Today, the Ohio Senate unveiled its version of the biennial state budget (Substitute House Bill 33). Among the K-12 education highlights from the upper chamber’s bill include:
Increasing accountability for the state education agency to rigorously implement education laws through much-needed governance reforms;
- Preserving Ohio’s effective third grade retention and intensive intervention requirements for struggling readers (the House had removed these long-standing provisions);
- Ensuring that parents receive their child’s state exam results in timely manner—by June 30—so they can make well-informed decisions on behalf of their kids;
- Removing some inefficient elements from the school-funding formula—commonly known as “guarantees”—that undermine a well-functioning formula based on actual enrollments and pupil needs.
- Expanding private-school choice to all Ohio families but directing more dollars to support lower- income students. Full EdChoice voucher amounts will apply when households earn 450% or less of the federal poverty level; above that threshold, amounts are gradually reduced.
“The Senate has put Ohio families and students first in its plan for K-12 education,” said Aaron Churchill, Ohio Research Director for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “The upper chamber expanded private school choice to all Buckeye families, but did so in a manner that ensures the bulk of state funding for scholarships continues to support those most in need of the assistance. Senate lawmakers have also taken another step towards a more coherent and accountable governance system for Ohio. Last, the Senate has also made literacy a top priority by restoring full funding for Governor DeWine’s science-of- reading initiatives and reversing a misguided repeal of the state’s tough-love requirements for third graders who are struggling to read.”
The Senate will finalize its version of the budget in coming days. The Governor and full General Assembly are expected to pass the budget by month’s end.
“Greater parent empowerment, accountable school systems, and strong evidence-based literacy policies can only help increase student achievement,” concluded Churchill. “As legislators put finishing touches on the budget, they should keep the needs of families and students at the center of their decision making.”