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Reynoldsburg awaits state budget news
With a budget already slashed by approximately $20 million over the last four years, the Reynoldsburg School District is facing more cuts in state funding.
“The numbers given to us are (a loss of) $2.4 million from this fiscal year to the next,” Superintendent Steve Dackin said during an April 19 school board meeting.
Ohio House Bill 153 - Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget - is winding its way through the legislative process. Facing a June 30 deadline, Dackin said approval of the legislation could be delayed. The bill was introduced in the house on March 15 and is currently in the Finance and Appropriation Committee.
“We will seriously have to reduce expenses by next year, but we won’t know until closer to June 30,” Dackin said. “We promised voters to have a positive cash balance in 2014. It will take creativity and there are a lot of unknowns.”
According to the State Office of Budget and Management, during the next year, the Kasich administration plans to develop a new approach to state support of education. In the interim, a bridge formula will allocate state foundation funding to school districts based on their reliance on state support for education. This is measured by its property valuation per pupil and the number of students residing within the district.
Addressing appropriations for 2012 through 2013, the bill also contains proposed changes in instructor salary compensation as it relates to seniority, reduction in force procedures,and changes in the termination hearing process, including:
• A requirement that annual salary schedules for teachers be based on years of service and educational training would be eliminated. It also repeals the minimum salary requirements with which the schedules must comply.
• Each school district must designate a salary within the appropriate range for each of its teachers by considering evaluations and whether the teacher is highly qualified under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Additional factors may be considered, such as whether the teacher teaches in a hard-to-staff school or subject areas, teaches larger-than-average class sizes, or teaches at-risk students.
• If a veteran teacher’s salary on the day the new salary schedule takes effect is above the maximum salary established for the teacher’s license, the teacher will continue to earn the same yearly salary. The teacher will not be eligible for a pay raise, unless the school district increases the maximum salary for the teacher’s license in a future school year and the teacher’s salary falls within the new salary range.
• When a school district reduces its teaching staff, it must consider relative quality of performance as the main factor in determining the order of layoffs. Current law requires that preference in retention be given first to teachers with continuing contracts (tenure) and then to teachers with greater seniority. A teacher’s performance quality must be measured by the type of license held, if the teacher is highly qualified under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, evaluations and any other criteria established by the employer.
The bill retains current law giving tenured teachers the right of restoration to a continuing contract when teaching positions become available again, but it also eliminates the requirement that the order of restoration be based on seniority.
An option for a teacher or administrator to request that a termination hearing be held before a referee, rather than the school board, is eliminated. It would also prohibit the employee from both appealing the board’s termination decision to the common pleas court and invoking the grievance procedure in a collective bargaining agreement covering the employee. Instead, the employee may choose only one of the processes.
Under current law, a school district may terminate a contract with a person licensed by the State Board of Education for good and just cause, in addition to falsification of a sick or assault leave statement, assisting a student in cheating on a statewide achievement assessment, or sexual conduct with a student.
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