Legislative Watch – April 23, 2021

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.

K-12

  • 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.

Higher Education
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.