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Advocacy Update 7.1.21 – Happy New Fiscal Year, Ohio! And Hello to New Education Policy and Funding

While the big news is, of course, the HB110, the budget bill, there is more news about state report cards. All in all, this week has been a busy one for state policy. 

Report Card Bill Passage – Just two weeks ago, it seemed highly unlikely that state report card reform would pass before June 30th, which is when things shut down at the Ohio Statehouse for the summer. But with some intense negotiations among interested party groups, including OAGC, and discussions between the Senate and House education committee leaders, a compromise was reached.  SB145 (the Senate report card bill) was amended with some ideas from HB200 (the House report card bill) and it was all folded into HB82 and passed the General Assembly, last Thursday, June 24th. Here are some of the key changes to the report card included in HB82: 

The components of the new report card are: 

Achievement – weighted at 25.58%

Progress – weighted at 25.58%

Gap Closing – weighted at 14.28%

Graduation – weighted at 14.28%

College, Career, Workforce, and Military Readiness 


For gifted, the important change is that the gifted performance indicator is moved to the gap closing measure from the current achievement indicators measure and all elements including identification and service, progress, and achievement are codified in law. In addition, the indicator must look not just at overall numbers of gifted students identified and served but at underrepresented minority and economically disadvantaged students. It will be a met-not met measure. Another change that is helpful, is that the level previously known as “accelerated” on Ohio’s achievement tests has been renamed “accomplished.”  The level of accelerated on these assessments have nothing to do with a student knowing beyond-grade level content, which was confusing to families. 

While component ratings will be released in the 2021-2022 school year, no overall rating will be assigned until the 2022-2023 school year. In addition, the College, Career, Workforce and Military Readiness component (formerly named Prepared for Success will not be would not be report-only for the 2021-22 through 2023-24 school years. During that timeframe, ODE will examine these readiness data and create a method that, if approved by the legislature, will introduce a rating for this component starting in the 2024-25 school year. OAGC’s testimony on HB82 can be found at: http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Testimony%20on%20HB82.6.23.21.pdf.

The final bill language can be accessed at: http://www.oagc.com/files/HB82%20as%20enacted%206.27.21.pdf

Biennial Budget (HB110) and School Funding – One of the most contentious battles in this budget was the school funding formula debate. The Ohio House overwhelming supported a new approach known as the Cupp-Patterson school funding plan. The Ohio Senate was not as enamored with the plan and promptly removed it from the bill. Education advocates waited while the House and Senate majority leaders hashed things out behind the scenes. And the winner is: the Cupp-Patterson plan – kind of. While the House version of school funding was included in the final version of HB110, it was not put into permanent law, which is highly unusual. To be frank, all funding is temporary. However, it is not typical for a funding formula to be in temporary rather than permanent law. It sends a signal that the Ohio Senate may not be quite on board with the plan. In addition, there is no intent language to fully fund the plan in the future. All studies and commissions that were part of the Ohio House school funding plan were eliminated in the HB110. So, what is the impact on gifted½ Well, the new Cupp-Patterson funding formula bases gifted funding off the 2018 gifted cost study. We will know more about how the funding is distributed to districts when more comprehensive funding spreadsheets are available. More important,  the gifted funding accountability provisions that were included in House version of HB110 are in the final bill. This is hugely important as districts will now be required to spend state gifted funds on gifted identification and service. The bill also increases the transparency of the gifted staff and services provided by each district. Granted some of this language is in temporary law along with the funding formula. But that will be a challenge for the next biennial budget. 

The governor signed the bill at the midnight deadline and vetoed only 14 items. One item was a provision that OAGC opposed. We were therefore pleased to see that the provision to allow non-public schools to opt out of College Credit Plus was removed from the bill. The enacted bill can be found at: http://www.oagc.com/files/HB110AsEnacted.6.30.21.pdf.

More details on the school report card and funding formula will be provided in the next Advocacy Corner in the OAGC Fall Review. For now, let’s hope that these two bills will be implemented with integrity by the Ohio Department of Education and the State Board of Education as the policy changes could represent two steps forward for gifted students in Ohio. 

State Superintedent Paolo DeMaria to Retire - Ohio Department of Education State Superintendent, Paolo DeMaria announced that he will be retiring effective September 24, 2021. While somewhat unexpected, Mr. DeMaria has served in the role for five years so it is not altogether surprising for him to be retiring. 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 7/1/2021
Last Update: 7/1/2021

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