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Advocacy Update 5.14.21 – State Budget and Report Card Bill Updates

HB110 (Biennial Budget Bill) – The Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee finished up testimony on HB110 this week. While last week’s hearings were a marathon of testimony, this week included invited-only testimony – once again from the Fair Ohio Schools group – and a few others. OAGC testimony was on May 6th. The committee was interested in our thoughts on funding accountability and asked several questions about that. The testimony can be found at http://www.oagc.com/files/SheldonTestimonyHB110.May.2021.pdf.

The Senate hopes to vote out the budget bill by June 10th.

SB145 (Report Card Bill) – The Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee accepted a substitute bill for SB145 last week (May 6th). The committee heard testimony from the education management groups and some superintendents who oppose the bill. OAGC provided testimony as a proponent of the bill, which can be found at http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Testimony%20on%20SB145.pdf. And overview of SB145 can found at http://www.oagc.com/files/TBFI%20Report%20Card%20Reform%20Star%20Ratings%20v6.pdf.

With dueling report cards bills in the House and Senate, what remains to be seen is if common ground can be found between the bills and what, if anything, will be included in the state budget. 

 

Posted: 5/14/2021
Last Update: 5/14/2021

Advocacy Update 4.23.21 – Budget Passes House; HB200 Debate Heats Up; New Chart of Assessments

Budget Update – The Ohio House passed HB110, the budget bill, this week. As reported last week, HB110 now includes the Cupp-Patterson funding formula which will be phased in over six years. In addition, the bill includes some gifted accountability measures that are needed regardless of the funding system in place. The Ohio Senate has already begun hearings on HB110 with most of the major education groups providing supportive testimony for the funding formula changes included in HB110. Senate President Matt Huffman has stated that the Senate may have other ideas about school funding. In the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee, where the education portions of the budget bill are being heard, Chairman Andrew Brenner indicated that SB145, the Senate report card bill reform bill, might be included in the Senate version of HB110. Hearings will continue in the Senate for at least two more weeks. 

HB200 Hearing – Speaking of report card reform, the Ohio House Primary and Secondary Education Committee held another hearing with both proponent and opponent testimony on HB200, the House report card reform bill. With, at times, passionate testimony from witnesses, the hearing was sometimes a bit contentious. Hearings will continue on this bill in May. 

New Assessment List Released – The Ohio Department of Education released the new list of approved assessments last week. To view the new list, please click on http://www.oagc.com/files/2020-2021-Approved-Assessment-List.xlsx.

Posted: 4/23/2021
Last Update: 4/23/2021

Advocacy Update – 4.16.21 – House Budget Substitute Includes Cupp-Patterson School Funding Bill; Changes to Gifted Accountability 

This week, the House Finance Committee accepted a substitute bill for HB110, the biennial budget. Along with an unexpected tax cut, the House included the Cupp-Patterson funding formula. The formula would be phased in over six years, which immediately calls into question whether the plan is constitutional. Ohio’s constitution forbids the General Assembly from committing future General Assemblies to specific legislation. It is useful to note that the funding formula from the Strickland administration (HB1 in the 128th General Assembly) had a ten-year phase-in period. The formula was removed in the next General Assembly.  Senate President, Matt Huffman, has indicated that he has reservations about including the Cupp-Patterson funding formula in the budget. If passed, the new gifted funding formula would supposedly provide $83.7. million to districts for in FY2022 and $79.2 million to districts in FY2023. Without access to the formula calculations, it is difficult to know why funding would decrease in FY2023. Current funding (based on the last calculations possible) is about $74 million. While the funding is somewhat more robust in the new formula, the distribution of those funds would be significantly different. Because the new gifted funding formula has state share applied, funds would shift from wealthier districts to less wealthy districts. On the surface, this is a good idea, but many of those lower wealth districts do not fully spend the state gifted funds provided right now. This leads to other changes in the bill for gifted. 

Included in the bill are significant district accountability provisions for gifted funding and transparency for how districts are serving gifted students as well as how many licensed gifted staff are employed or contracted. This information would be publicly available. State gifted funds not appropriately spent on gifted students would be deducted from the district’s foundation payments. ODE would be required to audit service numbers. OAGC supports these changes regardless of the funding system. Also included in the substitute funding bill is a provision that would require ODE to study ways to provide incentives to districts to serve gifted students in rural areas as well as in districts where there underserved gifted subgroups.  OAGC also supports this provision. Credit for these provisions goes to Representative Tracy Richardson (R), Chair of the House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee. Rep. Richardson is strong supporter of Ohio’s gifted students. 

The substitute bill also keeps the $3.8 million in gifted units allocated to Educational Service Centers. While OAGC still has concerns about some aspects of the gifted funding formula in Substitute HB110, the substitute bill improves gifted funding accountability considerably. The House is expected to vote this bill out next week where it will be deliberated in the Ohio Senate. 

Posted: 4/16/2021
Last Update: 4/16/2021

Advocacy Update 4.6.21 – Dueling Report Card Reform Bills; No Budget News 

Report Card Bills – While the state policy makers have been discussing state report card reform for years, very little progress has been made. This year may mark a new push to finally overhaul the process. Both the House and Senate have new bills that approach the issue or report card reform in somewhat different ways. HB200 was introduced in March in the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee. SB145 was introduced in April in the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee. 

HB200 was largely the result of efforts from the main education management groups. OAGC has some issues with the bill which are outlined here

SB145 is based on the work of a work group that consisted of business, education and education policy groups. For a general outline of the bill, click here. OAGC was part of the work group that led to SB145 and is a proponent of SB145. There are some big differences between the two bills from how each component is calculated and graded to how assessments are used to whether or not there is an overall grade. A comparison document outlining all of the differences can be found at this link. For gifted advocates the main difference is that SB145 includes a graded gifted performance indicator that includes all of the current elements including identification and service whereas the HB200 has a partial indicator. Identification and service would be report-only. The other major difference is that HB200 moves the subgroup minimum size from 15 to 20, which OAGC opposes. Finally, SB245 will allow for the continued grading of the Prepared for Success measure whereas it would be report only in HB200. 

It is likely that the interested parties on both bills will come together to reach some level of compromise between the two bills. Regardless of how that looks, it does appear that there is some movement to push through report card reform in 2021. 

Budget News – Short story: there is nothing to report. Presumably, the House will introduce a substitute bill when they come back from spring break. 

Posted: 4/6/2021
Last Update: 4/6/2021

Advocacy Update – 3.12.21 – House Finishes Up Budget Hearings; Report Card Bill Dropped

House Finance Final Budget Hearings – This week, the House Finance Committee held a number of hearings on HB110, the biennial budget bill. The House will discuss amendments to the bill in the next week or two, and a new substitute bill will likely be introduced in late March or early April. Big questions for education advocates will be if or how HB1 (Cupp-Patterson school funding) is incorporated into the bill. And if so, where the money will come from to support the change. 

HB200 State Report Card Changes – Representative Don Jones (R) and Phil Robinson (D) dropped HB200 this past week. This bill, which will receive its first hearing next week, completely overhauls the state report card. For a full summary of changes, please view the summary document. While OAGC is still analyzing the bill, a few issues are noteworthy as outlined below. Another report card reform bill is expected to be introduced soon. OAGC will monitor the progress of all these bills carefully.

Moves Gifted Performance/Progress to the Gap Closing Measure but Makes Identification and Service Levels Report-Only – The move of gifted achievement and progress to Gap Closing is fine. However, the measure only keeps the performance and value-added components but relegates identification and service to report-only. This is extremely problematic if we are trying to close the equity gap in gifted identification and service of under-represented student populations such as economically-disadvantaged, Black and Hispanic students. ID and service especially of under-represented student populations needs to be part of the gifted component grade as it is now. OAGC does not support the move to report only for the ID and service of gifted students. 

Moving N size  from 15 to 20 – This will effectively make many sub-groups “invisible” to accountability, including gifted students. The N size should remain 15. 

Report Card Label Changes – The bill changes district performance levels on various metrics from grades to labels and increases levels from five to six.  It is unclear why going from five to six is needed, but the labels themselves need to be more meaningful if parents are to discern the differences from one to another. 

Assessment Labels and Levels – Moves levels from five to six adding “approaching proficient” and renaming “accelerated” to “accomplished.” OAGC supports the latter change. We are somewhat concerned about increasing the levels to six as it is unclear what it would achieve and it would make past year comparisons very difficult. 

Choose Your Rating – On two measures, gap closing and progress, districts may choose between different metrics for their rating. This will prohibit any meaningful ability to compare district performance to other districts or to districts from one year to the next. OAGC is concerned about this change. 

State Vs. Federal Report Card – The bill would require the state to develop one report card for the state and one that would follow federal guidelines. It is unclear if this violates federal statutes. 

 

 

Posted: 3/12/2021
Last Update: 3/12/2021