Legislative Watch

December 7, 2018

OEA Legislative WatchLegislature Votes to Extend Alternative Graduation Pathways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senate Passes Bill to Restore OPERS Credit for DD Employees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HJR 19 Stalls in House Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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












OEA Legislative Watch (Archives)

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


June 29, 2018

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

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

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

Download this issue of OEA Legislative Watch











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




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

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

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

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

February 16, 2018
Legislation Introduced to Consolidate Education Departments

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


December 15, 2017
Attend OEA Member Lobby Day on January 31, 2018

October 12, 2017
Sen. Huffman Introduces Senate Bill 216; Wide-Range of Public Education Provisions

July 28, 2017
OEA Analysis of Recently-Signed State Budget

July 6, 2017
Ohio House Acts to Override Some of Kasich’s Budget Vetoes

June 29, 2017
Legislature Passes Budget Bill and Sends to Governor Kasich

June 16, 2017
Senate Unveils Substitute Version of Budget Bill

May 19, 2017
OEA Testifies in Senate on K-12 Portion of Budget Bill

May 5, 2017
Ohio House Passes Budget Bill

April 28, 2017
House Finance Committee Unveils Substitute Budget Bill

March 31, 2017
Workgroup Recommends Graduation Alternatives for Class of 2018

March 17, 2017
ODE to Submit ESSA Plan in September and OEA Members Share Views on High School Graduation Requirements

March 10, 2017
OEA President Testifies on State’s Draft ESSA Plan and K-12 Portion of Budget Bill, and Opposes Bill Aimed at Voucher Expansion

February 17, 2017
State Budget Includes Teacher “Externships” Requirement for Licensure Renewal & HB 53

February 6, 2017
Governor’s Proposed School District Funding Released


May 6, 2016
OEA President Becky Higgins Testifies in Support of E-School Accountability Bill

April 14, 2016
OEA Voices Support for Senate Bill 241

February 10, 2016
“Gotcha” School Employee Penalty Removed from Sub. HB 420 by Ohio House Education Committee

January 29, 2016
Sub. HB 420:  OEA Strongly Opposes “Gotcha” School Employee Penalty Regarding Opt-Outs


November 6, 2015
HB 2:  Governor signs bill overhauling oversight of charter schools

October 27, 2015
Legislature Moves to Restore $44 Million in Tangible Personal Property Tax Supplemental Aid to School Districts

October 7, 2015
HB 2:  Long-awaited Charter School Reform Package Passes Ohio House & Senate

July 10, 2015
OEA Analysis of Recently-Signed State Budget

July 1, 2015
Kasich Exercises Veto Authority – Reduces Funding for School Districts – and Signs Budget Bill

June 26, 2015
HB 2 – Charter School Reform Bill Supported by OEA Passes Unanimously in Ohio Senate

June 25, 2015
Last minute, surprise legislative amendment sets the stage for state takeover of Youngstown City Schools

June 12, 2015
Senate Unveils Substitute Version of Budget Bill

May 22, 2015
OEA Testifies in Support of Charter School Reform – Senate Bill 148

May 15, 2015
House Passes Its Version of Testing Reform

May 1, 2015
Testing Committee Makes Recommendations

April 24, 2015
Ohio House Passes Budget Bill

April 17, 2015
House Finance Committee Unveils Substitute Budget Bill

March 27, 2015
Committee on Testing Establishes Website for Public Input

March 20, 2015
HB 2 – Charter School Reform Bill Receives 20 Amendments, but Many Key Changes Rejected

March 13, 2015
OEA Identifies Priorities Around Student Testing

March 6, 2015
OEA Testifies on K-12 Portion of Budget Bill

February 27, 2015
Senate Education Committee Passes Student “Safe Harbor” Legislation (HB 7)

February 11, 2015
OEA Statement on Governor Kasich’s Proposed K-12 Funding Formula

February 6, 2015
Kasich Releases Executive Budget Proposal

February 2, 2015
Senate Committee to Hold Testing Hearings


December 19, 2014
House Bill 367 Packed with Education Provisions Before Being Sent to Governor

December 17, 2014
Preserve Free Choice of Provider for Ohioans with Developmental Disabilities

December 12, 2014
Bipartisan Redistricting Proposal Clears Ohio Senate

December 5, 2014
HB 343 Passes Ohio House After Being Amended to Keep Current Law Regarding School Salary Schedules

November 21, 2014
House Bill 343:  Eliminates Minimum Teacher Salaries and Single Salary Schedule

November 14, 2014
HB 343 Amendment Would Eliminate Teacher Minimum Salaries & Single Salary Schedules for All School Employees

June 5, 2014
Teacher Evaluation Language Good “First Step, but More Fixes are Needed”

May 23, 2014
Mid-Biennium Review Bills Pass the Senate

May 15, 2014
Second House Version of Senate Bill 229 – Still a Bad Bill

April 11, 2014
Mid-Biennium Review Bills Head to the Senate

March 28, 2014
Sub. SB 229: Teacher Evaluation Bill Intended to Provide More Local Flexibility is Turned Upside Down by House Education Committee

March 20, 2014
HB 472: Mid-Biennium Reveiw Bill Introduced

March 20, 2014
Analysis of HB 472 as Introduced

March 12, 2014
Long Awaited Resolution to Calamity Days Bill

February 28, 2014
Governor Outlines Education Proposals in State of the State

February 21, 2014
Senate Bill 229 Gets First Hearing

January 24, 2014
Ohio House Passes OEA Opposed House Bill 8