Advocacy Update – 9.29.21 – Equity Panel Recording, Funding Update, Vaccine Mandate Bill, CCP Bill, and State Board of Education Reorganization Bill

Fordham/OAGC Equity Panel Discussion – In case you missed it, the panel discussion on the new Fordham report, “Lost Einsteins,” was recorded, and is now available at The full report can be downloaded at

Funding Update – ODE has released the following statement regarding the new funding formula, While the Department initially anticipated moving to the new funding calculations next month, the enormity of these changes will not allow for an October implementation. As a result, implementation of the new school funding formula will occur in December. It is important to note this delay will not reduce the total amount of funding a school or district will generate in state funding during the 2021-22 school year.”  For those of you waiting to view the gifted payment amounts on October 15th, you will need to wait until December.

HB435 – Vaccine Mandates – The Ohio Health Committee passed a bill this week which would bar any mandate for a vaccine that does not have full approval from the FDA. This bill would apply to both public (including schools and universities) and private employers with the exception of employees of children’s hospitals, those working in intensive or critical care units of hospitals, students whose education involves training in those settings and employers involved in infectious disease research who are subject to federal orders.

The bill would require any employer, school or institution that wants to institute a vaccine requirement for existing employees to honor exemptions for medical contraindications; natural immunity as demonstrated by the presence of antibodies in an amount at least equal to that conferred by vaccination; and reasons of conscience including religious convictions. All the exemptions require documentation, although the documentation for the conscience objection must simply state in writing the intent to claim it, with employers barred from requiring any further evidence. The bill would also bar the government facilities including some professional sports stadiums from requiring proof of vaccination for entry.

Opponents of the bill include many members of the business community who believe the bill is an overreach into private business rights to set their own policies on employment. The bill was to have been fast-tracked through the Ohio House, but due to the massive pushback, it was re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

HB368 (Bird, Pavligia)– College Credit Plus (CCP) Weighted Grades – HB368 would allow districts to decide how to weight grades for CCP, which in most districts would mean that students taking CCP courses would not be able to be attain a comparable GPA of students taking AP/IB or honors courses. The bill, which essentially changes one crucial word “shall” to “may” would allow districts to revert to practices previously seen where students taking CCP courses would have lower GPAs – even if they have taken rigorous courses that would match or exceed the level of AP or IB, or even, honors courses which have no college credit assigned to them. While it is true that some CCP courses are better than others, this blanket policy change will be a huge blow to students taking CCP courses. OAGC opposes this change and will work with the bill co-sponsors and members of the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee to let them know the potential consequences of passing HB368. To view the sponsor testimony of this bill, please go to 9-28-2021:45  :45 (right after roll call).

You can also view the bill and the co-sponsor testimony here.

HB298 (Bird, J. Miller)– Restructure the State Board of Education to Allow Only Elected Members – Once upon a time, the State Board of Education of Ohio was an elected-member only board. During the Voinovich administration, legislation was passed to allow the governor to appoint eight members. While both liberals and conservatives have grumbled about this at various times, but the strength of the governor’s office has kept this elected/appointed board make-up since the 1990s. HB298, which has broad support, calls for the state board to go back to all-elected membership. And given recent General Assembly moves to limit gubernatorial power, this bill might actually get passed. OAGC will watch the progress on this one. The debate on this was quite interesting. You can watch it on the Ohio Channel at  9-28-2021 beginning at 38:00.