Time is running out to act on the budget

As May draws to a close, we are only a short time away from having the state's biennium budget set in stone. The Senate finance committee will spend most of this week discussing their amendments, with committee and full Senate votes expected next week. From there a likely conference committee with the house will happen.

That leaves precious little time to act to make changes. Contacting law makers is having an effect, as this report indicates

Senators also are working on the teacher merit-pay language, which is similar to parts of Senate Bill 5, the new law that weakens collective bargaining for public workers and likely will be challenged on the November ballot.

Bacon said he has heard some legitimate concerns from area teachers, and there is a focus on altering how to evaluate teachers based on student progress in a given year.

"We have to make sure we're creating teacher incentives without penalizing them for things that are out of their control," he said.

Sen. Timothy J. Grendell, R-Chesterland, who voted against Senate Bill 5, said the merit-pay language should come out while the attempt to overturn the law is ongoing.

"If there is any hope of getting beyond 17 votes, I think that and the prevailing wage are going to be pivotal issues," he said.

You should contact your state senator, either by email or phone. When doing so, address one issue at a time. Correspondence should be brief but contain specific and personalized information on merit pay, school funding or the SB5 provisions in the budget. You should also reference HB153 as the particular piece of legislation.

The best information we have says that we are just 1 vote away in the Senate from removing these onerous provisions from the budget that would harm public education and the teaching profession.

Act now.