After a yearlong and sometimes grinding process, the Ohio General Assembly and Governor Kasich have come together around House Bill 59, the two-year operating budget of $62 billion.
The budget includes significant changes to CTE. Those include:
School Funding: The budget revises the state’s school funding formula. At a base level, the new formula provides funding based on student population so “the money follows the student.” However, as with past formulas, there are “guarantees” in place to ensure no district loses funding (even with lower student populations) and “caps” such that no district gains more than 6.5% in FY ’14 and 10.5% in FY ‘15. Overall, the budget increases state education funding by $1.5 billion in the next two years.
“We are very pleased that the budget preserves the additional funds associated with CTE, often called “weighted funding, ” said Terrence O’Donnell, attorney with Dickenson Wright and Ohio ACTE Legislative Counsel. But the weighted funding amounts are new, he added. Under the old formula, generally each CTE student was funded at an additional 57% for workforce development programs and 28% for CBI / Family & Consumer Science programs. This percentage was indexed by the “state share,” meaning wealthier districts did not receive the full 57% (in fact, some saw no weighted funds) while poorer districts could capture the entire 57%. The new formula similarly indexes weighted funds based on state share, said O’Donnell.
Under the new formula, weighted funds are not simply allocated “per student,” but rather according to which field of study an individual CTE student enters. In other words, weighted funds are provided in a “tiered” approach laid out in the in the new law. Note the weighted funds increase slightly from FY ‘14 to FY ‘15. By targeting dollars by the tiers, the budget seeks to incentivize investment in career fields believed to be in greater demand.
There is no requirement the dollars provided under the formula actually be spent for programs associated with the tier in which they were provided, so schools will retain flexibility in terms of setting their budgets. However, the Ohio Department of Education’s requirement that 75% of these weighted funds be allocated to non-personnel such as equipment is retained (and in fact now codified in law). View the program tiers here.
Approval of New CTE Programming
The budget specifies that a city, local, or exempted village school district, community school, or STEM school that wishes to offer CTE programming must first seek approval of the “lead district” in career technical planning district (“CTPD.”) The intention is to increase student access to valuable CTE programs while maintaining a coordinated delivery of services. Note that if a lead district in the CTPD disapproves a new program, the district may appeal this decision to ODE.
The lead district’s decision is to be based on rules to be adopted by ODE.
JVSD Board Composition
The budget contains another very important policy change that pertains to the composition of Joint Vocational School District boards. Currently, JVSD boards are comprised pursuant to local “plans” that were developed at the founding of the JVSD. Many such JVSD plans provide that the board is made up one elected school board member from each participating district, and perhaps additional representation from the local Educational Service Center.
While clear that the local plans need not change as a result of the new law, HB 59 adds significant new experience criteria required to serve as a board member. The law is also clear that a JVSD Board member need not be an elected official from a local district or ESC. The new law specifically contemplates that some or all of the JVSD board members could be appointed from local school boards or ESCs. If an existing board member meets the criteria, he/she may continue to serve. If not, he/she would be replaced upon expiration of his/her current term.
In summary, the new law provides as follows.
- Term limits: Members of a JVSD board will serve a maximum of two 3-year terms. Three-fifths of the total members must live or work in JVSD territory.
- Business Experience: JVSD board Members must “have experience as CFOs, CEOs, HR managers, or other business, industry, or career counseling professionals who are qualified to discuss the labor needs of the region.” The appointee shall “represent employers in the region who are qualified to consider the state’s workforce opportunities with an understanding of the skills, training and education needed for current and future employment.” The appointing board may “give preference” to individuals serving on the JVSD advisory board.
Mobile Welding Labs
The state budget appropriates a $1 million earmark for a “demonstration project” to purchase portable welding stations for use by Lorain County Community College and a separate $1 million earmark for a portable welding lab for use at the Point Industrial Park in Lawrence County. While not spelled out in statute, presumably the demonstration projects will coordinate welding training in some manner with existing programs, including those at nearby career centers.
To conclude, Governor Kasich signed the State Budget into law on Sunday, June 30 and it took effect July 1. As the various state agencies such as the Department of Education, the Board of Regents, and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation work to implement the new provisions, Ohio ACTE will continue to advocate on behalf of career-technical and adult education and provide information on changes impacting CTE.
Access the entire budget summary, district spreadsheets and other information here.