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Amended Substitute House Bill 66, State Budget, Education Policy
June 16 2005

SUMMARY

The state biennium budget (Am.Sub.H.B.66) was approved by the Ohio House on April 12 and by the Ohio Senate on June 1. There were many differences in each version and it is standard protocol for a "conference committee" to be assigned to work out the differences and come up with a compromise bill. The conference committee will finish its work over this coming weekend. The final version of the budget will then be presented to each chamber for a final vote (expected Tuesday, June 21).

Members of the conference committee on Am.Sub. H.B.66 are as follows:

State Representative Chuck Calvert (chairman) 614-466-8140

State Representative Tom Raga 614-644-6027

State Representative Dale Miller 614-466-3350

State Senator John Cary 614-466-8156

State Senator Ron Amstutz 614-466-7505

State Senator Tom Roberts 614-466-6247 EDUCATION POLICY (excerpts from LSC ) :

Post-Secondary Enrollment Option

House version:

1. Students enrolled in nonchartered nonpublic high schools (08 schools) are prohibited from participating in option B, which provides for the State to pay for the college courses.

2. College physical education courses are disqualified from the program.

3. Parents of participating students must reimburse the State for funds paid to a college for a course in which their student does not obtain a passing final grade.

Senate version: All of the above House-passed provisions were removed in the Senate-passed version. It essentially takes the language back to current law (prior to HB 66's introduction).

NOTE: At this point there is a 50/50 chance on which version the conference committee will approve. The Catholic Conference has been lobbying for the House version (to exclude 08 students). Just a reminder -- it is very important that any phone calls placed to conference committee members on this issue be done so in a respectful manner.

It is also important to understand that there is interest among some legislators to introduce separate legislation on the PSEO program, so regardless of the outcome of the budget, there will be ongoing discussions regarding PSEO. e-schools

House version:

1. Requires students (other than kindergarteners) to have been enrolled in a public school for at least one semester out of the previous 3 years prior to enrolling in an e-school.

2. Creates a one-year moratorium on the establishment of new e-schools (sponsors)

3. Disqualifies e-schools from certain state and federal funding.

4. Requires each e-school to provide a location within 50 miles of a student's residence for the student to take state tests.

Senate version: 1. Removes the House language requiring students to first enroll in a public school for at least one semester.

2. Creates a one-year moratorium on the establishment of new e-schools (sponsors), but modifies it to begin May 1, 2005 and end one-year after the bill's effective date (July 1, 2006)

3. Disqualifies e-schools from certain state and federal funding.

4. Requirement to provide a testing location is same as the House, but adds a requirement to withdraw students who fail to take the state tests for two consecutive school years.

5. Establishes a 3-year pilot program (not in House version) to make change the state's basic funding to e-schools. Community schools House version:

1. Establishes a statewide cap (until July 1, 2007) on contracts fro start-up community schools sponsored by the school districts. The cap is 25 plus the number of contracts in effect on the bill's effective date. The cap would not include schools whose mission is to solely serve dropouts.

2. Extends for two years the statewide cap on the number of contracts for start-up community schools sponsored by entities other than school districts, but increases it from 225 to 250. The cap would not apply to sponsors designated by state universities and schools whose mission is to solely serve dropouts.

3. Limits the number of schools a sponsor may have. The limits would not apply to sponsors designated by state universities and schools whose mission is to solely serve dropouts.

4. Permits a community school to specifically serve autistic students together with students who are not handicapped. Senate version: 1. Establishes a statewide cap (until July 1, 2007) on contracts fro start-up community schools sponsored by the school districts. The cap is 25 plus the number of contracts in effect on the bill's effective date. The cap would not include schools whose mission is to solely serve dropouts. Modifies House language to apply to schools actually open as of May 1, 2005.

2. Extends for two years the statewide cap on the number of contracts for start-up community schools sponsored by entities other than school districts, but increases it from 225 to 250. The cap would not apply to sponsors designated by state universities and schools whose mission is to solely serve dropouts. Modifies House language to apply to schools actually open as of May 1, 2005.

3. Limits the number of schools a sponsor may have -- lower than the House provision, but permits the Ohio Dept. of Education to exceed the limit.

4. Permits a community school to specifically serve autistic students together with students who are not handicapped.

5. Establishes a 3-year pilot program (not in House version) to change state-basic cost payments to e-schools. Statewide vouchers:

"Ohio Educational Choice Scholarship Program" (not the same as the Cleveland voucher program) House version:

1. Establishes a program to award up to 18,000 vouchers for public school students enrolled in academic watch or emergency districts (statewide) to attend (registered) nonpublic schools.

2. Voucher amounts would be as follows: Grades K-4 (up to $4000); Grades 5-8 (up to 4,500); Grades 9-12 (up to $5,000). The school district would keep the rest of the state basic aid for each child (FY2007 - $5,399 less the voucher amt.)

3. Prohibits the nonpublic school from charging voucher students more than $105% of the voucher amount if his/her family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Senate version:

1. Establishes a program to award vouchers for public school students enrolled in academic watch or emergency districts (statewide) to attend (registered) nonpublic schools. It modifies the House language to reduce the number of vouchers to 10,000 and designates the program as a pilot. It would also require that participating nonpublic schools be chartered.

2. Voucher amounts would be as follows for FY2007: Grades K-8 ($4,200); Grades 9-12 ($5,000). The school district would keep the difference between the state's basic aid and a flat $5,200. Note the FY2007 state basic aid amount in the Senate version is $5,403. So the district would retain about $200 for each voucher student.

3. Prohibits the nonpublic school from charging voucher students more than the voucher amount if his/her family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Administration of State Achievement Tests

House version:

1. Specifies that only a portion (less than half) of the state's achievement tests are open public record (after administration).

2. Specifies that only the spring administration (excluding field test questions) of the Ohio Graduation Test would be an open public record. Senate version:

Same as House language, except that it makes the changes effective on July 1, 2005. Note: This is a severe setback for the State's accountability to the public on state assessments