Rep. Smith Votes In Favor Of Sweeping Charter School Reform Bill
Lawmaker expresses concerns with charter teacher retirement restrictions
October 07, 2015
 
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The Ohio House today agreed on conference committee changes to House Bill 2 (HB 2), a bipartisan education bill aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for Ohio’s charter schools. The monthslong legislative process culminated in significant reforms that will strengthen oversight of a charter industry repeatedly plagued by fraud, scandal and failing report cards.


“As a member of the Ohio House Education Committee, I was happy to vote yes today on House Bill 2, the charter school reform bill,” said Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid). “Thanks to improvements made by the Ohio Senate, the bill was much stronger than the toothless version that I did not support coming out of my committee. The bill has increased the transparency and accountability for charter school operators.  It will help reign in those that sought to put operator profits before Ohio students. House Bill 2 helps Ohio kids.  I call on the Governor to sign it.”


HB 2 requires charter school operators to report how they spend tax dollars, tightens rules on student attendance and changes how the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) rates charter sponsors. Other changes include cracking down on “ineffective” sponsors, improving education standards and increasing accountability and transparency for Ohio’s oft-ridiculed charter school system.


One last-minute change made to HB 2 in conference committee that did raise concerns among lawmakers was a restriction blocking new teachers at charter schools from being a part of the state pension system. The change will affect newly hired charter school teachers working directly for charter operators rather than the school districts that provide the majority of charter school funding.


House Bill 2 passed the Ohio House by a vote of 91-6. 

 
 
 
  
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Cleveland-area Lawmakers Say Ohio Could "amp Up" Economic Growth Through Music Industry

 

State Reps. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) and Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge) today announced a bi-partisan effort to create jobs and drive economic growth by making Ohio a destination for the recording industry. The Ohio Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, also known as OhioSounds, will work to attract more of the almost $7 billion in annual music industry revenue to the state. 

“Ohio is the birthplace of legendary musicians, unforgettable songs and ‘Rock N’ Roll’,” said Rep. Smith. “OhioSounds honors our proud legacy and works to cultivate a winning model moving forward. Ohio can become a destination for musicians, producers and industry leaders who will create jobs and strengthen our local economies. The OhioSounds tax credit will solidify our commitment to Ohio’s musical heritage and create new music that will provide the soundtrack to our lives.”

“Much like the Ohio film tax credit, this legislation seeks to incentivize investment in Ohio and create jobs in a dynamic industry,” Representative LaTourette stated. “Northeast Ohio has seen quite an investment in response to the film tax credit, with major motion pictures filmed on the streets of Cleveland and throughout our region. Given our history as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, it just makes sense to extend that incentive to the music industry and embrace our heritage as musical innovators.”