Current Issues, Bills & Statuses

“Hot Issues” bills followed by OASBO
Prepared by: Barbara Shaner
Report created on November 29, 2017

COMMUNITY SCHOOL ENROLLMENT VERIFICATION (HAMBLEY S) Regarding verification of community school enrollments.
Current Status:
11/28/2017 - REPORTED OUT, House Education and Career Readiness, (Fifth Hearing)
Comments: OASBO, along with OSBA & BASA, worked with the bill sponsor to amend HB 21 to address concerns about community school students' residences. The three organizations provided proponent testimony on the bill prior to it passing out of the House Education and Career Readiness Committee on November 28th. A copy of the testimony can be found here.
COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION (CARFAGNA R, DUFFEY M) With regard to academic content standards and curriculum requirements for computer science; to revise educator qualifications regarding computer science; to create a competitive technology grant program for the 2018-2019 school year; and to make an appropriation.

Current Status:
11/8/2017 - REPORTED OUT AS AMENDED, Senate Education, (Fifth Hearing)
Comments:  The bill adds advanced computer science as an alternative to Algebra II. It also adds computer science as a fourth option as one unit of advanced study in science. On the other hand, it prohibits computer science from being substituted for any life sciences or biology course. 

The bill is permissive in nature. The state board would establish standards for the course and for the teacher qualifications, but districts would not be required to offer the course. 

The bill requires that the student taking the course in lieu of Algebra II be notified that some colleges may require Algebra II as an entrance prerequisite. The Senate Education Committee amended the bill to also require that same notification to the student's parents (or guardians). 

SB170 passed out of the Senate Education Committee and is awaiting action by the full Senate. If the full Senate passes the bill, the House will need to concur with the changes made by the Senate. The standards would need to be adopted by December 31, 2018, so the option will not be available until the 2019/2020 school year. 
OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM CREATION (KOEHLER K) To eliminate the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program and Pilot Project Scholarship Program and to create the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
Current Status:
11/28/2017 - BILL AMENDED, House Education and Career Readiness, (Eighth Hearing)
Comments: House Bill 200, would expand voucher eligibility to all families regardless of where they live or the performance of their local schools. The House Education and Career Readiness Committee amended the bill at its hearing on November 28th changing the income threshold from Families with household incomes at or below 400% of the federal poverty level (roughly $96,000 for a family of four) to 300% of poverty. The voucher amounts, as proposed in this legislation, would increase to $5,000 for students in grades K-8 and $7,500 for high school prorated based on income.

In addition, the original legislation proposed the introduction of Education Savings Accounts(ESAs) for any unused portion of the voucher to be retained by the state under the student's name and may be used later towards future private school tuition at an Ohio school. However, the committee amended the bill on November 28th to remove this provision.

Lastly, the proposal ends the practice of deducting the funding from the local public district and directly funds this new voucher from the state. HB 200 is a companion bill to SB 85.

We are opposed to any expansion of Ohio's school voucher system. HB 200 would further divert public taxpayer dollars away from traditional public school districts to be used for private and parochial school tuition. Ohio should not enact a policy that undermines the public-school system in favor of privatization. The fact remains that state dollars are public dollars and school districts rely heavily on our state's school funding system to provide a high-quality education for our students. Private entitlements provided by HB 200 is bad public policy and further drains funding from public schools.

We hope members will take the opportunity to educate their representatives and senators on the range of choice options currently available to students in your districts. Highlight special programs, including STEM, the arts, Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate programs, career-technology or other curricula, that promote educational achievement.

OASBO, OSBA and BASA presented opposition testimony on HB 200 in the House Education Committee on October 11th.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CREDIT CARDS (SCHURING K, GREENSPAN D) Regarding use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions.
Current Status:
11/1/2017 - BILL AMENDED, House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Fifth Hearing)
Comments: The OASBO Auditor of State(AOS) Advisory Committee met last November with representatives from the State Auditor's office to discuss possible legislation aimed at putting more guardrails around credit card usage. That initial discussion included possible Ohio Revised Code (ORC) parameters around what credit cards could be used for spending limits on school district credit cards and more specific hands-on responsibility for boards of education with the use of credit cards.

As a result of the feedback from the committee, the AOS stepped back and re-evaluated the proposal. OASBO, along with OSBA and BASA, have been asked to updated versions of the proposed legislation which now focuses more on school district "controls" and the process for determining those controls, rather than codifying in the ORC specific rules for credit card use. The OASBO AOS Advisory Committee met with the AOS legislative staff again on November 13, 2017 to discuss the bill. 

OASBO, OSBA and BASA presented "interested party" testimony in the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee on October 17th utilizing the comments OASBO members have continued to share with us about the bill. Click here for the organizations' testimony. Two OASBO members have also presented testimony in front of the committee. Click here for to read Maria Rellinger's tesitmony, and click here for Janice Allen's testimony.

HB 312 has passed out of the House committee and we expect the bill to be up for a House floor vote the first week of December. Members are urged to continue to weigh in on the proposal by contacting legislators and providing testimony when hearings are scheduled. It will be important for lawmakers to be aware of the current policies and procedures for school district credit cards. OASBO will continue to monitor the proposed legislation as it moves to the Senate.

LOCAL TAX ISSUES-ELECTION DATES (MERRIN D) To permit local tax-related proposals to appear only on general and primary election ballots and not on an August special election ballot and to modify the information conveyed in election notices and ballot language for property tax levies.
Current Status:
11/1/2017 - House Government Accountability and Oversight, (Second Hearing)
Comments: This bill would eliminate the August Special Election option for schools and local governments. Language in HB 49, the biennial budget bill, has already eliminated the February Special Election. OASBO opposes the removal of the August Special Election as one option districts may want to utilize.

HB 342 also changes the way the amount produced by the levy is expressed in ballot language. 
PROPERTY VALUE CONTEST-RESOLUTIONS (MERRIN D) To require local governments that contest property values to formally pass an authorizing resolution for each contest and to notify property owners.
Current Status:11/28/2017 -
House Ways and Means, (Third Hearing)
 Comments: This bill requires a separate board resolution for every parcel of land for which a school district intends to challenge the tax valuation. The property owner would need to be notified in advance of the passage of the board resolution. This onerous requirement appears to be an effort to reduce the number of valuation challenges by school districts. OASBO is opposed to the bill.

OASBO presented joint testimony with OSBA & BASA in opposition to this bill on November 28th. Click here for a copy of the testimony.

OASBO Past President Ryan Jenkins and member Stan Bahorek also submitted testimony. Click here for Ryan's testimony and click here for Stan's testimony.

TAXES ON UNSOLD PROPERTY (MERRIN D) To exempt from property taxation the increased value of land subdivided for residential development until construction commences or the land is sold.
Current Status:
11/28/2017 - House Ways and Means, (Third Hearing)
Comments: This bill would freeze property values on land purchased for housing developments until such time that the property is occupied. OASBO opposes this legislation. 

OASBO, OSBA & BASA offered opposition testimony on this bill in the House Ways and Means Committee on November 28th. Click here for a copy of the testimony. 
SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AND TECHNOLOGY (GARDNER R, TERHAR L) To require the Ohio School Facilities Commission to establish a program assisting school districts in purchasing technology and making physical alterations to improve technology infrastructure and school safety and security.
Current Status:
 11/29/2017 - Consideration of Conference Committee Report
Comments: This bill included a provision to hold some districts harmless on the loss of TPP replacement funds. However, the provision includes only those districts that are capped and would experience a net loss of funding from state aid plus TPP replacement. Click here for a projected list of affected districts.
PUBLIC SCHOOL DEREGULATION ACT (HUFFMAN M) To enact the "Ohio Public School Deregulation Act" regarding the administration of preschool and primary and secondary education programs.
Current Status:
12/6/2017 - Senate Education, (Third Hearing)
Comments: This bill came about as a result of input from a group of superintendents with Senator Matt Huffman's legislative district. He agreed to propose the bill as an "Education Deregulation" bill. SB 216 covers a wide range of issues. For more information, click here to view the LSC analysis of the bill

Click here to view all legislation OASBO is tracking.