SB1 – After a slew of largely opponent testimony, the Senate Education committee passed SB1 with some new amendments. The full Senate passed the bill on 3.1.23. The vote was along party lines. Amendments included the following (from Hannah News):
• AM0238, a technical amendment from the Legislative Service Commission meant to harmonize the bill with other education law changes enacted in lame duck session.
• AM0313-1, which changes the implementation deadline from June 30 of this year to 90 days after the bill’s effective date, and permits rather than requires the state superintendent to serve as an adviser to the DEW director.
• AM0355, which requires the DEW director to update or rescind any administrative rules regarding home education or non-chartered, non-public schools necessary to conform with statutory changes in the bill within 90 days after SB1’s effective date.
• AM0353-1, which clarifies that students being educated at home are subject to truancy law.
• AM0357, which more narrowly defines the new director’s authority over minimum standards to specify such powers are limited to those expressly prescribed and authorized in statute.
The companion bill in the House (HB12) also was amended this week to include some of the above.
The Senate Education committee chair continued to hammer the State Board of Education for not being able to improve test scores as the pretext for this bill. Senate President, Matt Huffman, said the bill was necessary because ODE acted without accountability and transparency. Readers should note that Ohio is a local control state so most education decisions are made by the local district. The amendments passed this week seem to increase the control at the local level making it less likely that ODE can make any changes to improve local performance. It is also unclear how moving control to the governor’s office will make the Ohio Department of Education more accountable to Ohio’s citizens. Some witnesses testified that transparency and accountability will likely decrease with the bill’s passage.
House Primary and Secondary Education – Along with testimony on the so-called backpack bill (HB11), the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee received an education funding primer of sorts from Aaron Rausch of ODE. His presentation would be helpful to those who are new to education funding. Please go to https://ohiohouse.gov/committees/primary-and-secondary-education/meetings/cmte_h_primary_secondary_ed_1_2023-02-28-0400_116 if you would like to download his presentation.
House Finance Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee – There were two hearings this week. The most relevant to gifted advocates was the one on Thursday, March 2nd, which was largely devoted to ODE testimony. State Superintendent Stephanie Siddens’ testimony was a shortened version of her testimony to the House Finance committee. Aaron Rausch’s (Chief of Budget and School Funding) testimony was new. Questions were numerous, mostly typical, and none were related to gifted. You can download both documents from https://ohiohouse.gov/committees/finance-subcommittee-on-primary-and-secondary-education/meetings/cmte_h_sub_primary_secondary_ed_1_2023-03-02-1000_155.