Thursday, June 11, 2020

Ohio Senate passes emergency education legislation addressing 2020-21 school year

Ohio Senate passes emergency education legislation addressing 2020-21 school year

On Wednesday, June 10, the Ohio Senate passed legislation aimed at relieving several challenges school districts are facing as they plan for reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year. In order to expedite the legislative process, House Bill (HB) 164, which was pending in the Senate Education Committee, was amended yesterday to include a number of Coronavirus-related provisions. Many of the provisions contained in Senate Bill (SB) 319 were added to HB 164 before it was approved unanimously by the full Senate. 

Thanks to the grassroots efforts of the members of our three organizations, many of the items we had requested on behalf of districts made their way into HB 164. Following are the new provisions in the bill that were not reflected in SB 319 but are included in HB 164:
• Provides local flexibility in determining promotion to fourth grade for the 2020-21 school year, rather than the mandates under the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee statutes;
• Grandfathers current preschool special education teachers who do not qualify under the new special education preschool administrative rules;
• Permits districts that do not currently operate a blended learning model to adopt a “remote learning plan” by July 31, 2020, that will constitute compliance with minimum hours requirements provided specified items in the bill are included in a district’s plan;
• Allows districts temporary authority for the 2020-21 school year to assign teachers to teach courses and grade levels for which they do not hold the subject area or grade band license provided certain conditions are met;
• Adds school psychologists to the list of providers eligible to serve special education students electronically for the 2020-21 school year;
• Provides a payment to certain school districts to ensure a district’s net funding loss was not greater than 6% when considering the governor’s fiscal year 2020 reductions and CARES Act allocations. Click here for a list of districts affected by this provision and their simulated funding amounts.
• Provides payment to certain districts that experienced certain decreases in their public utility tangible personal property (PUTPP) value or had state aid deductions due to PUTPP increases (SB 313). Click here for a list of districts affected by this provision and their simulated funding amounts.
• Extends the moratorium on the requirement to install storm shelters to Nov. 30, 2022 (SB 248).

Additionally, key provisions of SB 319 were included in HB 164, including:
• Permitting high school students to use final course grades in lieu of the corresponding end-of-course exam if that exam was not administered in the 2019-20 school year;
• Modifying teacher and principal evaluations for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years;
• Maintaining the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee cut score for the 2020-21 school year at the level set for the 2019-20 school year;
• Temporarily removing required qualifications for teachers who are assigned to provide intense remediation reading assistance in the 2020-21 school year;
• Exempting districts from the requirement to implement reading and improvement monitoring plans for the 2020-21 school year based on test results from the 2019-20 school year;
• Permitting certain state-licensed individuals to provide services electronically to students with disabilities through the 2020-21 school year;
• Requiring the Ohio Department of Education to develop on online training program to satisfy the classroom portion of pre-service and annual in-service training for school bus driver certification for the 2020-21 school year only.

The temporary furlough authority included in SB 319 was not included in HB 164. 

The Senate’s version of HB 164 has been sent back to the House for approval of the Senate’s changes. The House is expected to concur with the Senate’s changes during today’s 11:00 am session. The bill then goes to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature.

Feel free to contact us with questions. We will update members as the General Assembly and Gov. DeWine act on the legislation.

Important Links:
HB 164 Bill Text
Legislative Service Commission Bill Analysis of HB 164
Legislative Service Commission Fiscal Note of HB 164

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