Current Issues, Bills & Statuses

“Hot Issues” bills followed by OASBO

HB49: OPERATING BUDGET (SMITH R) Creates FY 2018-2019 main operating budget.

Current Status:  5/11/2017 - Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee, (Fourth Hearing)

Comments:   For information about the budget bill, click here.
 

HB124: VOCATIONAL SCHOOL TAX LEVY (BRENNER A, CARFAGNA R) To authorize a joint vocational school district to submit the question of a renewal tax levy to voters who did not have an opportunity to vote on the levy at an election held in November of 2015 because the levy was only placed on the ballot in one of several counties in which the district has territory.

Current Status:  5/2/2017 - REPORTED OUT, House Ways and Means, (Third Hearing)

Comments:  This bill is in response to a 4-3 Ohio Supreme Court decision regarding a renewal tax levy for the Delaware Area Career Center (DACC) that passed in 2015. The Delaware County Board of Elections failed to distribute the ballot language to the surrounding counties whose residents would be subject to the tax. The tax commissioner is refusing to certify the levy because of the mistake by the elections board even though the number of voters in the election from those counties would not have changed the outcome of the levy. The decision means the DACC would have to put a new issue on the ballot (with no Homestead and Rollback payments) to replace the funds from the renewal levy. OASBO, OSBA and BASA submitted a friend of the court brief to the Supreme Court in support of DACC in the original case. DACC has now filed an appeal for reconsideration by the Court and the three organizations are preparing a brief in support of the reconsideration. This bill would allow the issue to be placed on the ballot in just the omitted counties. The votes would be added to the votes from Delaware County in the November 2015 election.

Position:   Support

 

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:  4/25/2017 - Senate Education, (Third Hearing)

Comments:  Senate Bill 8, introduced by Sens. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and Louis Terhar (R-Cincinnati), requires the Ohio 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. 

We are aware that Senator Gardner has been working on changes to the bill and a substitute version is expected soon. It is our understanding the new version will allow for additional uses of this new alternative OFCC program.

Position:  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.

 

SB34: SCHOOL YEARS (MANNING G) To generally require public and chartered nonpublic schools to open for instruction after Labor Day.

Current Status:   4/25/2017 - Senate Education, (Third Hearing)

Comments:   Senate Bill 34, introduced by Sen. Gayle Manning (R- North Ridgeville), would require schools to open after Labor Day unless the school board adopts a resolution allowing the school to open earlier. The school board would also be required to hold a public hearing at least 30 days before adopting the resolution. 

Position: We are opposed to this legislation because it proposes to strip away local control. We believe that locally elected boards of education are in the best position to determine a school calendar that meets the needs of their students and their communities. Furthermore, this bill does not address the state assessment schedule. If enacted, this bill would reduce the amount of time available for instruction prior to assessments for districts starting after Labor Day.

 

SB36: AGRICULTURAL COMPUTATION (HITE C) To require that the computation of the capitalization rate for the purposes of determining CAUV of agricultural land be computed using a method that excludes appreciation and equity buildup and to stipulate that CAUV land used for a conservation practice or enrolled in a federal land retirement or conservation program for at least three years must be valued at the lowest of the values assigned on the basis of soil type.

Current Status: 5/10/2017 - Senate Ways and Means, (Sixth Hearing)

Comments: Senate Bill 36 was introduced by Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findley). Events have led to rapidly accelerating land valuations and higher taxes for farmers. This bill recommends changes to the current methodology used to calculate the Current Agricultural Use Values (CAUV) for farmlands and woodlands.
 
The bill prescribes in statute that the method used to compute CAUV values must employ a capitalization rate that excludes factors expressing land value appreciation and equity buildup. It places a ceiling on the taxable value of CAUV land if the land is also used for conservation purposes by requiring the land to be valued as though it included soil of the least productive type. 

Position:   We oppose piecemeal changes to the manner of calculating CAUV values.  Under the existing school foundation formula, changes in the land valuation of any district result in changes to all districts, regardless of the mix between agricultural and residential land.  Reductions in agricultural land values and taxes leads to increases in residential taxes.  We support looking at the formula for CAUV calculations in a comprehensive manner as opposed to piecemeal changes.

The House included a phased-in version of SB 36 in their version of the biennial budget bill, HB 49. We continue to oppose the provision. 


SB582: SCHOOL ABSENCES-PARENTAL NOTIFICATION (WILLIAMS S, LEHNER P) To require a public school to place a telephone call within one hour of the start of the school day to a parent whose child is absent without legitimate excuse.

Current Status: 4/25/2017 - Senate Education, (Third Hearing)

Comments: We are concerned about the bill's short turn-around time for districts to notify parents. Additionally, not all school districts take attendance within the first hour of the day. We urge the legislature to work with school districts on a solution that allows local flexibility while maintaining student safety.

 

SB85: OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM CREATION (HUFFMAN M) To eliminate the Educational Choice Scholarship Pilot Program and Pilot Project Scholarship Program and to create the Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Current Status:  4/25/2017 - Senate Education, (Second Hearing)

Comments: Senate Bill 85, introduced by Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima), will 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 or for college 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. 

Position: We are opposed to any expansion of Ohio's school voucher system. SB 85 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 SB 85 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.

 

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.

Position: 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.