continued from page 1 The new budget removes the provision of vouchers being limited to students from poorly rated schools, and instead allows anyone from anywhere in the state to apply for a voucher to a private school, provided their family income is within 200% of the federal poverty level - approximately $46,000 for a family of 4. In the first year of this newly expanded program, it would be open to kindergarten students. First-graders would be added the subsequent year, with the expectation of further expansion as time goes on.
Charter schools also receive a boost from the Governor’s plan. First, they are in line to receive $100 per student for facilities improvement, which could total more than $13 million. They further benefit from the funding formula the Governor has devised, and as Stephen Dyer, Education Fellow at Innovation Ohio, notes “While School Districts are being notably held down on their funding in Kasich’s plan, Charter schools will be the only schools in the state that will receive full state funding.”
According to preliminary analysis of the blue book by OEA’s Governmental Services, here’s a brief synopsis of other education-related items in the budget:
• Calls for the State Board of Education to review and revise the operating standards to eliminate additional requirements outside of safety and core curriculum.
• Creates a new program, appropriating $300 million over the biennium, to provide one-time grants to districts to “increase their operational efficiency.” The “Straight ‘A’ Fund” would be allocated to fund projects (not ongoing programs) aimed at reducing costs. This program is funded through lottery profits.
• Allows school districts to base school calendars on a minimum number of hours rather than days.
• Does not provide direct funding for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. • Will require “salary schedules without defining structures.” OEA is concerned about this provision and will need actual language to determine its meaning. • Holds the current (FY 2013) reimbursements for revenue due to the elimination of the Tangible Personal Property Tax and other changes to tax law.
• Eliminates the minimum staffing requirement for speech pathologists and school psychologists. • Allocates a $100 million fund to help districts pay costs for students with the most severe disabilities. • Additional resources are proposed for districts with large populations of disadvantaged students but limited access to early childhood education programs. The budget affects higher education as well. The governor’s proposal implements a new state funding formula for the State Share of Instruction, which prioritizes degree completion. Fifty percent of the funding available for universities within the SSI will be awarded according to the number of students who complete a degree.
The proposal also shifts a system of funding based on enrolled students to a system that funds completion of classes, degrees and success points. The enrollment-based factor will be entirely eliminated in FY 2015. Finally, the budget creates a 2% tuition cap. The cap is the greater of the 2% that the individual institution charged in the prior year or the statewide average cost based on the college sector. House Bill 59 will receive hearings in the House before it is amended and sent to the Senate later this spring. Following Senate action, any differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the budget will need to be resolved in a conference committee, likely to be held in June. The final budget bill must be approved by June 30 and goes into effect on July 1, 2013. Follow the OEA website and Join the Future for updates, and be sure to communicate with your elected legislators to make sure the voices of educators and students are heard throughout the budget process.
COMMUNIQUÉ Volume 41, Number 3
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The vast majority of school districts would receive 0% funding increases.
The Central OEA/NEA Spring 2013 COmmunique