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Improving Ohio career-tech education key for lawmaker

Published By The Center Square on May 24, 2021
D. J. Swearingen In The News

(The Center Square) – An Ohio lawmaker has introduced a bill for the second time recently that he said focuses on more opportunities for high school students and creates advantages for Ohio companies by growing the state’s workforce.

Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron, said House Bill 303 would offer more pathways for career-readiness education. The bill is another in a growing list of education reform legislation in front of the General Assembly.

“This is all about giving more opportunity for our students to seek out more in demand careers such as skilled trades jobs that are high-paying and will help advance our state’s workforce,” Swearingen said.

 The bill provides incentives for companies to operate work-based learning programs for high school career-tech and career center students, and it offers a grant for participating businesses that includes 15% of the state income tax an employer must pay on behalf of the student-worker.

The measure also would allow the Bureau of Workers Compensation to offer discounts on premiums for employers in the program. Other grants would be available to technical schools and permanent access to remote learning and training would be established.

 Finally, the bill supports driver’s education courses as part of a high school career tech and career center pathway in an effort to combat the issue where students in a work-based learning program are unable to actually get to work.

Lawmakers also continue to hold hearings on a new school funding formula that supporters call one of the most significant steps in education funding in Ohio in decades. It could mean an additional $2 billion for schools and includes a base cost plan that incorporates professional development for teachers, health, safety, social and emotional needs of students, academic and athletic activities, technology, building and district operations and leadership and staff.

A key change to local funding is it bases 60% of a districts local funding capacity on property values and 40% on resident income.

Also, the plan changes how community schools and voucher systems are paid. The money will go to the school educating the student, rather than the home district and then passed on.

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