Prepared Text for Board Meeting – August 13, 2007

Marc A. Schare  

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marc9@aol.com

 

 

Today, I offer 2 legislative updates.

 

First, I wanted to provide a brief update on the Office for Community School grants. The board will recall that we spent approximately $10K to incorporate Phoenix and GEM in hopes of receiving $100K in state grants, only to find that the state grants disappeared from the state budget. As it turns out, the grants were in the ODE budget request to the Governor but were eliminated before the Governor released his executive budget. Since the legislature was determined to leave Governor Strickland’s education budget more or less intact, they did not attempt to restore the program. It is certainly a curious matter why Governor Strickland would have picked on a 1.5 million dollar budget item out of the billions that the state pours into K-12 education. I have a call in to the Governor’s office to try to understand why.  I have also spoken to Rep. Bacon on this issue. He understands the situation and is seeing if there is support in the legislature for introducing an amendment to the next budget correction bill that would restore these grants. If so, we may yet get the grant, retroactively. I did confirm with the office of community schools that the proposals put forth by both Phoenix and GEM scored high enough that both grants would probably have been funded although they are quick to point out that there are no guarantees.

 

Second, I wanted to briefly mention House Bill 27. House Bill 27 is the successor bill to HB411, which was introduced by Rep. Wolpert last year after Hilliard City Schools had failed to reach AYP for 3 straight years and was dropped to continuous improvement. Rep. Wolpert reintroduced that legislation this year as HB27. HB27 would essentially disassociate AYP from state rankings. It would require the state to list the AYP subgroups that were failed on the district’s state report card. I support this legislation because it seems like a good compromise. Under HB27, if someone is looking at school districts, they would see both the state ranking and the AYP results. As Rep. Wolpert noted in his sponsor testimony, the currently legislation renders the state rankings to be meaningless. I called Rep. Wolpert’s office last week and his aide shared with me that the bill enjoys widespread bipartisan support in the House K-12 Education Subcommittee, however, the support does not extend to the chairwoman of the committee. He invited Worthington to submit either written or oral testimony in  front of the House Education Committee when the legislature reconvenes in September. He was unaware of any sponsorship in the Senate, however,  Senator Stivers did sponsor equivalent legislation in the Senate last year. His aide told me today that the Senator is still supportive of the concepts but has yet to introduce the bill in the senate this year. Time will tell.

 

Before closing, I’d like to offer a public “thank you” to our interim treasurer, Tracy Dematteo for her months of service essentially doing three jobs. She acted as our interim treasurer, continued as our director of financial operations and provided support and guidance during the recently completely treasurer search. Our appointment of a new treasurer this evening will remove Tracy from these proceedings, but she is truly one of the unsung heroes of Worthington Schools that allows the district to do what we do for kids every day and for that, she and her staff deserve our thanks.