Current Issues, Bills & Statuses
“Hot Issues” bills followed by OASBO
HB49: OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget.
Current Status: 7/6/2017 - Consideration of Governor's Veto; Remaining Veto Items Left Pending by House
Comments: For information about the budget bill, click here.
HB200: 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: 6/20/2017 - SUBSTITUTE BILL ACCEPTED, House Education and Career Readiness, (Fifth Hearing)
Comments: House Bill 200, would expand voucher eligibility to all families regardless of where they live or the performance of their local schools. Families with household incomes at or below 400% of the federal poverty level (roughly $96,000 for a family of four) would be eligible for a portion of the full voucher amount. 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.
In addition, the legislation proposes the introduction of Education Savings Accounts(ESAs). The ESA would include any unused portion of the voucher that will be retained by the state under the student's name and may be used later towards future private school tuition at an Ohio school. 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.
Position: 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.
HB242: SCHOOL RETIREMENT-COST OF LIVING (CARFAGNA R) Regarding School Employees Retirement System annual cost-of-living adjustments.
Current Status: 7/26/2017 - Introduced
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, were recently asked to react to a new version of proposed legislation that focused more on school district "controls" and the process for determining those controls, rather than codifying in the ORC specific rules for credit card use. Once again, the OASBO AOS Advisory Committee provided feedback.
Following the most recent feedback by the committee, HB 312 was introduced. Members are urged 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.
HB312: LOCAL GOVERNMENT CREDIT CARDS (SCHURING K, GREENSPAN D) Regarding use of credit cards and debit cards by political subdivisions.
Current Status: 6/20/2017 - House Aging and Long Term Care, (Third Hearing)
Comments: The SERS Board has requested this legislation. Click here for a fact sheet from SERS for an explanation of the request and why the SERS Board believes it is necessary: http://www.ohsers.org
A committee of OASBO members met with executive staff and board members from SERS to learn more about the need for changing the COLA for retirees. After the meeting, the group concluded: The decision to propose changes that affect current and future retirees was a difficult one. It was clear the SERS staff and the board considered a variety of options for protecting the system's 30-year funding period before settling on the changes to the COLA. While changes to the COLA will be difficult for retired school employees, the future health and stability of the pension system as a whole is crucial.
A similar provision is now in the Senate version of the budget bill, Sub. HB 49.
SB8: 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: 7/6/2017 - PASSED BY HOUSE; Amended on Floor, Bill Vote 97-0
Comments: Senate Bill 8, introduced by Sens. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and Louis Terhar (R-Cincinnati), requires the School Facilities Commission to establish a program that would allow a school district to apply for state funding to make infrastructure improvements specifically for technology and or safety and security. In order to qualify for funding under this proposal a district must not have already received assistance under the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP). The bill requires the School Facilities Commission to establish guidelines and procedures for participation in the program including the method for determining funding amounts and whether or not the funding should be related to the district's state share of the basic project cost.
HB 37 is a companion bill in the House. However, the provisions in SB 8 were amended into the final version of Amended Substitute HB 49, the biennial budget bill.
We are supportive of an alternative program to the traditional CFAP that focuses on safety and security enhancements for public school districts. This new proposal will benefit districts that may not be eligible for a significant state share and otherwise have little chance of state funding through the traditional CFAP program. OASBO, OSBA and BASA presented testimony in support of the bill in the House Education and Career Readiness Committee on June 14th.
SB54: SUMMER FOOD PROGRAMS (BROWN E, LEHNER P) To require school districts to allow approved summer food service program sponsors to use school facilities to provide food service for summer intervention services under certain conditions.
Current Status: 6/6/2017 - Senate Government Oversight and Reform, (Fifth Hearing)
Comments: This bill is similar to one that was passed by the Senate in the last General Assembly (GA) and seriously considered by the House during the lame duck session in December, 2016. OASBO and the other education organizations had worked on improvements to the bill addressing school district liability when outside groups utilize schools' cafeteria facilities and to add authority for districts to charge reasonable fees for wear and tear on equipment in addition to actual costs incurred.
The House Education and Career Readiness Committee amended their companion bill (HB 80) before recommending it to the full House making the provisions in the bill "permissive" for school districts. The Senate has now included the provisions from this legislation in their version of the budget bill, Sub. HB 49, however, it would be mandatory that school districts allow the outside groups to utilize their facilities for summer food service.
SB123: PROPERTY TAX COMPLAINT PROCESS (COLEY W) To limit the right to initiate most types of property tax complaints to the property owner and the county recorder of the county in which the property is located.
Current Status: 5/3/2017 - Senate Ways and Means, (First Hearing)
Comments: This legislation mirrors a bill from the last General Assembly. It would prohibit school district boards of education from challenging property values on properties they believe are valued too low. Instead, the County Recorder and the property owner would be the only persons permitted to challenge the values set by the County Auditor. If a property owner files a claim to lower property values, school districts could become a party in the claim. No action was taken on this legislation before the summer recess, however, we expect to see more activity later in the session.
We oppose this legislation as it takes away one component of the current checks and balances system for maintaining an equitable property tax system.
Position: Oppose - We oppose this legislation as it takes away one component of the current checks and balances system.
To see all legislation introduced in the 132nd General Assembly followed by OASBO, click here.