Ohio senators want to strip wording from the state budget that would more closely tie public school teachers' pay to their performance in the classroom, language similar to certain provisions of the state's contentious new collective bargaining law.
The revision is among a host of proposed changes that Senate leadership announced Tuesday to the two-year spending blueprint. The proposal also spends $115 million more than the House on school districts, $100 million more on local governments, and $15 million more on the in-home nursing care program PASSPORT.
The bill also opens the door for private management of the state lottery, while protecting the Ohio Turnpike from being taken private without legislative approval, and alters the accountability of charter schools.
The legislation proposed by Republican leaders also includes $1.7 billion in property tax relief to Ohio homeowners and tax credit expansions for job creation and historic preservation.
The teacher provision would reverse House-passed language that based teachers' salaries on performance and evaluations, instead of the current increase based on seniority and level of training. Similar wording was contained in Senate Bill 5, a collective bargaining overhaul that affects 350,000 unionized police, firefighters, nurses, and state and local workers across the state. It allows unions to negotiate wages but not health care, sick time or pension benefits.
Senate President Tom Niehaus, a New Richmond Republican, said his chamber wanted to remove the provision to let schools honor any agreements made with teachers as part of federal Race to the Top grants.
He said a November ballot repeal effort against the new bargaining law is not a factor. Supporters of the law launched a nonprofit political organization Tuesday to counter a signature drive to place allow voters to decide whether to keep or get rid of the law on the November ballot.
Opponents of the new law have said putting performance-based pay for teachers in the budget bill skirts the chance for voters to weigh in on the idea in an expected referendum.
The Senate plan also proposes handing over the day-to-day management of the state lottery to a private vendor.
A Senate panel will have two days of hearings this week on the revised budget. They plan to vote next week on the measure.
Lawmakers in both chambers would have to work out any differences between the two budget plans. They face a June 30 deadline to pass the state spending plan.