Blue Book Unveiled – As is tradition, Governor DeWine introduced many of his budget priorities in last week’s state of the state speech. For education, that means more funding heading toward literacy efforts, vouchers and community (charter) schools. The governor’s budget which will be introduced in the House Finance committee soon is outlined in what is called the “blue book.” You can find his thoughts on the education department around page 262 at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nUxsc9YaMR4sKMnU-RbibjvlrnrKaWP9/view. Foundation funding (where gifted funding is located) receives a 1.7% increase in FY2024 and no increase beyond that in FY2025. While it is better than a decrease, it does not move the Cupp-Patterson funding formula far beyond the current status for the next biennium.
One of the policy items not included is the state board reform which is included in SB1. The general feeling around the statehouse is that the reform language will eventually land in the budget bill. Political sages believe it is a matter of “when not if” the reform will move forward. This will change things considerably for smaller education associations, parents and the general public. As education decisions will be made with much less transparency and input, it will greatly hamper any ability of those who do not have access to the governor’s office to have a voice on education issues.
All of the budget documents that OAGC will post will be at https://oagc.com/advocacy/state-budget/.
House Committees Formed – At long last, the Ohio House has announced committee membership. The House website should be updated soon with all members. The committee that is of most importance to gifted advocates this winter is the primary and secondary education finance subcommittee which is chaired by Tracy Richardson (R). Chair Richardson has been supportive of gifted in the past. Also joining her are Dave Dobos (R) and Andrea White (R), Dani Issacsohn (ranking minority member), and Phil Robinson (D), who is the ranking minority member of the primary and secondary education committee. Dave Dobos is a former member of Columbus City Schools and was supportive of gifted education at that time. All contact information for House and Senate committee members can be accessed at the OAGC website at https://oagc.com/advocacy/policymaker-contacts/.
Just to remind everyone, the budget bill will begin in the House. The education portion of the bill will be heard extensively in the primary and secondary finance subcommittee. The House Finance committee will then receive additional testimony, revise the bill and send it the Senate. This will occur sometime in April. The Senate usually has the Senate Education Committee receive testimony on the bill. Then the full Senate Finance Committee will make changes. At this point, a conference committee will be appointed to hash out the differences between the governor’s office, the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate. This will take place in June. The budget needs to be signed by June 30th.
The House Finance Committee has already scheduled meetings next week to hear from the various offices about the budget. These hearings will take place before the bill has been formally introduced. ODE and ODHE will be providing testimony on Thursday, February 9th, at 9:00 AM.