JULY 6 UPDATE:
The Ohio House of Representatives voted to override 11 of Gov. John Kasich’s vetoes on Thursday, but did not touch any of the vetoes that affected K-12 education.
For any of Kasich’s vetoes to be overturned, 60 percent of both the House and Senate would have to agree. The Senate is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 11, but cannot add new override votes on vetoes that the House left untouched, according to Ohio House Democratic Caucus spokesman Jordan Plottner.
That means the only way any of Kasich’s education-related vetoes could be undone is if the House decides, sometime before the end-of-year deadline, to go back and do more veto overrides. Plottner said that seems unlikely on the education issues. Sixty percent of both houses would still have to approve.
Eleven of Gov. John Kasich’s 47 line-item vetoes on the state budget bill involve K-12 education, on topics ranging from school funding to charter school oversight to state testing.
Ohio’s House of Representatives will return Thursday to try to override some vetoes, and the Ohio Senate will do the same July 11. It takes a 60 percent vote in both houses to override a veto.
Here’s a list of the 11 education-related vetoes:
- Kasich vetoed a measure that would have allowed schools to give state tests on paper. The existing system requires schools to administer state tests on computers, except in special waiver circumstances. Kasich said online testing lowers costs, produces test results faster, and prepares students to deal with technology.
Becky Higgins, president of the Ohio Education Association, which represents teachers, opposed that veto, saying, “Students will be measured not only by their command of the subject … but also by their ability to master technology in which they are not always proficient.”
- Kasich vetoed extended reimbursements to schools for tangible personal property tax losses. This TPP tax revenue to schools has been gradually phasing out for 10 years. The budget bill would have stretched those payments out over a longer period of time, but Kasich said in his veto statement that schools have had “more than sufficient time to prepare for the end of this funding.” He added that the state would try to work with a small number of districts that are especially hurt by the TPP phase-out.
- Kasich vetoed language that would have eliminated the Resident Educator program. That’s the four-year, start-of-career process through which teachers qualify for long-term licenses. Kasich said the mentoring, feedback and support that the program provides are “critical for student success and for retaining teachers.”
Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, supported that veto. Lehner acknowledged there are issues with the Year 3 assessment within the Resident Educator program, but she said the other facets are too valuable to eliminate.
- Kasich vetoed a requirement that students must earn at least a “C” in College Credit Plus courses in order to receive either college or high school credit for the class. Kasich said non College Credit Plus students could earn credit for a “D” and it didn’t make sense to set a different bar.
- Kasich vetoed a change in charter school sponsor evaluations. Budget language would have placed a much greater weight on annual student progress, taking it from 20 percent of the academic performance component, to 60 percent. Kasich argued that making this change only for charter schools would hold those students to lower standards than traditional public schools, putting less weight on raw achievement and graduation rates.
Chad Aldis, Ohio vice president of the Fordham Institute, which sponsors charter schools, called Kasich’s veto “very disappointing.” He said the current evaluation system “fails to distinguish high performing and low performing charter schools” and needs to be tweaked.
- Kasich vetoed an expansion of charter school sponsoring authority for educational service centers (ESCs). The budget would have given ESCs that are rated “effective” expanded ability to sponsor a charter school anywhere in Ohio. Kasich claimed that would take away the Ohio Department of Education’s ability to encourage stronger performance.
- Kasich vetoed a provision allowing certain groups to sponsor charter schools in 2017-18. The budget bill said sponsors that were revoked for poor evaluations in 2015-16 could be sponsors again this coming school year if they scored at least a 3 out of 4 on academics. Kasich said that would allow groups who scored 0 out of 4 in compliance to be sponsors again, undermining efforts to build higher standards.
- Kasich vetoed an expansion of authority for the Joint Education Oversight Committee. The budget would have given JEOC, a committee of 10 state legislators, authority to override Ohio Department of Education reviews of school enrollment. On the heels of a massive enrollment lawsuit involving the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, Kasich said that provision would expand JEOC’s authority “beyond the boundaries of its jurisdiction.”
- Kasich vetoed an exemption from state test and graduation requirements for certain rare schools. The budget would have allowed nonpublic schools where 75 percent of students have disabilities to seek state approval to use an alternate testing plan. Kasich’s veto statement argued against creating lower expectations for those schools and students.
- Kasich vetoed a change to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission program, through which many districts have built new schools. Budget language would have allowed certain schools to earn state matching funds while contributing a smaller local share, if their projects were done in phases. Kasich said that approach would create inequities among districts.
- Kasich also vetoed a second adjustment to the OFCC. The budget bill would have allowed OFCC to pick one joint vocational school district for construction funding each of the next two years, with the local cost share not to exceed 50 percent. Kasich said capping the local share at 50 percent regardless of the wealth of the district would be “a fundamental departure from principles of fairness and equity.”