HUBER HEIGHTS — On June 25, former Huber Heights City Schools treasurer Ann Bernardo told the Courier that all three versions of the proposed state budget were very favorable to the district.
However, the final version signed by the governor was less than all three of the other versions, according to Huber Heights City Schools Superintendent Susan Gunnell.
The best proposal was when the budget bill went through the House as the combined two year biennial budget projected the district would receive $4.6 million. The district actually received $3.2 million. According to Gunnell, this represents an increase of eight percent from the current budget for fiscal year 2016 or $2.4 million. For fiscal year 2017, there is an increase of 2.4 percent or $789,000.
Gunnell said the final version was closest to the third version that came out of the Senate which had Huber with $2.48 million for fiscal year 2016 and $791,000 the second year.
“I know there were some districts that were basically either at zero percent or actually some receiving less than they did at the previous biennial budget,” said Gunnell. “We are certainly grateful for where we are in that budget.”
Also in the budget bill was the discussion of the elimination of the unpopular PARCC tests which accompany the Common Core that were developed for the areas of math and English and Language Arts, but then replaced it with AIR (American Institute for Research) tests which has developed tests for Ohio in the areas of science and social studies. Gunnell said it appears that AIR will develop all tests in Ohio in the areas of science, social studies, language arts and math.
Gunnell said there is a requirement for only one “testing window” later in the spring. Previously, third graders took the third grade test in the fall and the spring. Gunnell said that when she provided testimony at the state level and listened to the concerns of other districts, there was “great concern” about the amount of time that students were testing and concern about this limiting instructional time and the use of technology for instruction because it was being used for the assessment.
“I think this was a response to listening to those concerns and of course, everyone still believes in accountability and we know that there needs to be assessments,” said Gunnell. “But, it looks like they tried to listen and respond to the amount of time that was spent on assessments, especially this last year.”
Gunnell said there will be a pretty short window of time to develop the new tests as the expectation is that these new tests will be administered for the 2015-16 school year in the spring for English, Language Arts and math tests through AIR.
‘I think the reduction in the amount of time for testing so that we actually have more time for instruction is a good thing,” said Gunnel.