The Senate’s budget includes provisions that will have a negative impact for Ohio’s public schools when compared to the budget passed by the Ohio House—including a school funding plan that will shift responsibility of funding our schools to local communities, the lack of a comprehensive plan to address the educator staffing crisis and pay gap, universal expansion of vouchers, allowing a test score to dictate when a student is retained under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, eroding educator and community input on K-12 Education Governance, rolling back gains made in childhood nutrition, and issues related to licensure for educators.”
“We are also highly dismayed with the Senate’s inclusion of Senate Bill 83, the Higher Education “Destruction” Act. OEA is opposed to the addition of HB 83 into the Senate’s version of the budget as it represents the largest attack on collective bargaining rights since Senate Bill 5 in 2011. It will censor honest and truthful education in our institutions of higher learning.”
The following are OEA’s positions on some of the public policy proposals contained in the Senate’s amended substitute version of the bill:
- Schools Funding– OEA continues to support the Fair School Funding as passed by the Ohio House. While we are still analyzing the Senate school funding changes, OEA has serious concerns with the Senate’s adjustment to the methodology in calculating the state/local share formula.
- Voucher Expansion– OEA is opposed to the expansion of the EdChoice voucher program to universal eligibility for K-12 students. OEA recommends returning to current law with eligibility for income-based EdChoice vouchers at 250% of poverty. Expansion of vouchers should only be considered once the legislature has fully implemented the Fair School Funding Plan.
- Educator Staffing Issues– Reinstate the state minimum teacher salary from $30,000 to $40,000 and provisions from HB 9 that created a “Grow your Own Teacher Program” and Ohio Teacher Loan Repayment program.
- Mandatory Student Retention– OEA opposes removing language in the House-passed budget that would eliminate mandatory student retention under the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. OEA firmly believes that high-stakes decisions about students should not be based on standardized test scores.
- School Meals– OEA opposes removing language in the House-passed budget to make school breakfast and lunch accessible to more children by having the state cover the cost between free and reduced-priced meals.
- Licensure– Reinstate teacher apprenticeship program leading to professional licensure, remove the provision allowing unlicensed military veterans to teach core subjects (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Languages, Fine Arts), and remove the modification of teacher licensure grade bands to preK-8 and 6-12 and maintain current licensure bands (preK-5, 4-9, and 7-12).
- Graduation Requirements– Social Studies and Financial Literacy- The substitute bill could reduce student exposure to social studies. OEA requests the removal of the provisions that permit a student to substitute one-half unit of financial literacy instruction for a one-half unit of social studies instruction to meet the financial literacy requirement for graduation.
- K12 Education Governance– OEA opposes the inclusion of Senate Bill 1 into the budget bill. The language in the bill would neuter the role of the State Board of Education by shifting the vast majority of its powers and duties to a cabinet agency. There is not broad consensus or buy-in among key educational stakeholders about this change.
- Higher Education– OEA opposes inclusion of SB 83 into the Senate’s version of the State Budget. SB 83 will only serve to drive students, faculty, and staff away from Ohio’s institutions of higher learning, while ultimately harming the economic future of our state. Additionally, SB 83 represents the single largest attack on collective bargaining rights in Ohio since Senate Bill 5 in 2011. OEA urges the Ohio General Assembly to remove all provisions of SB 83 from the budget.
Finally, OEA urges the Ohio House to vote against concurrence with the changes proposed by the Ohio Senate to HB 33. We call on members of the General Assembly to work across party lines to craft a final budget that supports the needs of public schools that serve 90 percent of Ohio’s students.