Advocacy Update 5.11. 23 – OAGC Budget Testimony in the Senate; SBOE changes; House P and S vote

Senate Education

The Senate Education Committee heard from nearly 70 witnesses this week regarding HB33 (Budget Bill).  OAGC presented testimony requesting the Senate retain the transparency and accountability language as amended in the House version.  Additionally, we requested changes to gifted student:gifted intervention specialist ratio from 140:1 to 100:1.  We also requested changes to the gifted unit funding formula and voiced our support for merit scholarships for the top 5% of students.  You can read the OAGC testimony here: OAGC HB33 Senate Testimony


State Board of Education

The SBOE has appointed Chris Woolard as the interim state superintendent. Hiring of a permanent state superintendent has been delayed due to the potential and likely vote on SB1. Board members have also requested that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issue a formal opinion on the constitutionality of SB1. 

In conjunction with the reading retention mandate repeal in HB117 (see below), the board voted to increase third grade reading cut scores to 695 for the 2023-2024 school year.  

House Primary and Secondary

The House Primary and Secondary committee voted unanimously (14-0) to repeal the retention mandate in the reading guarantee law (HB117).  The original requirement would retain third grade students who could not reach the cut score on English language arts tests.  Representative Manning (cosponsor of HB117) stated that she is not opposed to retaining students, but her opposition lies with the government requiring retention.  She stressed that the decision to retain a child should be made between parents and educators. 

House Primary and Secondary also heard opponent testimony regarding HB8 – the Parents’ Bill of Rights.  Much of the discussion surrounded the school psychologist and counselors role and requirement to notify parents if and when their child has sought mental health assistance.  Opponents argued that universal disclosure to parents may put a child in harm when they return home.