Please see important pending legislation in SB3 immediately below and CONTACT THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE TODAY! Also scroll through Joan’s detailed legislative report to see most current status of the Rule 5 of 8 that saw testimony in JCARR on March 16th.
It has been a hectic first quarter on the board! I am on a pretty steep learning curve! Eight of us on the State Board have formed the Pro Public School Caucus and continue to meet to develop united messages on behalf of high-quality public education.I continue to work to communicate effectively with all of you. I am posting research and updates on my Facebook page at Pat Bruns for State Board of Education. Please friend me and tell all your friends to do the same!
Currently, I am scheduling Meet and Greets with superintendents and other agencies that work to provide high-quality educational environments for our students, such as the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and other early childhood education agencies such as 4c for Children and Head Start. I am receiving many communications about testing frustrations from superintendents and parents.
Please feel free to contact me with your questions/concerns! IN THE MEANTIME….
WISHING YOU AN ARTFUL DAY!
Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
March 23, 2015
Please contact the members of the Senate Education Committee and request that SB3 (Hite/Faber) Testing/High Performing Schools be amended to eliminate the following two provisions for high performing school districts regarding teacher licensing:
-Section 3302.16 (A)(4) exempts high performing school districts from requiring teachers to be licensed specifically in the subject area or grade level in which they are teaching.
-Section §3302.16 (B) (1) allows the superintendent of a high performing school district, with board approval, to employ an individual “who is not licensed as required by sections 3319.22 to 3319.30 of the Revised Code, but who is otherwise qualified based on experience, to teach classes in the district.”
Both of these provisions could lead to individuals who are not appropriately qualified to teach the arts in Ohio classrooms.
Ohio already has a provision in current law allowing non-licensed instructors to teach for up to twelve hours per week (§3319.301 ORC). Ohio also has an alternative licensing program, which provides a different pathway for individuals to become licensed teachers. These provisions provide flexibility for individuals to become licensed teachers, and for school districts to hire individuals with special skills on a temporary basis.
SB3 could undermine the great track record that Ohio school districts have made to hire highly qualified and licensed teachers in the arts. These teachers meet the graduation requirements of their institutions of higher education in their arts discipline, and also meet Ohio’s rigorous standards for beginning teachers, including passing a national assessment for teachers in their content area, and fulfilling all requirements for earning a permanent license.
Request that the Senate Education Committee eliminate the provisions that exempt high performing school districts from teacher licensing standards, to ensure that Ohio students continue to receive the highest quality of instruction from licensed teachers.
Senate Education Committee Members:
Senator Peggy Lehner, chair email@example.com
Senator Cliff Hite, vice chair SD01@ohiosenate.gov
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Peggy Lehner, has been holding hearings on SB3 (Hite/Faber) Testing/High Performing Schools, and expects to consider amendments to the bill this week.
The bill includes provisions that limit testing in Ohio’s schools in response to the increased frustration about over-testing. The bill also establishes criteria to identify high performing school districts, and exempts those school districts from certain provisions in law, including provisions regarding teacher licensing standards.
Based on the proposed criteria in the bill, about 125 districts would be consider high-performing this year. According to testimony provided by Ann Sheldon, executive director of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children, “Of those districts 73 have a third-grade reading proficiency rate of less than 95% (the rate required for high-performing in the governor’s budget bill); 37 districts have grades of “D” or “F” either for the overall or a sub-group value-added measure, and, finally, 93 of those districts have ACT remediation free rates of less than 50%.”
SB3 could undermine successful efforts in Ohio to ensure that all students have access to qualified teachers in the arts. According to OAAE data for the 2012-13 school year, there were 8,990 arts teachers in Ohio’s traditional public schools. Ninety-seven percent of those arts teachers were certified to teach courses in the arts, holding the appropriate multi-age license in an arts discipline. In addition, 98.2 percent of arts courses were taught by a certified arts teacher in the 2012-13 school year.
Thank you for contacting the Ohio Senate Education Committee with this important request.
1) Ohio News
•131st General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold hearings and session this week.
•House Bill 7 Signed Into Law: Governor Kasich signed HB7 (Buchy) into law on March 16, 2015. The law prohibits individual student scores from certain elementary and secondary achievement assessments administered for the 2014-2015 school year from being used to determine promotion or retention or to grant course credit; allows students who opt-out of taking state assessments to keep a voucher; and makes changes regarding the administration of high school end-of-course examinations. The requirements of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee are not affected by HB7. The law became effective immediately with the governor’s signature.
•Inhaler Bill Advances: The Ohio House approved HB39 (Duffey) School-Camp Inhaler Permit, by a vote of 96 to 0. The bill would permit schools and camps to procure and use inhalers for alleviating asthmatic symptoms, and exempts the schools and camps from licensing requirements related to the possession of inhalers.
•Operating Standards Move Back to State Board: The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) allowed Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3301-35-05 Faculty and Staff Focus, also known as the ‘5 of 8’ rule, to move forward on March 16, 2015, after a motion to invalidate the rule failed.
The rule is among ten rules being updated by the State Board of Education, and referred to as Operating Standards for Ohio’s Schools in Grades Kindergarten through Twelve, Rules 3301-35-01 through 10, JCARR tabled the ‘5 of 8’ rule last month, and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) re-filed the rule in early March 2015.
During the JCARR hearing Representative Debbie Phillips made a motion to invalidate the rule, saying that it conflicted with “legislative intent”. The proposed new rule eliminates the requirement that school districts employ five educators in eight areas for every 1000 students. The areas include school nurses, counselors, library media specialists, school social workers, visiting teachers, and elementary art, music, and physical education. Representative Phillips explained that the intent of the legislature is for school districts to provide these opportunities for students as part of the public education system.
The panel received testimony opposing the rule change from Susan Yutzey with the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, Steve Mitchell with the Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and George Edge with the Ohio Music Education Association. The witnesses said that without the ‘5 of 8’ rule school districts facing a budget crisis could cut these teachers, diminishing the quality of eduction for all students, and conflicting with the legislative intent to provide a high quality education.
Speaking in favor of the rule was Tom Ash with the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and Keith Horner, Superintendent from Wapakoneta City Schools. They said that school districts should have the ability to make employment decisions at the local level.
The motion to invalidate the rule failed, because the opposition was unable to prove a clear conflict with legislative intent, and, as explained by Representative Duffey, who chaired the panel, the State Board of Education has the authority to change its rules.
But, several members of the panel expressed their support for school districts to continue to provide the learning opportunities and services included in the rule. And, there was support from Senator Frank LaRose and others to seek a legislative remedy.
The State Board of Education is expected to take final action on the revised Operating Standards at their April 2015 meeting.
•Senate Testing Panel Meets: The Columbus Dispatch reported that the new Senate Testing Advisory Committee, chaired by Senator Peggy Lehner, met for the first time on March 18, 2015. The committee was created by Senate President Keith Faber, in response to concerns raised by students, parents, and teachers about over-testing. The committee includes teachers, administrators, representatives from the State Board of Education, senators, and testing experts. Its charge is to evaluate the tests created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the American Institute for Research (AIR), and make recommendations to the Senate by May 2015. The committee will also review during the summer the goals for testing in Ohio’s schools and the overall quality of assessments. Matt Williams, vice president of policy and advocacy for KnowledgeWorks, will facilitate the work of the committee.
2) This Week at the Statehouse
•The House Finance Committee will meet three times this week to continue hearing testimony on HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget.
The committee will meet on March 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 313; on March 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 313; and on March 26, 2015 at 9:00 AM in hearing room 313.
•The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on March 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM in hearing room 121 and on March 25, 2015 at 8:00 AM in hearing room 017. The committee will consider amendments to HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner) Charter School Sponsorship. No testimony will be received.
•The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, will meet on March 24, 2015 at 4:00 PM in the Senate Finance Hearing Room. The committee will receive testimony on SB3 (Hite/Faber) High Performing School District Exemption, and is expected to consider amendments.
3) House and Senate Committees Consider Charter School Bills: Charter schools were first established in Ohio in FY99. They have grown from 15 schools educating 2,245 students (0.1 percent of public school enrollment) in FY99 to 388 schools educating 120,826 students (7 percent of public school enrollment) in FY14. According to the Legislative Services Commission (LSC) charter school funding will reach nearly $1 billion ($990 million) annually by FY17.
Recent investigative reports in the newspapers, studies conducted by CREDO of Stanford University and Bellwether Education Partners, and audits conducted by State Auditor David Yost have intensified scrutiny of charter school operations. These investigations and reports have identified a number of problems plaguing Ohio’s charter school industry, including conflicts of interest, misappropriation of funds, poor accounting practices, unrecoverable funds, student attendance irregularities, closed schools reopening, and an unprecedented number of school closures.
In response to these reports and investigations, the following four bills have been introduced in the 131st General Assembly to increase accountability and transparency for charter schools: Governor Kasich’s Executive Budget, HB64 (Smith); HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner), SB20 (Schiavoni) Record Keeping, and SB59 (Skindell) Defines Public/Private Funds.
In addition, Senator Lehner, chair of the Senate Education Committee, is expected to introduce legislation that includes recommendations that she has gathered from groups representing the charter school industry and advocates for more charter school accountability.
The following is a review of the provisions in the four bills:
•Charter School Bills in the Ohio Senate
Last week the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Lehner, heard testimony on two charter school bills: SB20 (Schiavoni) Record Keeping and SB59 (Skindell) Defines Public/Private Funds.
SB20 would require the state auditor to audit accounts, reports, records and files regarding the receipt or expenditure of public funds for every community school, sponsor, and operator.
SB59 states that any state funds that are paid to a charter school and are used as payment for services rendered by an operator or management company shall maintain their status as public money once transferred to the operator or management company. The bill states that property, furniture, books, computers, etc. purchased with public funds are not the property of an operator or management company.
•Charter School Bills/Provisions in the Ohio House
There is one bill addressing charter schools in the House, HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner), but HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, has a number of policy changes that would affect charter schools.
•House Bill 2 (Dovilla/Roegner): The House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, approved several amendments for the charter school reform bill, HB2 (Dovilla/Roegner), on March 17, 2015.
Some of the amendments incorporate the charter school provisions included in HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget, into the bill, including the provisions for charter schools that consolidate and charter schools that offer preschool programs.
But, several recommendations presented to the committee by State Auditor David Yost on March 4, 2015 in the areas of accountability, finance, and governance, were not included. Auditor Yost recommended, for example, that charter schools follow Governmental Accounting Standards Board practices for financial reporting, and that operators submit a more detailed footnote on their spending in the schools’ financial statements.
The following is a summary of HB2 and the recent amendments to the bill:
-Section 3302.03 Performance Ratings (I): Requires that the grades of dropout recovery and prevention conversion charter schools be included with other report card indicators for the school districts sponsoring those schools on and after July 1, 2016.
The bill was amended by the committee to clarify that only the performance of students in a conversion dropout recovery charter school residing in the district will be included on the district report card.
Responsibilities of the State Board of Education/ODE
-NEW Section 3314.031 (A): Requires beginning December 31, 2015 that the ODE maintain an accurate record of the names and identifying information of all entities that have entered into a contract with the governing authority of a charter school to manage or operate that school, and receive from the governing authority of each charter school a copy of the contract between a governing authority and its operator. Requires that the performance of management companies and organizations be reported and included in the annual charter school report required under 3314.015 (A)(4)
-Section 3314.031(B): Requires the ODE not later than July 1, 2016, to develop and publish an annual performance report for all operators of charter schools in the state. The report will be made available on the department’s web site.
•NEW Section 3314.034: Requires the ODE to approve charter school contracts with new sponsors on and after December 31, 2015, if the charter school has received a grade of “D” or “F” for the performance index score, and an overall grade of “D“ or “F” for the value-added progress dimension on the most recent report card, or the charter school is one in which a majority of the students are enrolled in a dropout prevention and recovery program, and it has received a rating of “does not meet standards” for the annual student growth measure and combined graduation rates on the most recent report card.
Section 3. Requires the State Board of Education not later than December 31, 2015, to make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding performance standards for community schools in which a majority of the enrolled students are children with disabilities receiving special education, and if it is possible, to remove the exemption from permanent closure.
Amendments Added for State Board of Education/ODE
-Section 3314.029: Permits the ODE to establish the format and deadlines for applications to the ODE Office of School Sponsorship. Permits the state board to establish additional criteria necessary for approval for sponsorship by ODE. These provisions are similar to provision in HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget.
-Section 3314.03 Clarifies that ODE shall approve financial plan of new charter schools, and the plan shall stand as approved if ODE fails to make a decision within 14 days of submission.
•Section 3314.016 Exemplary Sponsors: Adds incentives for sponsors rated exemplary.
•Section 3314.031: Requires the ODE to include the performance report in the department’s annual report on charter schools.
Responsibilities of Charter School Sponsors
-NEW Section 3314.46: Prohibits a sponsor from selling any goods or services to any charter school it sponsors. States that If the sponsor of a community school entered into a contract prior to the effective date of this section that involves the sale of goods or services to a community school it sponsors, the sponsor shall not be required to comply with this division until the expiration of the contract.
-NEW 3314.025 (A): Requires that each sponsor of a community school shall annually submit a report describing the amount and type of expenditures made to provide oversight and technical assistance to each community school it sponsors. (B) Requires the state board of education not later than ninety days after the effective date of this section, to establish requirements and a reporting procedure.
-Section 3314.023 Sponsor Monitoring and Technical Assistance: Requires that when a representative of a sponsor meets monthly with the treasurer or governing authority, that copies of financial and enrollment records be furnished to the community school sponsor, members of the governing authority, and the fiscal officer.
-Section 3314.19 Sponsor assurance to ODE before school opens: New (N) Requires sponsors to examine in detail charter schools that plan to use the blended learning model, and report certain information to the ODE.
•Section 3314.23 Internet or computer-based school: (C) Requires that the sponsor of each internet- or computer-based community school be responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the online learning standards and report a school’s failure to comply with these standards to the ODE.
Amendments Added for Sponsors
-Section 3314.07 (3): Requires sponsors to notify schools by December 1, rather than February 1, of non renewal.
-Section 3314.02 (E)(7): Requires sponsors to annually verify that there are no outstanding findings for recovery against any governing authority member.
-Sections 3314.023 and 3314.019: Requires that a charter school sponsor, not a contracted agent, is responsible for communicating and meeting with the Auditor of State regarding the condition of enrollment, financial records, and audits of schools authorized by the sponsor.
-Section 3314.025: Clarifies that expenditures by sponsors for oversight and technical assistance shall be reported according to the ODE.
Amendments Added for Exemplary Sponsors
-Section 3314.074 (D): States that a charter school that engages in a merger or consolidation and becomes a single public benefit corporation will not be required to distribute assets provided that the governing authority of the charter school created by the merger or consolidation enters into a contract for sponsorship with an entity rated as “exemplary” by the ODE. A similar provision is included in HB 64 (Smith) Biennial Budget.
-Establishes other incentives for exemplary sponsors including an extended contract.
Responsibilities of the Governing Authorities
-Section 3314.03 (9) and NEW 3314.032: Requires that the contract between the charter school governing authority and the sponsor include an addendum outlining the facilities to be used and their locations, and include additional information. Requires clear agreements with sponsor and operating companies about ownership of facilities, equipment, supplies, computers, etc.
Amendments Added for the Governing Authority
-Section 3313.131: Prohibits any member of a charter school governing authority from serving on a district school board and vice versa.
-Section 3314.035: Requires the names of charter governing authority members to be posted on the school’s web site; and requires the names and addresses of governing authority members to be provided to sponsors and ODE.
-Section 3314.011: Requires that the fiscal officer of a charter school be employed by the governing authority, but permits a governing authority to annually waive the requirement by resolution with sponsor approval. In the bill as introduced the governing authority was required to hire the fiscal officer.
-Section 3314.02 (E) (5): Removes the provision prohibiting a vendor from serving on the governing authority board. The bill now prohibits employees of school districts or educational service centers from serving on a governing board of a charter school sponsored by the district, but would permit a vendor of a school district or educational service center to serve on a charter school governing authority.
-Section 3314.02 (E) (6): Requires each member of the governing authority of a charter school to annually file a disclosure statement with the names of any immediate relatives or business associates employed by the sponsor or operator of that charter school, school district, or educational service center, that has contracted with that charter school, or a vendor that is currently engaged in business or has previously engaged in business with that charter school. Clarifies that the governing authority members’ disclosure for vendors is limited to the “past three years.”
-Section 3314.035: Requires that a charter school governing authority retain independent counsel for purposes of negotiating the contract with their sponsor and operator.
-Section 3314.035: Requires governing authority members, administrative and supervisory staff of charter schools to receive annual training regarding public records and open meetings.
-Section 3314.03 Contracts between schools and sponsors: (A)(4) Requires sponsors to evaluate the performance standards by which the success of the school will be evaluated, including, but not limited to, all applicable report card measures.
-Section 3314.03 (9): Requires that the contract between the charter school governing authority and the sponsor include an addendum outlining the facilities to be used and their locations, and include additional information.
•NEW 3314.032 Requires that on and after the effective date of this section, any new or renewed contract between the governing authority of a community school and an operator shall include the criteria to be used for early termination of the operator contract; required notification procedures and time line for early termination or non renewal of the operator contract; and a stipulation of which entity owns all community school facilities and property including, but not limited to, equipment, furniture, fixtures, instructional materials and supplies, computers, printers, and other digital devices purchased by the governing authority or operator.
Amendments Added for Contracts
-Section 3314.03: Clarifies the information that should be included in the contract, such as details about facilities, blended learning model, accounting for outstanding loans, internal financial controls, financial plans for new schools, and more.
-Section 3314.031: Requires school-operator contracts to be posted on the ODE web site.
Amendments Added for Preschool Programs
-Section 3301.52 (O) and other sections: Permits high-performing charter schools to operate a preschool program and permits exemplary sponsors to authorize a new charter school to operate a preschool program. (H) (j) Requires that the preschool program operated by a charter school comply with current laws and minimum standards prescribed in rules. A similar provision is included in HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget. Dropout recovery charter schools are prohibited from operating a preschool program. States that if the school operates a preschool program that is licensed by the ODE admission to the school may be open to individuals younger than five years of age, but the school shall not receive funds for those individuals.
Amendments Added for the Cleveland Transformation Alliance
-Section 3314.029 (5): Permits the Transformation Alliance to offer a recommendation regarding an application for a new charter school to be located within a municipal school district received by ODE’s Office of Sponsorship.
•House Bill 64 (Smith) Biennial Budget
Several provisions are included in HB64 to change laws regarding charter schools, and require all community school sponsors to be subject to the approval of the ODE. The following is a summary of the provisions:
Responsibilities of the State Board of Education/ODE
-Section 3314.015 Sponsor Criteria: Establishes conditions for sponsors of charter schools to meet with the ODE to obtain an agreement to sponsor charter schools, including educational service centers, Lucas County (Section 3314.027), and universities. Reduces the initial agreement from seven to five years. The first two years of the initial term will be for training, planning, and collecting the resources required to carry out high quality sponsorship practices. Allows agreement to be renewed for a term of up to twelve years based on the academic performance of the schools and the sponsor’s adherence to quality practices. Removes the provision that allowed a sponsor to sponsor up to 100 schools, and leaves that up to the agreement. States that if a sponsor’s agreement is revoked under 3314.016, a hearing is not required.
-Section 3314.016 Criteria for Rating Charter Schools: Requires the ODE to evaluate and rate sponsors based on annual academic performance and adherence to the quality practices, and annual compliance with applicable laws. In developing the evaluation system, the ODE will differentiate categories of sponsors based upon at least the total number of community schools to be sponsored, the geographic proximity of the school or schools to the sponsoring entity, and the entity’s organizational capacity. The ODE will rate all sponsors as either exemplary, effective, ineffective, or poor. A separate rating will be given for each component of the evaluation system according to the established time line. The ODE will also assign an overall rating, at such intervals to be determined by the department.
-Section 3314.016 NEW (C)(1) Provides a list of incentives for exemplary sponsors. Entities that receive an overall rating of “ineffective” will be prohibited from sponsoring any new or additional charter schools and will be subject to a one-year quality improvement plan with time lines and benchmarks that have been established by the department. Entities that receive an overall rating of “poor” shall have all sponsorship authority revoked. Within thirty days after receiving a rating of “poor” the entity may appeal the revocation of its sponsorship authority to the superintendent of public instruction, who will appoint an independent hearing officer to conduct a hearing in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. If, after the hearing, the state superintendent determines that the revocation is appropriate, the revocation will be confirmed.
-Section 3314.016(E) (2): Allows the Office of Ohio School Sponsorship to assume sponsorship of any schools sponsored by entities that have lost their authority to sponsor charter schools.
-Section 3314.016 (F): Requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code prescribing standards for measuring an entity’s compliance with applicable laws and administrative rules.
-Section 3314.029 Ohio School Sponsorship Program: Allows the Office of Ohio School Sponsorship to promulgate the form, format, requirements, procedures, deadlines, and ratings for the submission and processing of applications for approval, and for entering into written sponsor contracts. Requires the office to assign each applicant school a rating. States that the department may, in its discretion, limit the number of approvals in any given year, taking into consideration the standards for quality authorizing, capacity requirements, financial constraints, or any other criteria it determines are necessary and appropriate.
-Section 3314.029 (A)(5): Allows the Office of School Sponsorship beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, to solicit applications for up to five new start-up charter schools that meet at least the following criteria: Locational parameters; Academic requirements;
Fiscal considerations; Any other criteria as determined by the department.
-Provides access to exemplary sponsors to a new $25 million charter school facilities grant program to be administered by the Ohio School Facilities Commission in collaboration with the ODE. The purpose of this fund would be to increase the supply of seats in effective schools and serve specific un-met student needs through charter school education.
-Section 3314.35 Charter School Closures: Adds the early literacy component to the criteria for closing a charter school.
-Section 3314.03 (28): Requires that all moneys the school’s operator loans to the school, including facilities loans or cash flow assistance, must be accounted for, documented, and bear interest at a fair market rate. Requires each contract between a sponsor and a governing authority to contain a statement that all moneys an operator loans must be accounted for, documented, and based on fair market lender rates.
-Section 3314.03 (11)(d): Adds 3301.0728 (limits on testing) and 3313.721 (health care providers) to the list of laws that charter schools must comply with.
-Section 3314.03 (11) (f): Adds that each school will comply with the plan for awarding high school credit based on demonstration of subject area competency, and beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, with the updated plan that permits students enrolled in seventh and eighth grade to meet curriculum requirements based on subject area competency adopted by the state board of education under division divisions (J)(1) and (2) of section 3313.603 of the Revised Code.
-Section 3314.03 (27): Requires that, if the governing authority contracts with an attorney, accountant, or entity specializing in audits, the attorney, accountant, or entity shall be independent from the operator with which the school has contracted;
Responsibilities of the Sponsor
-NEW Section 3314.46: States that no sponsor of a charter school shall sell any goods or services to any charter school it sponsors, but allows services to continue until the expiration of the contract.
-Section 3314.07 (A): Removes a provision that allowed a school to appeal to the state board of education when a sponsor terminated its contract.
-Section 3314.07 (5): States that any charter school whose contract is terminated or not renewed shall close permanently at the end of the current school year or on a date specified in the notification of termination or non-renewal. Any charter school whose contract is terminated or not renewed for failure to meet student performance requirements stated in the contract, or for failure to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management under this division will not enter into a contract with any other sponsor.
-Section 3314.07 (E): States that a sponsor is not liable for harm arising from a (3) failure of the community school or any of its officers, directors, or employees to meet the obligations of any contract or other obligation entered into on behalf of the community school and another party. A sponsor who prevails in an action for a failure to meet contractual obligations as described in division (E)(3) of this section shall be awarded, upon request, reasonable attorney’s fees and other expenses of litigation to be paid jointly and severally by the governing authority of the community school, individual members of the governing authority, or from any other plaintiff the court considers necessary and appropriate.
The Responsibilities of the Governing Authority
-Section 3314.011 Fiscal Officer: Requires the fiscal officer of charter school to be employed by the governing authority and be independent from the school’s operator.
-REPEALS Section 3314.026 Appeal Process: Repeals a statute that prescribes an appeal procedure in cases in which the governing authority has notified the operator of its intent to terminate or not renew the operator’s contract.
Consolidated Charter School
-Section 3314.074 Community School Assets: NEW (D) States that a charter school that engages in a merger or consolidation and becomes a single public benefit corporation shall not be required to distribute assets provided that the merger or consolidation satisfies all of the following: At least one of the charter schools involved in the merger or consolidation is sponsored by an entity rated as “exemplary” by the ODE; the governing authority of the community school created by the merger or consolidation enters into a contract for sponsorship with an entity rated as “exemplary” by the department pursuant to section 3314.016 of the Revised Code; the community schools being merged or consolidated are located in the same county or school district.
Permits a charter school sponsored by an entity that is rated “exemplary” by the ODE to be licensed by the Department to operate a preschool program and to admit individuals who are general education preschool students (preschool students who are not receiving special education) to that program.
-Section 3314.06 Preschool Program (A): States that if the school operates a preschool program that is licensed by the ODE the school must comply with the same licensing and operational standards that apply to preschool programs operated by school districts, eligible nonpublic schools, and county DD boards under current law. Specifies that a charter school that operates a preschool program that is licensed by the ODE may not receive state charter school operating funding for students enrolled in that program, but authorizes the program to apply for early childhood education funding.
-Section 3314.08 EMIS Reporting: Requires charter schools to report the number of students enrolled in preschool programs operated by the school who are not receiving special education and related services pursuant to an IEP.
-Section 3314.091 Transportation Charter School: Removes the requirement that a charter school governing authority that enters into an agreement to transport students or accepts responsibility to transport students must provide or arrange transportation free of charge for each of its enrolled students who would otherwise be transported by the students’ school districts under those districts’ transportation policies. However, the bill retains this requirement for the enrolled students who are required to be transported under current law. Clarifies that payments made to a charter school for transporting students must be calculated “on a per rider basis.”
•Arts Advocates Support More Funding for the OAC: The House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, chaired by Representative Duffey, held a hearing on March 17, 2015 at the Ohio Theatre to learn more about the status of the arts in Ohio as the committee considers the provisions to fund the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) in HB64 (Smith) Biennial Budget.
HB64 includes $24.4 million in General Revenue funds (GRF) to support the OAC. According to previous testimony, this appropriation equals less than 0.04 percent of the state’s total GRF appropriations. The OAC grants are matched by grant recipients, so that every OAC dollar is matched with local and private funds at a ratio of 53:1 during the last grant cycle.
Arts advocates are requesting that the subcommittee increase the OAC GRF appropriation to $30 million. The current funding levels of the OAC are the same as 1991, 25 years ago, and raising the amount to $30 million would still be below funding levels in 2001.
The witnesses represented statewide and community arts organizations and institutions, including Tom Katzenmeyer, president of the Greater Columbus Arts Council; George Barrett, chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health; Larry James, a partner at Crabbe Brown James and president of the Lincoln Theatre; Edward Liang of BalletMet Columbus; Jim Sweeney of the Franklin Development Association; and Erin Hoppe, executive director of VSA Ohio. They spoke about the impact of the grants from the Ohio Arts Council on individuals and in revitalizing their communities.
Tom Katzenmeyer, President of the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC), explained to the committee the impact of funding from the Ohio Arts Council, and how it has enabled GCAC to strengthen current programs and launch new programs for artists and organizations. According to the testimony, last year the GCAC hosted visits from national leaders in the arts: Jane Chu, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and Bob Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. Both leaders acknowledged the amazing contribution that the arts have made in central Ohio to increase the economic and cultural growth of the community.
The Chairman and CEO of Cardinal Health, George Barrett, told the committee how important the arts, especially music, was in his life, and that he actually moved to New York at one time to be a singer. The qualities and skills that children learn through the arts are just what it takes to be successful in business, and they are the qualities that he and other business leaders look for when hiring. The arts also bring vitality to a community. He said that without a vibrant artistic community in central Ohio it would be harder to attract the best talent in the world.
Representing the Board of the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus, Larry James, said that he is grateful to the Ohio Arts Council for their support of several programs at the theatre, but especially for the Expand Your Horizon Program, which nurtures emerging performing artists. The program covers subjects “that are integral to the process and business of art, such as production value, marketing, managing social media, fund raising, copyright, legal contracts, insurance, taxes, finances.” Citing those who participated in the program, it provides information about resources, networks, making career decisions, and keeping talented young people in central Ohio.
Jim Sweeney with the Franklinton Development Association & Franklinton Arts District, also thanked the Ohio Arts Council for their support in revitalizing the Franklinton Community in downtown Columbus. After years of neglect the community came together and identified ways to use the arts to bring the arts, people, and businesses back into the area. One of the major projects has been the Idea Foundry, which will be the “largest ‘maker space’ on the planet when completed”. The Glass Axis has also moved into the area, and has become a “civic hub for art creation and learning, and a place of cultural equity that continues to adapt and grow.”
Speaking for VSA Ohio, Executive Director Erin Hoppe described the impact that funding from the Ohio Arts Council has on her organization, which works “…to make the arts and arts education more accessible for people of all different disabilities across the lifespan, and across artistic mediums.” The most recent statewide initiative supported by the OAC is called the Arts & Autism in Ohio Initiative. The purpose of the project is to increase access to the arts for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to the testimony, “Art may be one of the strongest keys to unlocking the thoughts, emotions, and needs that a person with autism often struggles to convey. It will require preparation, partnership, and flexibility for the creative sector to embrace this underserved community. The Ohio Arts Council is now a leading convener in the effort to prepare the cultural field and families to connect with creative opportunities designed specifically to meet the needs of someone on the spectrum.”
Director Hoppe requested that the House increase funding for the OAC to $30 million “to continue to make our communities great places to live and work.”