Today the House Finance committee made more changes to House Bill 64. After a first round of amendments to the bill, we saw them remove most of the provisions dealing with community schools. Among the provisions that were left in was an appropriation for $25M to go towards the Community School Classroom Facilities Grant and an increase from $100 to $200 per-pupil funding for facilities for community schools. They also added language that provided a $25 per-pupil funding increase for E-schools for facilities.
In their second and final round of amendments, the committee made a few changes that will affect community schools. The following provisions were made in addition to the aforementioned:
- The establishment of the Joint Education Oversight Commission to provide analysis to the General Assembly on education issues. (new)
- The extension of safe harbor provisions for teacher, districts, and students.
- Restores current law related to the education of a person between 16-22 who has not received a diploma or equivalent and appropriates $2.5M per year.
- Removes language prohibiting community school employees who collectively bargain from membership in STRS or SERS. (included in the first round of amendments)
- Changes the administrative deadline for the reading skills assessment of the 3rd grade reading guarantee to November 1st for kindergartners.
- Inserts early childhood education language from House bill 2 to direct the appropriation that exist in House bill 64.
- Institutes a two-year window where a school district does not have to provide right of first refusal to a community school if the school is located next to a professional sports Hall of Fame.
Moving on from the budget, House Bill 2, which passed the House at the end of March, was referred to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education and received its first hearing, sponsor only, on April 15. The Senate subcommittee is chaired by Senator Cliff Hite.
Also, Senator Lehner introduced her version of charter school reform, Senate Bill 148, and it was assigned to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education. This bill has many provisions that mirror language in the House version. Among the most notable provisions was the requirement that every entity who wished to sponsor a community school has to enter into a contract with the department and obtain their approval. This provision was pulled out of House Bill 2 prior to it passing. We have provided you with links to each of the separate bill analyses for House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 148.
It is important that as members, you see what we are doing around the Statehouse on your behalf. To that end, we have provided links to the bills we are monitoring and a list of bills that we have deemed to be a priority and are actively pursuing with the help of your input. This information can also be found on our website under the Legislative tab.
As always, we welcome your thoughts and ideas on how we can better advocate on your behalf. It is always helpful to hear from our members on how these changes affect you. Please contact me to discuss any issues you may have with the proposed legislation.
Director, Government Affairs
Ohio Alliance For Public Charter Schools (OAPCS)
33 N. Third Street, Suite 600
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Office: 614-744-2266, Ext. 210