HB 164 – Ohio General Assembly Passes Changes in Education Law Due to COVID-19.

HeadlinerThis week the Ohio General Assembly used HB 164 to pass a package of changes to education law. These education amendments are intended to address issues arising from the closure of school buildings due to the COVID-19 health crisis. HB 164 was passed with an emergency measure and is effective immediately when signed by Governor. The General Assembly previously passed a package of education law changes in HB 197 (effective March 27, 2020).

Many of the education amendments to HB 164 are also in SB 319, a bill that received hearings in Senate Education Committee this week. SB 319 is no longer under consideration. OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing testified in Senate Education Committee regarding the various education amendments under consideration. OEA committee testimony can be found here.

Furlough and Continuing Contract Proposals NOT Included in HB 164

OEA strongly opposed two provisions in SB 319 regarding school district furloughs and limits on continuing contracts for next school year. Those provisions were NOT included in HB 164.

OEA’s analysis of HB 164 can be found here.

The package of education amendments in HB 164 included:

  • Payments  to school districts with decreases in utility TPP value; funding adjustment for districts with utility TPP value increases; teacher and principal evaluations for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year; teacher subject area or grade band assignment flexibility (OEA opposes this provision); online bus driver training; criteria for high school diplomas using final course grades in lieu of end-of-course exam scores; Third-Grade Reading Guarantee; reading improvement plans; academic assessment records for home instructed students; services to special needs students; remote learning; storm shelters; and religious expression in schools.