Yesterday, the Ohio House unveiled Substitute House Bill 49, which is the heavily amended state budget bill. The easiest method for assessing the changes from the governor’s executive budget to the substitute bill is to review the Legislative Service Commission’s comparison document.
Among the changes to the legislation was the addition of language requiring post-tenure review at least once every five years for each tenured faculty member at public institutions. We believe this provision is unnecessary, as our institutions already provide for post-tenure review, or some other form of recurrent evaluation of tenured faculty work. Our colleges and universities have determined what works best for them. This provision essentially dismantles the concept of tenure and replaces it with a series of renewable five-year contracts. This one-size-fits-all mandate simply will create more administrative costs to ensure compliance with what the state wishes to impose.
Reduced Sick Leave & An Attack on Collective Bargaining
In addition, language was added that would reduce sick leave for university employees and would prohibit colleges and universities from providing sick leave greater than what is in statute, either on their own accord or via a collective bargaining agreement. This is Senate Bill 5 in piecemeal fashion. This is an attack on faculty collective bargaining. We intend to strongly oppose this measure.
Textbook Financial Disclosure Filings
Sub. HB 49 would require every faculty member that assigns textbooks to fill out an annual financial disclosure form to the Ohio Ethics Commission and pay a $35 fee. This is another unnecessary mandate that in effect will amount to busy work for faculty, more administrative costs at institutions, as well as greater costs for the state. We believe that the legislature is falsely assuming two things: 1) That faculty earn a great deal in royalties by assigning their own texts; 2) That faculty assign texts due to influence by textbook companies. We are completely unaware of either of these things being a problem, particularly the latter. This is a solution in search of a problem.
SSI, OCOG, & Tuition Guarantees
The substitute bill also would eliminate $20 million per year from State Share of Instruction (SSI) — the main state funding source to institutions — and flat-fund the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), which provides need-based aid to low-income students who attend any institutions of higher education in the state. Sub. HB 49 would lift the tuition cap, but would require a tuition guarantee to students so that their tuition remains the same throughout their undergraduate careers.
Removal of Textbook Mandate & Reporting on CCP Outcomes
The provision that would have required institutions to provide textbooks to students was removed completely. Sub. HB 49 also calls for the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education to annually report on outcomes for the College Credit Plus (CCP) program — something that we advocated for in order to ensure educational quality of CCP courses.
We believe it is important that we take action by contacting members of the House Finance Committee and our own State Representatives and asking that they remove the anti-faculty provisions from the bill.
There are two ways to contact these members
1) By phone. Phone calls are the most effective. We would like to target the Republican members of the Finance Committee with calls. If you can make a call to everyone on this list, great. If you have time only to make a few calls, we’ve put an asterisk (*) next to the members who are most important to reach.
*Chairman Ryan Smith: (614) 466-1366
*Rep. Marlene Anielski: (614) 644-6041
Rep. Steven Arndt: 614-644-6011
Rep. Louis Blessing: (614) 466-9091
Rep. Jim Butler: (614) 644-6008
Rep. Robert Cupp: (614) 466-9624
*Rep. Mike Duffey: (614) 644-6030
Rep. Keith Faber: (614) 466-6344
Rep. Theresa Gavarone: (614) 466-8104
Rep. Anne Gonzales: (614) 466-4847
Rep. Doug Green: (614) 644-6034
Rep. Sarah LaTourette: (614) 644-5088
Rep. Scott Lipps: (614) 644-6023
Rep. Robert McColley: (614) 466-3760
Rep. Tom Patton: (614) 466-4895
*Rep. Rick Perales: (614) 644-6020
Rep. Bill Reineke: (614) 466-1374
Rep. Mark Romanchuk: (614) 466-5802
Rep. Gary Scherer: (614) 644-7928
Rep. Robert Sprague: (614) 466-3819
Rep. Andy Thompson: (614) 644-8728
Below is a sample script for your calls. You most likely will be talking to an aide.
“Hello, my name is (your name), and I am a professor at (your institution). I am calling to voice my concern and opposition to several unnecessary and anti-faculty provisions that were amended into the budget bill. The provision requiring post-tenure review is unwarranted, since our institutions already have mechanisms to evaluate tenured faculty. In addition, the language that standardizes sick leave really amounts to an attack on collective bargaining. Finally, requiring all faculty who assign textbooks to file an annual financial disclosure statement is truly a solution in search of a problem. I assign textbooks because they are the best materials to help my students learn, not because I personally benefit or because I was influenced by a textbook company. Please pass along these concerns to the Representative. Thanks for your time.”
2) By sending an e-mail through our Action Network system. The e-mail that you send through this link will go to the State Representative that represents you.
Thank you in advance for your activism on these issues! OCAAUP will be testifying to the House Finance Committee tomorrow. We will keep you apprised of further developments.