State Budget Update

I hope everyone’s summer is going well. I just wanted to give you all a quick update on the State Budget HB 153. On Monday June 27th the joint legislative state budget Conference Committee met late to debate what is assumed to be the final version of Amended Substitute House Bill 153, the biennial budget legislation. After more than several hours of deliberation, the committee voted along party lines (4–2) to recommend a final product to both houses. On Tuesday June 28th the Senate voted approved the committee’s recommendation. Today the House also approved the Conference Committee’s recommendations. The budget now goes to Governor John Kasich a day to sign the bill into law, which is just in time for the new fiscal year to begin this Friday.

I would like to share with you some of the changes made by the Conference Committee to the Senate, version of the budget affecting public education which include:

• Health care pooling option for local government employees’ coverage: optional, self-insurance and other pools could still exist as long as they meet best practices and benchmarks.
• Eliminates BMI testing requirements for all school districts.
• Mandatory teacher evaluations based on multiple measures, with 50% based on student performance. The State Board of Education will develop the framework; school districts will adopt after their current bargaining contracts expire.
• Criteria must be developed for these evaluation categories: “accomplished,” “proficient,” “developing” and “ineffective.”
• Prohibits using seniority for reductions in force (RIF) or rehiring, except when evaluations are comparable.
• School districts receiving federal Race to the Top (RttT) funds must use pay-for-performance criteria under a schedule based on license and evaluations.
• School districts NOT receiving RttT funds must use either performance-based salary schedule or current law.
• Principals or other employees could also serve as a school district’s gifted education coordinator if qualified.
• Removes the provision allowing home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities.
• Allows for students over age 22 to be enrolled tuition-free in school district and charter school dropout recovery and prevention schools.
• Removes the provision prohibiting the selling of services to a charter school by a sponsor.
• Reinstates the moratorium on new e-schools until 2013, then allows up to five new schools each year thereafter.
• Allows charter schools that do not have a sponsor to apply to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) for approval to operate.

If you have a chance please contact Governor Kasich at http://governor.ohio.gov/ShareYourIdeas.aspx or call (614) 466-3555 and urge that he line-item veto the following provisions not included in his original proposal:

• Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship (voucher) Program.
• The provision allowing students over the age of 22 to attend school tuition-free.
• The provision that would allow charter schools without sponsors to apply to ODE for approval to operate.

If you are interested in seeing a copy of the comparison document as reported out of the Conference Committee click on this link: http://ealerts.osba-ohio.org/files/file/Document(64).pdf Also if you like to see a copy of the “Budget in Detail” it can be found here: http://ealerts.osba-ohio.org/files/file/Document(65).pdf

Thank you for being so engaged during this budget process!

Dan Langshaw
North Royalton School Board Member

“Putting Students First”