Bill to create pilot projects to pay Ohio kids to go to school and to graduate appears stalled
A bill to establish pilot projects that could pay Ohio students to attend school and graduate remains in an Ohio House committee. And it doesn’t appear the bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing chronic absenteeism will be going anywhere soon.
House Bill 348 was heard in the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee last month. It would set up two pilot programs each funded with $750,000 to pay the families of kindergarteners and ninth graders at participating districts. One program would pay out biweekly, quarterly and annual incentive for attendance, and the other would pay a reward for graduating, with a bonus for higher grade point averages. While it has bipartisan sponsorship through Reps. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and Dani Isaacsohn (D-Cincinnati), there were questions from Republican committee members about the cost, whether it’s worked elsewhere and about the need to “pay kids to follow the law.”
No additional hearings scheduled
There are no more hearings scheduled for the bill at this point. But House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said don’t read too much into that, noting there are more than 400 bills that have been proposed since January.
“We’ll allow our committee chairs and those on the committee to have those debates," Stephens said.
But there’s no guarantee those debates will actually happen. The bill could be one of those that will die in committee. The bill could be moved to a different committee where it might get a warmer reception from members. But Stephens said he has not been asked to move the bill to a different committee.
House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said there should be a discussion on the bill and said other members of the committee who disagree with the bill as it is written can modify it during that process. But she said the issue is too important to do nothing.
"The reality is that we have to deal with absenteeism. Many of the approaches that have been used in the past have not been successful. So if there are new innovative ways that we could use a pilot program to test different strategies, we, as a state, should be interested in that," Russo said.