Budget watch: It’s in ink

On Sunday, June 30, 2013, Governor Kasich signed House Bill 59, the $62 billion budget bill for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015. Prior to his signature, Kasich vetoed 22 items, including a requirement on how schools spend gifted-education funds and an exemption for charter school special-education teachers from taking examinations of content knowledge.

The good: Many other negative provisions were eliminated. For instance, we will maintain control over the salary schedule. The Ohio Board of Education will not revise operating standards this year. The state superintendent will not seize control of school districts with questionable student data reports. Two good additions: Teachers won’t be held accountable for the progress of students who are gone from school a minimum of 45 days. Charter schools now face stricter oversight and greater penalties for noncompliance.

The bad: The budget fails to restore more than $515 million of the $1.8 million in direct school support cut during the last budget cycle. It expands the voucher program; and, as of 2016-17, allows parents to use them if their schools don’t improve K-3 literacy at required levels. It gives charter schools $57 million more money than in the last budget cycle.

Mixed: Money from the K-3 literacy component was shifted to provide resources for students living in poverty. Districts must use this funding to extend the school day, provide reading intervention and instructional technology and implement dropout prevention measures and several other requirements. We are unsure if districts all will have the resources to fulfill these requirement.

Go here for the full summary.