Legislative Watch

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

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2019 | 133rd Ohio General Assembly

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.

Report Cards

  • 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.

Teacher Evaluations

  • 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.

Educator Licenses

  • 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.

EdChoice Vouchers

  • 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

Primary Election

  • 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.

Tax Changes

  • Authorizes the Tax Commissioner to extend state tax filing and payment deadlines for the duration of the Governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.

Other Provisions

  • 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.

Please RSVP here if you can join us in our virtual rally on March 18th!

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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 govtsrv@ohea.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 davisr@ohea.org

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 simpsonl@ohea.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.

Click here to read OEA’s testimony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to download the full newsletter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OEA strongly supports this legislation.

Specifically, HB 239 would make the following changes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

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

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

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

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

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

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

OEA Testifies on K-12 Portion of Budget Bill

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

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

Long-Awaited Bipartisan School Funding Plan Released

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

OEA Working with Two Former Teachers to Repeal State Takeovers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OEA Strongly Supports House Bill 154

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to download a copy of this newsletter.

K-12 Education

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Provisions

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

Higher Education

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

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

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

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

Developmental Disabilities

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

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

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

State Council of Professional Educators (SCOPE)

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

Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

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

Department of Youth Services

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

School for the Deaf

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

School for the Blind

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

State Library Board

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

2018 | 132nd Ohio General Assembly

December 7, 2018

OEA Legislative WatchLegislature Votes to Extend Alternative Graduation Pathways

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senate Passes Bill to Restore OPERS Credit for DD Employees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HJR 19 Stalls in House Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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












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