House makes changes to education policy in budget amendments

Today, the House Finance Committee adopted its final amendments to the state’s two-year budget, incorporating dozens of new amendments, many of them around education.

Highlights:

  • As we noted earlier, the bill now mandates abstinence-only sex ed.
  • Limits districts to spending gifted aid on gifted programs, effectively resulting in another $160 million cut to districts. since the state won’t replace the gifted money for districts.
  • Lets homeschoolers participate in the state’s early college entry programs (though it’s not clear if the money will come from district of residence or not)
  • Allows e-schools to get Career-Tech money. It remains to be seen how you can teach woodworking remotely.
  • Attempts to fund preschool for individuals below 200% of poverty with $5 million given to public or private entities.

There are others too, but those seem to be the biggies. Here’s a more complete list of amendments adopted today:

HC1862 – Increases 200-550, Foundation Funding by $250,000 each year and earmarks that amount for home-schooled students to take Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program courses. 

HC2016-3 – Appropriates $5 million per year for a new line item, Ready to Learn, and directs the Department of Education to contract with public and private early childhood education providers to fund early childhood education for children below 200% of the federal poverty level.

HC1590 – Permits an e-school that serves at least grades one through eight to divide into two schools as long as the sponsor agrees and the division is accomplished in either the 2013 – 2014 or 2014 – 2015 school year. 

HC1729 – Includes gifted unit funding in the list of core funding components.  Requires a school district to use the funding it receives for gifted coordinator services or gifted intervention specialist services only for that purpose.  Permits a school district to assign its gifted funding units to another education entity as part of an arrangement to provide gifted services. 

HC1622-1 – Allows the Superintendent of Public Instruction to create an academic distress commission for any district found by the State Auditor to have knowingly manipulated student data with the intent to deceive.

HC1658-1 – Provides that an e-school is eligible to receive career technical education funding in addition to the core opportunity grant and special education funding.

HC1859 – Removes the requirement for the State Board of Education to revise minimum operating standards. 

HC1599 – Permits a community school to charge tuition to a student who is not an Ohio resident.

HC1634 – Prohibits the teaching of sexual education coursework that endorses student non-abstinence as an acceptable behavior or promotes sexual gateway activity.

HC1725 – Provides that a school district may charge tuition for a student enrolled in all-day kindergarten as long as the student is counted as less than one full time equivalent student.