COLUMBUS—The Ohio House today passed House Bill 438, sponsored by State Representatives Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) and Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville), which improves policies governing Ohio’s educational service centers (ESC) in order to better serve local school districts.
“House Bill 438 is a narrowly focused bill that updates the way educational service centers address membership, annex territory, and serve licensed professionals,” said Hambley. “ESCs have proven to be a cost-effective tool for school districts and we should leverage these institutions as much as possible. House Bill 438 does just that.”
The legislation has three main provisions. The first provision allows governing boards of ESCs that serve only one county to add members to their governing board to represent the local school district that the ESC serves. This simply applies the same authority given to multi-county ESCs to single-county ESCs to ensure full and adequate representation on the board.
The second provision addressed in HB 438 allows a local school district to sever its territory from one ESC in order to join an adjacent ESC. This only applies to those districts who had previously taken these steps prior to 2011 through a portion of the Ohio Revised Code that has since been repealed.
“The Medina County ESC brought this issue to our attention to provide a needed fix for the Black River Local School District,” said Kick. “The bill has the potential to help many other schools to receive more adequate attention around the state.”
During the committee process, HB 438 was amended to include a third objective that gives ESCs permission to establish Local Professional Development Committees to serve Ohio licensed educators who are not currently employed, but wish to retain their teaching license. These committees will review the educator’s coursework and continuing education requirements to ensure the activities meet the qualifications for licensure.
House Bill 438 passed with bipartisan support and now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.