The Ohio General Assembly has been busy this budget cycle, and several bills directly relating to career-technical education (CTE) are currently under consideration. Below are several bills and provisions that Ohio ACTE is advocating:
Budget Bill: House Bill 64, or the “Budget Bill,” passed in the House last month and is currently under consideration in the Senate Finance Committee. Career-technical educators and a CTE student has testified in both chambers in support of amending the funding formula to increase funding for CTE—specifically by funding CTE outside of the state share and cap and guarantee limitations. As you are likely aware, current funding formula limitations such as the “caps” and “guarantees” prevent any career centers, comprehensives, or compact districts from receiving the “tiered” CTE funding when adding new students. In addition, the tiered funds are reduced depending on the relative wealth of a district. As a result, some districts do not receive any tiered funding at all.
This poses significant obstacles for CTE, particularly when schools seek to start new programs. As a result, Ohio ACTE advocates for phasing-in a tiered funding system that falls outside of the caps and guarantees and the tiered funds are not reduced based on wealth index. We believe this approach would provide significant financial support for new CTE programs and fully funds the CTE formula, and we will continue to advocate for a more effective funding model in the Senate.
Other CTE-related provisions we are tracking include:
- Increase in CTE Funding Tier amounts.
- Option for CTE resident educators to forego years one and two of the resident educator program and obtain a professional license after successfully completing the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA) required in years 3 and 4.
- Option for students using CTE graduation “pathway” to take a career-based pathway mathematics course as an alternative to Algebra II.
- Permanent exemption of CTE articulated credit courses from College Credit Plus (currently only exempted until July 1, 2016).
- Increase in Ohio technical center funding by $1 million
Assessments/WebXams: Last session, Ohio ACTE advocated for eliminating the Department of Education’s WebXams in courses where students earn an industry-recognized credential or a license. As our testimony noted, typical CTE students will sit through at least 14 standardized assessments, including at least 4 WebXams. This year, the House has included our proposed language in House Bill 74—the bill has been reported out of committee but has yet to come up for a vote on the House floor. In addition, we have been working with the Senate Advisory Committee on Testing, which will be evaluating current testing requirements and making recommendations to the General Assembly. We will continue to work with both chambers to reduce the significant testing burden on CTE students and advocate for the reduction of duplicative assessments.
RESA: As passed by the Senate, Senate Bill 3 will significantly modify the requirements for all participants in the Resident Educator programs. Ohio ACTE representatives testified that RESA significantly impedes the progress of new teachers and discourages new teacher candidates—particularly those coming from industry—from joining the profession. The RESA process involves cumbersome submissions of required information, and the results of such tests were inconsistent with other evaluation systems and provided little guidance for teachers who did not pass.
Championed by Senate President Faber (R-Celina), the bill would allow all districts, including joint vocational school districts, the option of (1) continuing to use RESA or (2) assessing resident educators in years three and four of the program through OTES. Note that this amendment covers all teachers taking part in the Resident Educator program, including career-technical educators in Route A and Route B licensure programs. The bill is currently under consideration in the House Education Committee.
Hours-to-Days: Recently, many JVSD members have stated that they would prefer to revert back to the “days” reporting method for purposes of establishing the minimum school year. You may recall that the legislature shifted the measurement from “days to hours” in the last Budget cycle. This shift has created significant transportation and scheduling issues for JVSDs because of the wide variation in district schedules. Based on this feedback, we are seeking to allow JVSDs the option of utilizing and reporting either days or hours for minimum school year purposes. We will continue to advocate for this change and will keep you posted with our progress.
EMIS Update: As you may know, difficulties in transitioning portions of the EMIS system has caused some issues regarding funding—particularly for CTE providers with increased student counts. The Ohio Department of Education has confirmed that CTE data is currently being finalized, and districts waiting on additional funds owed should receive such funds this fiscal year. Further, ODE has stated that districts may carry over funds this year without repaying all categorical funds by year’s end. More information about this process should be available in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
We will continue to follow these and other CTE-related issues—particularly with regard to the Budget Bill—as they move through the General Assembly.
by Terrence O'Donnell and Adam Schira, attorneys with Dickinson Wright and legislative counsel for Ohio ACTE.