Superintendent’s Legislative Update

In an effort to keep our community informed about legislative activity pertaining to education, the most recent update is as follows (Facts in a Flash, Jennifer Hogue, Ohio School Boards Association, 2015):

Senate Education Committee

The Senate Education Committee met this week and heard testimony from several teachers regarding testing. The teachers shared their perspectives and raised several issues with the current testing system, including disruption of instruction, the uses of the tests and the amount of time spent testing.

The Senate’s testing task force will begin holding meetings soon. This task force includes senators, superintendents, curriculum specialists, teachers, and parents. The task force is slated to wrap up its meetings and make recommendations by the end of June.

House Education Committee

The House Education Committee met twice this week and held hearings on two pieces of legislation.

The committee heard House Bill (HB) 2 on community (charter) school accountability. Current law excludes the report card results from dropout prevention and recovery community schools from being included in their sponsoring school district’s report card. HB 2 proposes to remove this exemption beginning with the report cards for the 2015-16 school year. Dr. Richard Varrati of Quaker Digital Academy asked the committee to remove this change from the bill.

The committee also heard testimony on HB 74 regarding the administration of state assessments.

House Primary and Secondary Education Funding Subcommittee

The House Primary and Secondary Education Funding Subcommittee met three times this week and heard from the following groups.

  • Ohio Educational Service Center Association
  • Ohio Association of Career Technical Education and Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents
  • Ohio Association of City Career-Technical Schools
  • Ohio Education Computer Network
  • Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities
  • Ohio Association of Gifted Children
  • Various school choice associations

The following dates have been scheduled for public testimony.

  • Wednesday, March 18, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click here for details about the hearings sent from the office of the committee chairman.

Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission

The Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission’s Education, Public Institutions and Local Government Committee voted this week to retain the current language in Article VI, Sections 1 & 2, which contain the “thorough and efficient” clause.

House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee

The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee heard sponsor testimony on HB 81 from Rep. Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick). This legislation would eliminate the ability to conduct special elections in February and require political subdivisions to prepay 65% of the estimated cost of a special election.

House Health and Aging Committee

The House Health and Aging Committee held a hearing on HB 39, which would allow schools to procure and use inhalers in accordance with prescribed policies. The committee added provisions to do the following before unanimously passing the bill:

  • to allow a school building to procure spacers, which are used to better control the flow of medication into the airways;
  • to remove a provision that would have required the district to call 911 after administering the inhaler if it is administered by a health professional.

New bills

Following is a list of new education-related bills introduced this week and the legislators sponsoring them:

  • Senate Bill (SB) 121: Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) — to require pupils to be immunized against meningococcal disease at an age recommended by the Department of Health.
  • SB 125: Sens. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) and Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) — to require the Board of Building Standards to adopt rules for the use of a barricade device on a school door in an emergency situation and to prohibit the State Fire Code from prohibiting the use of the device in such a situation.
  • SB 126: Sen. Tom Sawyer (D-Akron) — to require a study of inter-district open enrollment not later than July 1, 2017, and to terminate open enrollment on Dec. 31, 2017, with the possibility of renewal following the General Assembly’s examination of the study’s findings.
  • HB 114: Reps. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Heather Bishoff (D-Jefferson Township) — to require the Board of Building Standards to adopt rules for the use of a barricade device on a school door in an emergency situation and to prohibit the State Fire Code from prohibiting the use of the device in such a situation.

Thank you to the Ohio School Boards association for providing Facts in a Flash.

Please contact Dr. Hill with questions or comments.