Wednesday, June 27, 2007

School Funding Budget Bill Update from the Ohio Coalition of eSchool Families

Budget Bill Clears Conference Committee Unanimously; Floor Vote Expected Today

After hours of debate, the joint House-Senate conference committee passed the budget bill out of committee 6-0 last night around 8:00pm.

Our voices were heard! Thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly to ensure our eSchools were not harmed over the past four months. We know the budget process is very long and at times we thought we would never see an end. Governor Strickland's budget would have eliminated eSchools and taken away our school choice. But members of the House and Senate stood strong for our families-protecting school choice in Ohio.

Many of the provisions we were concerned about, namely the "percentage of total learning opportunities" and penalties for errand reporting were amended. In addition, the conference committee added-back the "flagging" provision that was added in the House.

This provision requires the school district, not the community school, to prove that a child is not attending the community school. Previously, a school district could withhold funding from a community school until the community school provided documentation that they were educating the student. This amendment puts the burden of proof on the school district.

The budget bill must be voted on in its current form on the floor of the House and the Senate--amendments cannot be added in either chamber.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the budget bill at 1:30pm this afternoon (Wednesday) during Session. I'll update you as I know.

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