Unions Weigh In On K-12 Budget; Groups Oppose 'Parent Trigger' Expansion
Gongwer Ohio, Volume #82, Report #41, Article #4 - March 1, 2013
On Friday, March 1, the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education held a hearing on H.B. 59 - the budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich, which includes his school funding proposal. Several groups testified during the committee hearings including teacher's unions, education foundations, education interest groups and the Ohio 8 Coalition.
David James, Ohio 8 Co-chair and Superintendent of Akron Public Schools, testified on behalf of the Ohio 8. During his testimony, Supt. James suggested that if the parent trigger law were to remain in the bill, that should be considered a pilot program so that the all the process-related issues could be worked out before the program is expanded.
"The process of turning around a low performing school is much more complex than what the proposed parent trigger law suggests and since the proposed policy is not yet completely tested or proven, we strongly suggest you look to districts that have been successful and modifying this provision to better prepare it for success," Supt. James said.
Supt. James also addressed the Coalition's concerns with funding for targeted student populations, such as special education and gifted students.
The Ohio 8 wants to see schools given at least three years of subgroup funding before being asked to contract with other organizations based on limited progress.
"Our rationale is that the system and the bar has changed nearly every six months and will continue to do so for next couple of years," he said. "We are requesting this stability to make reasonable progress as the bar continues to be raised."
The bill calls for 15% of a school's special education funding be kept in a state exceptional cost pool. Based on the regular special education funding levels, however, a district would have to spend at least $10,000 more than the reimbursed amount to be eligible to apply for reimbursement from that fund, Mr. James said.