Senate Bill 89 seeks to remedy career tech issues

OACTE, March 22, 2019

-by Will Vorys & Terrence O’Donnell, Dickinson Wright, Legislative Counsel

Over the last several months, the career-technical education (CTE) community, represented by Ohio ACTE, the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents (OACTS), and the Ohio Association of Compact and Comprehensive Career Technical Schools (Ohio CCS), convened to discuss all pertinent state policy issues impacting our schools, students, teachers and administrators. Those discussions commenced in the Fall of 2018 and included association leadership and dozens of other members. After robust discussion and consideration, the CTE associations developed an “issues list” and following a meeting with State Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima), those issues were placed into legislation via SB 89 (link to bill & bill summary).

On March 19, 2019 the Ohio Senate Education Committee held its first “Sponsor” hearing on the bill, where Senator Huffman provided a brief explanation of the background and contents of SB 89. Senator Huffman explained to the committee that “the goal of the legislation of course is to identify those policies, mandates, statutes, whatever that has been created over the years by state government, those things that are inhibiting the education product, that cost money, and that are inefficient.” In sum, the bill includes over a dozen changes to state law, including the following provisions:

  • Requires ODE to a) notify CTPDs of any changes to the method and contents of EMIS data reporting, roughly six months prior to official implementation, and to b) establish a pilot program, with input from the CTE associations, to test functionality of the changes prior to implementation.
  • Requires ODE to notify CTPDs after EMIS data becomes available for review and to establish an appeals process through which CTPDs may reconcile inaccuracies or discrepancies, prior to the issuance of sanctions.
  • Permits a JVSD board of education to include in its calamity day plan the use of additional online lessons, student internships, student projects, or other options to make up any hours missed as the result of school closures among its member districts, for purposes of ensuring the JVSD meets the 1001 minimum hours requirement outlined under Ohio law.
  • Permits a student to qualify for a high school diploma through the workforce graduation pathway by: 1) passing the WorkKeys assessment 2) obtaining an industry-recognized credential; or 3) obtaining a license that requires an examination and is issued by a state agency or board.
  • Requires a) the use of the industry-recognized credentials list developed by the Ohio Department of Higher Education for purposes of school report cards and graduation requirements, and b) ODHE to solicit quarterly input from the CTE associations regarding the list of approved industry recognized credentials. The goal is to create one uniform CTE credential list for Ohio.
  • Eliminates existing requirement that home school districts and CTPDs both take attendance, even if the student is in one building all day.
  • Permits CTPDs to receive a STEM school equivalent designation in the same manner as a community school or chartered nonpublic school.
  • Allows an approved substitute career-technical teacher to substitute teach in a classroom outside of their specific career field for up to 60 days, subject to approval of the district superintendent.
  • Allows an individual holding an adult education permit to a) be employed outside the district that originally issued the permit; and b) to substitute teach in high school classrooms for up to 80 days in their specific career field.
  • Prohibits the state from overruling collective funding agreements between schools that share students.
  • Requires state institutions of higher education to provide transcripted credit to students who complete post-secondary courses approved through a local articulation agreement or through career-technical assurance guides, so long as the students pass the applicable course and accompanying assessments.

The Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents (OACTS) is continuing to work with legislators and other education stakeholders to fine tune the SB 89 language. We anticipate another hearing to take place over the next several weeks, and will continue to keep association members apprised of new developments. This is a lengthy process and there will be tweaks to the language as well as other items under consideration for possible inclusion.