Statehouse Room 313
- February 19, 2020 at 5:00pm, Statehouse Room 313
- February 20, 2020 at 5:00pm, Statehouse Room 313
We strongly urge OEA members to participate in these hearings, either by appearing in person or by submitting written testimony. If you are able to help, please contact OEA Government Relations for more information: 614-227-3056 or email email@example.com
OEA President Scott DiMauro testified before the panel on Thursday in support of SB 89 as passed by the House. Click here to read his testimony.
On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, the Ohio House voted with a strong, bi-partisan majority (88-7) in favor of Amended Substitute Senate Bill 89. Through this action, the House seeks to resolve the still looming crisis that would have more than 1,200 public schools eligible for EdChoice vouchers based on a flawed report card system. SB 89 addresses the issue of EdChoice vouchers by eliminating most new EdChoice vouchers and shifting the program to one based on family income.
Additionally, the bill dissolves Academic Distress Commissions (a part of the failed state takeover law) and restores local control of the Lorain, Youngstown and East Cleveland school districts by June 30, 2020.
“The Ohio House took an important step to transform the voucher program in a way that moves away from the blame game and toward meeting the needs of ALL students,” said OEA President Scott DiMauro. “I’m hopeful that the broad, bi-partisan support in the House is indicative of a new course in education policy -one that addresses the needs of the 90% of Ohio students who attend our public schools.”
The grading system Ohio currently uses to determine performance-based vouchers doesn’t accurately reflect how well a school is educating its students, and that the state report cards and over-reliance on standardized tests to measure student achievement need to be fixed. Another key difference between the current EdChoice performance-based voucher and those based on income eligibility is the way they are funded. Income-based vouchers are funded directly by the state instead of “pass-through” funding that reduce payments to local school district which drains needed resources from students in the public schools.
OEA supports SB 89 and urges the Senate to move swiftly to adopt the House’s changes to the bill. Click here to urge your Senator to support SB 89.
Major Provisions of Am. Sub. SB 89 (as passed by the House)
- Rename the existing income-based EdChoice program as the “Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship” and set the income threshold at 250% of the federal poverty, higher than the current 200 percent but lower than the 300 percent included in a plan that recently passed the Senate. The House plan would rank order applicants based on income, so lower income families would get priority in cases where appropriations aren’t sufficient to fund all qualifying applications.
- Grandfathers current EdChoice voucher recipients. New performance-based vouchers would largely cease to be awarded after this year except for siblings of some current recipients.
- The list of buildings at which siblings are eligible for performance-based vouchers would shrink to 188 in the coming school year, via removal of the state report card’s K-3 literacy measure from eligibility criteria.
- Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, specifies that a student who received a performance-based voucher the previous year but whose family income qualifies the student for the income-based program would be transferred to that (state paid) voucher program.
In contrast to the House-passed plan in SB 89, the Senate-passed plan (HB 9) would maintain traditional performance-based EdChoice for 2020-2021 and beyond. The number of eligible schools for the coming school year would be around 425. Additionally, the Senate plan also increased the income eligibility threshold to 300% of poverty. Students who are eligible for both programs would continue to default to EdChoice and deductions to local school districts would continue to grow.
Academic Distress Commissions (ADCs)
- Requires academic distress commissions to transition control of the district from the ADC and CEO back to the local school board by June 30, 2020 at which point the ADC will be dissolved.
- Places a moratorium on the creation of new ADCs until the end of 2023.
- Establishes the School Transformation Board (STB), a nine-member board responsible for overseeing actions related to school district academic performance improvement.
- Requires ODE in collaboration with the STB to make recommendations to the State Board of Education on the state-level school improvement process.
- Requires the STB to submit a report to the General Assembly on recommendations for replacing ADCs.
Additional Provisions (OEA supports)
- Establishes a sunset in September 2020 for a provision that was included in the last budget regarding school district territory transfers. The provision allows some township residents to petition for transfer to a new school district and bypass review by the State Board of Education.
- Includes education cost studies regarding special education and English Language Learners due to the legislature by December 2021.
- Repeals the “parent trigger” pilot project in the Columbus City School District.
OEA supports the House-passed version of SB 89 as it addresses several of the immediate issues facing our public schools. Please take the time to thank your representative for their support by clicking here to take action.
OEA will hold a lobby day on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. At the lobby day, members will be briefed by OEA staff on current legislative issues and will have the opportunity to meet with state lawmakers and staff.
Join your colleagues at the OEA Headquarters’ Media Center, located at 225 East Broad Street in Columbus at 9 a.m. for a short briefing. We strongly encourage you to schedule your meetings with legislators prior to lobby day. Find contact information for your legislator by visiting www.legislature.state.oh.us. If you are unavailable to attend lobby day in Columbus, we encourage you to set up an in-district meeting with your legislator for that week. Talking points on key legislative issues will be provided.
If you need further information or to RSVP for the lobby day in Columbus, please contact Lisa Simpson, in the OEA Government Relations Division, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-282- 1500 ext. 3056.
Weeks of negotiations between the House and Senate failed to produce an agreement on a fix for the pending expansion of EdChoice vouchers. Instead, in order to avert a February 1st deadline and buy more time, the legislature passed a 60-day delay in the opening of the voucher application window. On Thursday night, the House approved the delay, 86-5. The Senate concurred this afternoon, 23-6, setting up further negotiations.
Earlier this week, the Ohio Senate passed its version of a voucher “fix.” The Senate-passed measure would reduce the number of schools eligible for traditional EdChoice vouchers by exempting building rated A, B or C and those with a D that are not in the lowest 20% on the performance index indicator. That change would be for the next three years and reportedly would reduce the number of eligible buildings for the 2020-21 school year from more than 1,200 to 425. However, the bill also would make a permanent increase in the eligibility level for the statewide income-based voucher to 300% of poverty. This would potentially provide state-funded vouchers to a family of four making up to $72,000—regardless of the quality of their local public schools. The bill also contained an amendment to remove Lorain from state takeover at the end of June and would provide $30 million to offset the costs of voucher expansion to ninth-graders who had not attended public schools the prior year. The House rejected the Senate plan by a vote of 93-0 setting up a conference committee on the bill.
OEA opposed the Senate proposal as it would permanently expand the statewide income-based voucher program while only providing temporary and partial relief to Ohio’s public schools and the students they serve. House leadership has proposed further reductions to EdChoice eligibility by eliminating the broken K-3 literacy component, a limited application window, an overall study of vouchers, report cards and state testing, as well as a proposal to do away with the “failing schools” model entirely and moving to a voucher-based solely on household income.
We need to continue to hold legislators accountable to address the voucher issue. Click here to take action.
Additionally, there appears to be growing recognition by legislative leaders that Ohio’s school report card system is misleading and broken. As OEA continues to advocate for changes to resolving the voucher crisis, the next item of business should be serious and systemic report card reform.
OEA President Scott DiMauro presented opponent testimony this week (9/10/19) before the Ohio Senate Education Committee on the Senate’s latest proposal to change the ill-conceived law that allows the state to take control of school districts deemed to be struggling.
- To read a copy of the OEA testimony, please click here.
- To watch video of the Senate Education Committee hearing, please click here.
- To contact your state Senator to express your opinion on this issue, click here.
Another committee hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 10:15 a.m. in the Senate Building South Hearing Room and possibly another if-needed hearing would be held on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 11:30 am. Numerous changes to the Senate proposal are expected to be made in committee next week, followed by a possible vote.
The Senate proposal replaces the language in House-passed HB 154. Four members on the Senate Education Committee (Sens. Nathan Manning-R, Teresa Fedor-D, Teresa, Tina Maharath-D, Vernon Sykes-D) voted against accepting the Senate “substitute” bill as the new version of HB 154.
In his opponent testimony, OEA President DiMauro called for “a non-punitive school improvement framework that depends on local control and stakeholder buy-in, acknowledges the time needed for meaningful improvement, and recognizes the need for flexibility in ensuring that each community’s improvement plan reflects the unique needs of that community.”
President DiMauro highlighted OEA’s objections to state takeovers, stating that “any successful legislation will reflect a recognition that state takeovers are an inherently ineffective and inefficient policy model for collaborative school improvement.”
OEA recommended that three critical changes be made to the Senate proposal:
- Return local control to school districts and communities currently under the control of an Academic Distress Commission/CEO before the 2020-2021 school year.
- Return all collective bargaining rights taken away under the current state takeover law (HB 70; 131st).
- Increase and strengthen teacher membership on the proposed state-level School Transformation Board (STB) and the district-level School Improvement Committee (similar to the current ADC).
At this time, the major outlines of the Senate proposal are as follows:
- Restarts the report card clock on state takeovers for all school districts (beginning with the 2018-19 report card) other than the districts (Youngstown, Lorain, E. Cleveland City Schools) that have already been taken over. Districts would continue to enter state takeover status after three consecutive overall “F” grades on the state report card. However, if a district enters into to a contract with a state-approved school improvement expert/organization after a second consecutive “F,” the district would be granted an extension that delays a state takeover until a sixth consecutive “F.”
- The three districts already under an Academic Distress Commission (ADC) would remain in state takeover status. However, the school board would be eligible to petition a newly created state-level School Transformation Board (STB) for “dissolution” of the current ADC (local board may petition STB between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020). A dissolution petition must contain an “alternative intervention option” proposed by the local school board that the STB would approve or deny. If the STB approves the petition, the ADC is dissolved and the local school board resumes oversight of the district (as long as the STB does not determine the district is failing to comply with the “alternative intervention option”). If the petition for dissolution is denied, the district would remain under the control of an ADC, which the bill renames a School Improvement Committee (SIC). The CEO of an ADC is renamed a Director of a SIC. A SIC Director would have more immediate unilateral power than an ADC CEO because the Senate proposal takes away teacher collective bargaining rights even faster than the current state takeover law (HB 70).
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The amount of Foundation Aid, Student Wellness and Success Funds, and Enrollment Growth Supplements, based on the House-Senate Conference Committee report, can be found in the links below.
Funding simulations for fiscal years 2021 and 2022
- For school districts can be accessed here
- For joint vocational school districts can be accessed here
Student Wellness and Success Funds can be used on any of the following: (1) mental health services, (2) services for homeless youth, (3) services for child welfare involved youth, (4) community liaisons, (5) physical health care services, (6) mentoring programs, (7) family engagement and support services, (8) City Connects programming, (9) professional development regarding the provision of trauma informed care, and (10) professional development regarding cultural competence, (11) and student services provided prior to or after the regularly scheduled school day or any time school is not in session.
NOTE – The Governor line-itemed vetoed a provision that would have guaranteed that high-wealth districts receive a base per-pupil amount no less than the amount of per-pupil funds received by private schools for auxiliary administrative support. This provision would not have taken effect until next biennium (FY 22), therefore the funding simulations based on the Conference Committee report remain unchanged by this veto.
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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.
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.
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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.
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- 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
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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. 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.
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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.
- 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.
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.
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 Services||FY 2020||$33.6 million||flat funded|
|FY2021||$33.9 million||0.9% increase|
|Education Services||FY2020||$4.5 million||3.8% decrease|
|FY2021||$4.6 million||2.5% increase|
|Prisoner Programs||FY2020||$400,000||63.0% decrease|
|Grand Total DRC (All Line-Items)||FY2020||$1.9 billion||2.9% increase|
|FY2021||$2.0 billion||3.6% increase|
Department of Youth Services
|RECLAIM Ohio||FY 2020||$171.7 million||7.3% increase|
|FY2021||177.8 million||3.5% increase|
|Education Services||FY2020||$3.20 million||0.9% increase|
|FY2021||$3.29 million||2.8% increase|
|Education||FY2020||$1 million||25.3% increase|
|FY2021||$1.01 million||1.7% increase|
|Vocational Education||FY2020||$1.46 million||0.6% increase|
|FY2021||$1.46 million||flat funded|
|Grand Total DYS (All Line-Items)||FY2020||$238.4 million||3.7% increase|
School for the Deaf
|Grand Total for the Deaf (All Line Items)||FY2020||$13.9 million||12.7% increase|
|FY2021||$14.5 million||3.7% increase|
School for the Blind
|Grand Total for the Blind (All Line Items)||FY2020||$14.1 million||13% increase|
|FY2021||$14.5 million||1.0% increase|
State Library Board
|Grand Total for the Library Board (All Line Items)||FY2020||$21.9 million||flat funded|
|FY2021||$121.9 million||flat funded
2018 | 132nd Ohio General Assembly
December 7, 2018
Legislature 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.
General 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