Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ohio House Sends Budget Bill to Senate for Hearings and Debate

Last week, the Ohio House passed and sent to the Senate its version of the operating budget for the next two fiscal years. The budget includes a marginal increase in funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, and retains the $41 million earmark for the independent sector. In addition, the House stripped from the bill an administration proposal to reconstruct dual-enrollment programs under which high school students simultaneously attend college.  

In addition, the sub-bill includes AICUO-drafted language that indemnifies independent colleges and universities from liability for a state agency's disclosure of personal data submitted to any state agency. 

A last-minute provision was added that would disallow reimbursement to colleges for classes taken by high school students if the course is not a part of or “equivalent to” a transfer module or other set of courses created by the Chancellor for automatic transferability between public-sector campuses. AICUO is analyzing this language to determine an official stance. 

The voluminous measure cleared the House floor on a nearly party-line vote of 61-35 following more than five hours of debate. Three Democrats joined most Republicans in supporting the bill: Rep. John Barnes of Cleveland, Rep. Zack Milkovich of Akron and Rep. Bill Patmon of Cleveland. Rep. Ron Hood of Ashville was the sole GOP member in opposition. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has set a deliberation schedule that would have it in conference committee by mid-June.