As with most other provisions of the budget bill (Am. Sub. HB 64) some significant provisions impacting Ohio school districts go into effect on September 29, 2015, including the following:
- The maximum amount of a scholarship awarded under the Autism or Jon Peterson scholarship programs increases to $27,000 (up from $20,000).
- School districts must offer real property it intends to sell first to a “high performing community school,” then to other community and college preparatory boarding schools located in the district.
- ODE, in conjunction with an Ohio educational service center association and an Ohio gifted children’s association, must complete and submit a feasibility study for establishment of sixteen regional community schools for gifted children.
- The State Board must develop rules waiving any additional coursework requirements for renewal of an educator license for teachers who are consistently high performing.
- The duration of a pupil activity permit for individuals holding a valid educator license is changed from three (3) years to the same number of years as the educator license.
- The State Board of Education will develop a standards based framework for the evaluation of school counselors. Furthermore, all school districts must adopt a counselor evaluation policy by September 30, 2016, that conforms to the framework and will be implemented beginning in the 2016-2017 school year (will include annual evaluations with ratings of accomplished, skilled, developing, and ineffective just like OTES).
- The alternative teacher evaluation framework is revised to decrease SGM to 35%, maintain the performance rating at 50%, and authorize school districts to determine the appropriate measure or combination of measures for the remaining 15%.
- Exemplary community schools may now operate a preschool program for general education students.
- School districts may enroll under interdistrict open enrollment policies an adjacent or other district student who is a preschool child with a disability. ODE will deduct $4,000 from the resident district and pay that same amount to the enrolling district.
- School districts cannot appropriate monies to purchase an assessment developed by PARCC for use as the state elementary or secondary achievement assessments. Additionally testing for the 2015-2016 school year is reduced.
- Safe harbor provisions in effect during the 2014-2015 school year for state report cards are extended by two years.
- School districts may now enter into a contract with a health care provider for the provision of health care services for students.
- The new requirements for issuance of diplomas to home school students and students from non-chartered nonpublic schools are now in effect.
STEM schools can now enroll out-of-state students.
- Schools may install security doors or barricades as part of an emergency management plan.
- The filing date for financial disclosure statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission is May 15 (instead of April 15).