Every two years, Ohio legislators and the governor are tasked with passing a biannual budget for the state. Ohio’s budget bill always has a direct effect on public education, from both a financial and an operational perspective. On June 30, Gov. Kasich signed a final version of House Bill 49. However, the governor vetoed 44 separate provisions, a number of which directly impact public schools.
As a final step, the House and Senate may vote to override any of the governor’s vetoes. The House has already voted on 11 veto overrides (none of them related to education), and the Senate is expected to do so very soon. Both houses of the General Assembly must override gubernatorial vetoes by a three-fifths margin prior to the end of the legislative session, which is December 31, 2018.
Title 33 Provisions
Below are some of the education-related provisions in Title 33 of the Revised Code. These will be effective late September.
- Social studies has been removed from the required statewide achievement tests for the fourth and sixth grades. Instead, school districts will be required to teach and assess social studies in at least fourth and sixth grades, and may select any assessment tools for the subject. Results will not be reported to the Ohio Department of Education. Social studies has been removed from the list of subjects for which each district must provide prevention/intervention services to students who score below the proficient level established by the state.
- Beginning in July 2018, districts will be required to identify victims of any student who is disciplined for violent behavior in EMIS. Victims will be identified by classification (student, teacher, nonteacher, etc.) but not by name.
- Districts may administer certain portions of the kindergarten diagnostic assessment up to two weeks prior to the first day of school.
- Beginning on the effective date of the bill until October 1, 2021, no school district that is party to an annexation agreement shall transfer territory that is or will be used for nonresidential purposes to another school district that is party to the annexation agreement without the approval of both boards unless the territory of one of those boards overlaps with a new community authority created prior to January 1, 1993.
- As of January 1, 2018, the SERS board may increase each allowance, pension, or benefit payable to its members by the percentage increase (if any) of the consumer price index, which cannot exceed 2.5 percent.
- The deadline for students to apply for the Jon Peterson special needs scholarship has been eliminated. Students may apply anytime.
- A financial provision was added to help schools recover some of the property tax losses incurred because of the devaluation of power plants.
- STEM schools have been added to the list of entities that a public board of education must first offer an unused school facility for sale or lease. STEM schools will now have the same rights to such property that start-up community schools and college-preparatory boarding schools currently have.
- HB 49 modifies the recently enacted Lindsay’s Law to state that students are required to annually submit a form that acknowledges they have received information about sudden cardiac arrest. Prior law required students to submit the form for each athletic activity each school year.
- Students who have an F-1 visa and attend an elementary or secondary school that operates a dormitory on its campus must now be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletics to the same extent resident students may participate.
- School districts may integrate academic content in a subject area for which the state board has adopted standards into a course in a different subject area including a career-technical education course in accordance with guidance that will be issued by ODE. The student may receive credit for both subject areas upon successful completion of the course. If an end-of-course examination is required for the subject area delivered through integrated instruction, the school may administer the related subject area exam upon completion of the integrated course.
- By December 31, 2017, ODE must develop a framework for school districts to use in granting units of high school credit to students who demonstrate subject area competencies through work-based learning experiences, internships, or cooperative education experiences. Districts must comply with the framework and adopt changes to any of their policies regarding demonstration of subject area competencies by the start of the 2018–2019 school year.
- Schools are no longer required to train substitutes, adult education instructors who work the full-time equivalent of less than 120 days, or seasonal workers on operation of an AED as long as these individuals do not serve as a coach or supervisor for athletic programs.
- Students will be able to earn an OhioMeansJobs-readiness seal on their diplomas.
- The superintendent of public instruction is tasked to work with the governor’s office and business officials to establish a committee that will develop a list of industry-recognized credentials and licenses that may be used to qualify for a high school diploma. The credentials must align with the in-demand jobs list published by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The credentials will be used on state report cards.
- School districts that provide educational services to certain special education students who reside in a home or facility now have two options to receive tuition payments: directly from the district of residence or from ODE. If the school district opts to receive the tuition from the district of residence, it shall not receive a tuition payment for that student from ODE.
- School districts must now permit students to carry and self-apply sunscreen, and further are prohibited from requiring authorization from a health care provider to apply sunscreen (districts may still require parent authorization).
- Students are prohibited from using or possessing any substance that contains betel nut on school premises. Betel nuts are harvested from the Areca palm, which originates in Asia, and are considered a powerful stimulant when chewed. The nuts are believed to be a carcinogen and are linked to high rates of oral cancer.
- School districts which determine that for financial reasons they cannot establish state-mandated summer food service programs must permit an approved summer food service program sponsor to use the school facilities located in areas where at least half of the students are eligible for free lunches. The districts may charge the service program sponsor a reasonable fee and shall require the sponsor to indemnify the district for any liability that arises from the sponsor’s food service operations.
- The superintendent of public instruction must develop standards for the operation of business advisory councils established by a board of education. These standards will, at a minimum, require the council to meet at least quarterly with the board and to develop a plan on how and about which matters it will advise the board. Current law requires that each school district board of education and ESC governing board appoint a business advisory council to advise and provide recommendations to the board regarding industry employment and skills needs.
- ODE will establish an option for career-technical education students to participate in pre-apprenticeship training programs that develop skills and knowledge needed for successful participation in a registered apprenticeship occupation course.
- HB 49 permits a school district to hire and pay a substitute educational aide who does not currently hold an aide permit and who fills in during an emergency or employee leave of absence. This provision creates an exception to the requirement that an educational aide/paraprofessional hold an aide permit from ODE before he/she may be paid to serve in that capacity. An individual may now serve as a “substitute educational aide” for up to 60 days provided that the school district superintendent believes that he/she has the qualifications to obtain an aide permit, the individual passes a criminal background check, and the individual has already submitted an application for the permit. The individual must stop working as a substitute when one of three things occurs: (1) ODE approves the application and grants a permit, (2) the application is denied, or (3) the application has not been approved after 60 days of work.
- ODE has express authority to reject or inactivate an educator license if the individual fails to submit fingerprints and written permission for a criminal background check.
- State law now recognizes creation of a STEAM community or nonpublic school, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. STEAM schools must meet certain requirements, including involvement of arts organizations.
- Bid bonds are no longer required for purchase of school buses unless the board of education or governing board requests that bid bonds be a part of the bidding process.
- The state board’s rules for staffing ratios must now include two specific provisions for preschool programs that serve children with disabilities. First, the rules must require at a minimum that a school provide a full-time staff member when eight full-day or sixteen half-day preschool children eligible for special education are enrolled in a center-based preschool special education program. Second, the state board rules must also mandate a staff ratio of one teacher for every eight children at all times for a program with a center-based teacher, and a second adult must be present when nine or more children, including nondisabled children, are enrolled in a class session.
- State colleges must provide students enrolled in education preparation programs with instruction in opioid and other substance abuse prevention.
- A number of changes have been made to the College Credit Plus (CCP) program. The bill modifies the appeal process for students when a principal refuses to provide written consent for participation. The final appeal will now be heard within 30 days by the district superintendent rather than the state board of education. Also, to be eligible to participate in CCP, participants must now be remediation free for college entrance exams in one of the following: mathematics, science, reading, or writing. The college is required to pay for one assessment. Several funding provisions of CCP have been modified as well. Finally, the chancellor of higher education in consultation with the superintendent of public instruction must adopt rules that specify the conditions under which an underperforming student may continue to participate in CCP.
- Advisory group of school districts and other stakeholders to make recommendations for changes to EMIS to format standards and data definitions. Districts not using uniform data definitions and data format standards will have all EMIS funding withheld until the district comes into compliance.
- The court of claims received more than $500,000 in each fiscal year to fund public records adjudications.
- Career-technical education enhancements:
- New “Agricultural Fifth-Quarter Project” program funded at $600,000 each fiscal year for work-based learning through supervised agricultural experience anytime outside of the school day. ODE will develop eligibility criteria and will fund as many programs as possible.
- CTC programs (along with STEM, community schools, and city/local/exempted village districts) could pay the cost of earning an industry credential or journeyman certification recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor for economically disadvantaged students and be reimbursed by ODE pursuant to a $750,000 appropriation.
The governor vetoed a number of education-related provisions adopted in the enrolled version of HB 49. Some of the vetoed provisions include the following:
- A provision to permit districts to administer a paper version of state assessments.
- A provision to grant additional authority to the Joint Education Oversight Committee to invalidate a manual adopted by ODE that it develops to audit full-time equivalency student enrollment reporting by school districts. ODE is still required to develop the manual and submit it to the Joint Education Oversight Committee for review.
- A provision to permit an ESC with a rating of effective or higher to sponsor a community school regardless of whether the school is located in the ESC’s service territory or a contiguous county.
- A number of provisions to eliminate the resident educator program, which new teachers must complete during their first four years in the profession. As a result, the resident educator and resident educator professional teaching license will continue at least for the upcoming school year.
- A provision to require College Credit Plus students to earn a grade of C or higher to continue participation in the program.
The budget bill will be discussed in detail at the upcoming Administrator’s Academy webinar on July 13. Click here to register for the event.