SB1 – The Senate Education Committee took opponent and interested party testimony on SB1 – the education reform bill which take control of ODE from the State Board of Education and put in under the governor. Forty people provide written or oral testimony. It does not appear that the opponent testimony is swaying the majority caucus. Before testimony was received, Chair Andrew Brenner introduced three amendments to SB1. They would do the following:
- Specifies that the two deputy director positions for DEW (Department of Education and Workforce) established in the bill be filled by people with relevant educational, managerial or professional experience;
- Requires DEW to establish a stakeholder engagement process similar to what’s now in place at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA);
- Specifies DEW may not enforce policies or guidance documents it issues unless expressly authorized or required by law.
While OAGC appreciates the second amendment, it is unlikely to be enough to ensure that smaller education organizations and the general public will have the same ability to provide input that is currently in place. The last amendment seems highly problematic as there are many policies and guidance documents that don’t go through a formal rule process or are required by law.
While Senate Education was meeting, Representatives Don Jones and Dave Dobos provided sponsor testimony on HB12 in the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee. HB12 is the companion bill to SB1.
HB1 – While we covered some of the Ohio House priority bills last week, one that escaped us was HB1 which would flatten taxes in Ohio. It would also take about $1.2 billion out of school districts and other local entities by ending state property tax rollbacks. As one can imagine, that is not going over well. We will put HB1 on our watch list.
HB33 – The House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee met twice this week to hear testimony from smaller agencies. Testimony for gifted education has not been scheduled yet. One of the biggest issues for OAGC is that the accountability and transparency measures included in the last budget bill sunset at the end of June. They are currently not included in SB33.