The biennial budget was formally introduced this week in HB166. The 1800-page bill had no surprises regarding education. In particular, no changes were made to the gifted formula or the earmark for gifted units at ESCs (Educational Service Centers). As expected, more funding was included for pre-school education and wrap-around services. The governor’s office indicated that few changes were made to education funding in anticipation of the Ohio House bi-partisan plan to revamp education funding. The overall framework of the plan was revealed on Monday, March 3.25.19, and hearings throughout the week provided more details. With regard to gifted funding, the plan provides little more information than previously reported. The “Fair School Funding Plan” recommendations for gifted funding include:
- Implementing the May 2018 Ohio Department of Education gifted cost study, using its per-student amounts to underwrite identification, referrals, coordinators and services.
- Establishing a work group to recommend improvements in reporting the expenditures established in the 2018 ODE study for gifted students and gifted programming.
- Offering support to rural districts to create and expand gifted programs.
OAGC has concerns about various elements of the gifted cost study, which we’ve outlined at http://www.oagc.com/files/OAGC%20Response%20to%20the%20Gifted%20Cost%20Study7.25.18(1).pdf.
Our main concerns are the transfer of bulk of the gifted funding burden to local districts, GIS to student ratios that will provide too little support, and the immediateneed for gifted funding accountability. OAGC will be advocating for changes to the recommended gifted funding plan and policies in the upcoming weeks. Simulations of the new funding formula should be made available on March 28, 2019.
All documents related to the state budget including all Fair School Funding documents will be posted at http://www.oagc.com/statebudget.asp under the FY2020/FY2021 Budget Documents topic heading.