Legislative Watch – June 10, 2021

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.