State Legislative Action Taken Related to Safety in Schools

The Ohio School Boards Association Releases a list of legislative activity spanning March 5th – March 9th, related to safety in schools.

House activity

The House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 87 by a vote of 94-2. Sponsored by Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), the bill requires funds that are returned to the state due to a community school enrollment audit to be credited back to the applicable school districts.

The House also passed HB 438 by a vote of 96-0. Sponsored by Reps. Stephen D. Hambley (R-Brunswick) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), the legislation deals with the composition of educational service centers (ESCs) and local school districts.

Finally, the House passed HB 529 by a vote of 92-3, which makes capital appropriations and reappropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2020.

House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee

The committee conducted its third hearing on HB 512, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin). The bill consolidates the state education agencies and Office of Workforce Transformation into a new agency called the Department of Learning and Achievement. It also transfers much of the duties and authority of the State Board of Education and superintendent of public instruction to the new agency. OSBA, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials offered opponent testimony on the bill. Click here for a copy of the testimony.

The following individuals testified in opposition to the bill:

  • Eric Resnick, board member, Canton City
  • Mary E. Williams, board member, Lakeview Local (Trumbull) and Trumbull Career & Technical Center
  • Patrick Schymanski, board member, Elida Local (Allen)

The following individuals testified in support of the bill:

  • Judy L. Wells, superintendent, Apollo Career Center
  • Dr. Lisa L. Tuttle-Huff, superintendent, Grant Career Center
  • Mary Beth Freeman, superintendent, Delaware Area Career Center
  • William Wittman, superintendent, Tri-County Career Center
  • Stan Jennings, superintendent, Scioto County Career Technical Center
  • Ron Matter, superintendent, Penta Career Center

House Finance Committee

The committee amended HB 508, which would establish the OhioCORPS Pilot Project for at-risk students to receive scholarships to participate in mentorship programs and attend higher education institutions and technical colleges. The amendment qualifies students who live in the eastern region of the state for scholarships, increases the appropriation to $2.5 million and revises eligibility provisions for the program. There were no witnesses present to testify on the bill.

The committee also amended HB 378, which would create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program and allow school districts, among others, to apply for grants under the program. The amendment encourages the Ohio Department of Transportation to work with telecommunications providers to lay fiber optic cable on or near state highways.

Senate Finance Committee

The committee heard sponsor testimony on Senate Bill (SB) 246, sponsored by Sens. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville). The bill deals with positive behavioral intervention supports and suspension and expulsion policies for students in grades prekindergarten through three.

The committee also heard sponsor testimony on SB 225, sponsored by Sens. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and John Eklund (R-Munson Township), which would create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program and allow school districts, among others, to apply for grants under the program.

Finally, the committee conducted a third hearing on SB 266, which makes capital appropriations and appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2020. No witnesses were present to testify on this bill.

House Higher Education and Workforce Readiness Committee

The committee adopted a substitute version of HB 166 during its seventh hearing. Sponsored by Reps. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) and Robert R. Cupp (R- Lima), the bill pertains to financial assistance programs for students at Ohio technical centers and qualifies such centers for certain state funds. Click here for a synopsis of the changes.

Senate Education Committee

The committee passed SB 216 after accepting amendments, which made several changes, including:

  • requiring students to pay half the cost of textbooks under the College Credit Plus program unless their family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines;
  • revising the teacher evaluation framework;
  • revising educator license grade bands to grades K-5, 4-9, and 7-12;
  • creating temporary educator licenses to teach in Early College High Schools.

The committee also passed HB 98 after accepting amendments, which made several changes, including:

  • providing state funding to school districts with nuclear power plants in their territories that meet specified criteria;
  • revising career-technical education teacher licenses;
  • providing for payment to licensed career-technical education teachers who do not have a bachelor’s degree.

Finally, the committee conducted a sixth hearing on SB 34, which would require public and private schools to open for instruction after Labor Day.

Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee

The committee adopted a substitute version of HB 312. The bill deals with the use of credit cards and debit cards by school districts and other public entities. The amendment makes the following changes:

  • requires board policies on credit card accounts to include a procedure for submitting itemized receipts;
  • permits the treasurer’s designee to review credit card account transaction details but prohibits the superintendent from being the designee;
  • requires compliance officers to review credit card data twice each year;
  • eliminates the ability for a credit card to be “signed out” to authorized users;
  • eliminates the bill’s requirement for authorized users of a credit card to provide an itemized receipt of each charge upon return of the card;
  • requires an annual report to be filed with the board detailing all rewards received based on the use of the credit card account.

The committee also heard sponsor testimony from Rep. Timothy E. Ginter (R-Salem) on HB 338. The bill qualifies licensed chiropractors and medical professionals listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners to perform an annual physical on school bus drivers.

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