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House Democrats Introduce the LEAP Initiative

Learning & Education Advancement Package (LEAP) sets goals and standards for the summer going into the next school year
May 22, 2024
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. News

COLUMBUS – House Democrats today held a news conference to introduce the Learning & Education Advancement Package (LEAP) Initiative, legislation to reaffirm K-12 education as a Democratic priority, setting goals and standards for our education system prior to the next school year for for-profit charter school oversight, private school vouchers accountability, investing in early childhood education, and supporting public schools, educators, and students. 

“One of the few programs our state constitution requires of the General Assembly is to, ‘secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state.’ Ohio’s early leaders made the right choice then to make supporting public schools part of our state constitution. We must make the right choice now to secure this support. The LEAP Initiative will help us address the top challenges and fairness issues schools, teachers, and students face in Ohio,” said Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon). “We need to give dignity to our educators and public schools, so they can provide opportunity to our students. Our public dollars need public accountability; private and for-profit charter schools should not be exempt. Policies that accomplish these goals are the only way to put students and our children first.”

“Parents deserve a real choice when it comes to their child’s school, and that means well-funded, high-quality public schools, as well as the transparency and accountability from our charter and private schools that they deserve,” said Rep. Dani Isaacsohn (D-Cincinnati).

“Public education is one of the foundational ways that we fulfill our promise of opportunity - our shared American Value of equality of opportunity can only be achieved when we provide a high-quality education to every single child no matter their zip code or the circumstances they are born into,” said Rep. Beryl Brown Piccolantonio (D-Gahanna).

As part of its People First agenda, House Democrats are committed to creating a state that works for and supports all Ohio children’s education, regardless of race, gender, income, and zip code. 

Some of the K-12 education House bills (HB) being highlighted from House Democrats is not limited to but includes:

Charter School Oversight

  • HB 561 (Brennan, Sims) – Ending for-profit operators at charter schools.
  • HB 581 (Brown Piccolantonio, Isaacsohn) – Charter School Oversight Act: Ends loophole to keep open schools that are dropped by their sponsor and are in-auditable, requires parental notification of charter school report cards, and website available performance comparisons between charter schools and their local public school.
  • HB 591 (Brennan, Baker) – Charter School Sponsor & Operator Rating Act: Creation of easily accessible report card ratings for charter schools’ sponsors and operators.

Private School Vouchers Accountability

  • HB 567 (Robinson, Brennan) – EdChoice Fair Fiscal Responsibility Act: Caps the income limit on EdChoice vouchers and keeps the program focused on helping working-class and poorer families with affording school options.
  • HB 575 (Isaacsohn, Robinson) – Private School Accountability and Transparency Act: Requires overnight around financial accountability, fair testing transparency, and other standards for private schools where 25% or more of their students receive vouchers. 

Public School Support & Funding

  • HB 10 (Sweeney, Callender) – Affirms Fair School Funding Plan (FSFP) commitment
  • HB 387 (McNally, Brent) – Eliminate Academic District Commissions (ADCs)
  • HB 582 (Robinson, Brown Piccolantonio) – School Busing Improvement Act: Provides funding for old school bus repairs and replacement and creates fairer standards around school transportation rules.
  • HB 595 (Robinson) – Universal Preschool Act: Creates an optional, half-day, public preschool program and requires free, full day kindergarten.

Student Support

  • HB 348 (Isaacsohn, Seitz) – Creates the Graduation Incentive Pilot Program
  • HB 408 (Brewer, Mohamed) – Universal public school free meals

Teacher Support

  • HB 9 (Lightbody, Manning) – Creates the Grow Your Own Teacher Program
  • HB 411 (J. Miller) – Increases teacher minimum base salary to $50K
  • HB 563 (Brennan) – Future Educators Support Act: Supports student teachers with rules to allow for minimum wage or healthcare, cost-of-living stipends, test fee waivers, tuition waivers, and makes hiring teachers a state priority.
  • HB 574 (Robinson, Brent) – Teacher and school staff paid family leave using existing sick leave.

The LEAP Initiative legislative package can be viewed here.