The following update is from Ohio Conference of the AAUP:

Kasich signs bill free of anti-faculty provisions

Earlier today, June 30, Gov. Kasich signed HB 49, the state biennial budget bill, into law.

The bill that was finalized by the conference committee, approved by both the House and Senate, and sent to the governor remained free of the anti-faculty provisions (e.g. reduced sick leave, one-size-fits-all post-tenure review, and an annual disclosure filing requirement for faculty who assign textbooks) that the House had included in its earlier version of the bill.

The bill, however, does include provisions that ask boards of trustees to review and update tenure policies, as well as create textbook selection policies for faculty.

The Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) increases allocated by the Senate were approved, meaning there will be more funding for low-income students in the next two years.

On the other hand, the appropriations to State Share of Instruction (SSI), the main state funding source for our public colleges and universities, remained flat. SSI funding for FY 2018 and 2019 will be the same as FY 2017. Considering inflation, this amounts to a funding cut over the next two years.

Starting with the 2018-19 academic year, institutions that adopt a tuition guarantee program will be permitted to raise tuition by 8%. In other words, incoming students will see an 8% hike to tuition, but that tuition amount will be frozen for them for four years. It roughly equates to a 2% tuition increase each year.

Institutions are not permitted to increase general and instructional fees over the next two years.

As we expressed in our testimonies to the House and Senate, Ohio cannot meet its degree and certificate goal unless it provides significantly more resources to public higher education. For too long, the Ohio General Assembly has balanced budgets on the back of education — a strategy that has proven penny-wise and pound foolish.

The Ohio Conference will continue to advocate for the need for greater funding to our higher education system, as well as necessary reforms at the state and institutional levels. We put much of this forward in our latest Ohio Higher Education Report: Education First.

Thank you to all of our members who were active during this budget process! Your calls, e-mails, and lobby visits to your legislators made a big difference. And stay tuned. We are only a quarter of the way through this two-year General Assembly.

We expect more legislative challenges in the not-too-distant future. In fact, Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Twp.) introduced HB 298 this week, which would reduce sick leave for all state employees who currently have 15 days down to 10 days, similar to the language that had been in the budget bill. The legislature will be recessing until the fall, but we do expect that bill to get attention come September.

Senate Removes Anti-Faculty Provisions from Budget Bill, But It’s Not Over Yet

Following is an update on the State Budget Bill from OCAAUP:
On Monday, June 12, the Ohio Senate released its substitute version of House Bill 49, the state budget bill. You can view the Legislative Service Commission’s comparison document to see the changes between the executive, House, and Senate versions of the bill.

To our relief, the three provisions impacting public college and university faculty — the establishment of uniform post-tenure review; reduction of, and inability to bargain over, sick leave; as well as the financial disclosure requirement for any faculty who assigns textbooks — were removed.

Moreover, language was added explicitly stating that colleges and universities are permitted to establish paid leave donation programs, which lends clarity to what has been a gray area for institutions.

State Share of Instruction (SSI) figures remained the same as the House version, which is disappointing. However, the Senate did increase funding to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), even above the governor’s original proposed increase.

These are the results of many weeks of meeting with legislators, working with allies, and testifying to committee. Your messages to Senators made a difference, too.

On May 25, OCAAUP President John McNay gave testimony to the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee. You can view the testimony here.

While we are encouraged by the Senate’s actions, the budget bill is far from being finalized. HB 49 still must pass the full Senate (that vote is slated for June 21); and after, will go to a conference committee, through which the House and Senate will work out their differences before submitting the bill to the governor, who is required to sign by June 30.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be working with allies and having conversations with House and Senate members to try to ensure that these provisions remain out of the bill. We may need to call upon you to contact your legislators, as well as members of the conference committee.

We will continue to keep you updated with information and ways you can help. Thank you for the good work and support you have lent to this effort so far.


Anti-Faculty Provisions in the Budget Bill

As has been previously reported, the substitute state budget bill, which contains three provisions targeting faculty, has passed the Ohio House. The provisions in the bill:
  • establish a one-size-fits-all post-tenure review policy
  • reduce sick leave for university employees by 1/3 and prohibit institutions from offering more or agreeing to more in a CBA
  • mandate that every faculty member who assigns textbooks to file an annual financial disclosure form with the state.

Advocacy efforts now move to the Ohio Senate.The full Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to receive presentations from various departments over the next two weeks and then subcommittee hearings will begin.

AAUP representatives will be testifying before the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee and will continue to meet individually with Senators.

You can help by contacting your State Senator. Use this Action Network page.that has been set up by the Ohio Conference of the AAUP.  It is very quick and easy.

Updates will be forthcoming.

March for Science

A little rain didn’t deter these librarians and archivists from participating in the March for Science.  AAUP-UC was an event sponsor.