This was a busy week at the Statehouse and the next few weeks promise to be busy as well. Both the House and Senate are scrambling to wrap things up before the end of the year.
House Education Committee
The House Education Committee met and passed two bills. House Bill (HB) 228 sponsored by Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) and HB 343 sponsored by Rep. Gerald L. Stebelton (R-Lancaster).
House Bill 228 would make changes to limit the amount of time students spend on testing to four hours per year, per subject and grade level, with a few exceptions. The bill also requires the Ohio Department of Education to take a look at the capacity and readiness of districts for the administration of online testing. The department would be required to compile and present its findings and propose an implementation plan to address issues or problems by June 30, 2015. Please review the HB 228 bill analysis for additional information.
The second bill the committee passed was HB 343. This legislation proposes several changes to assessments, including:
• allowing biology or physical science to be used as the science end-of-course exam for the next two school years;
• requiring districts to give the third-grade reading Ohio Achievement Assessment to all third-graders this spring;
• exempting all chartered nonpublic schools from administering Ohio’s end-of-course exams.
The bill proposes changes in many additional areas, such as report cards, attendance reporting, truancy, the College Credit Plus program and the minimum salary schedule. Please see the HB 343 bill analysis for a complete review of the changes offered in the bill.
Senate Education Committee
The Senate Education Committee held hearings on four bills.
• House Bill 113 would allow schools to excuse students from high school physical education requirements if they participate in a school-sponsored athletic club.
• House Bill 367 would require schools to include instruction on prescription drug abuse prevention in their health curriculum.
Senate Civil Justice Committee
The Senate Civil Justice Committee held its first hearing on HB 290 sponsored by Rep. Gerald L. Stebelton (R-Lancaster). This legislation would provide immunity from civil liability for school districts that allow the public to use school premises. Additional hearings on this bill may occur in the next few weeks.
The Senate met this week and passed SB 241, sponsored by Sen. Tom Sawyer (D-Akron). This bill would add four members to the Straight A Fund governing board, two appointed by the House minority leader and two appointed by the Senate minority leader. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
The House met and passed HB 228 sponsored by Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) by a vote of 83-4. As discussed earlier in this report, HB 228 would make changes to limit the amount of time students are tested annually. This bill is now headed to the Senate for consideration.
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House Committee schedule
Senate Committee schedule