House passes bill addressing certain substitute shortages

COLUMBUS — State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) announced that legislation allowing the Ohio State Board of Education to issue substitute licenses to certain professionals has passed the Ohio House.

House Bill 491, which he sponsored, would require the State Board of Education to issue substitute licenses to speech-language pathologists, audiologists, registered nurses who hold bachelor’s degrees in nursing, physical therapists or physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists or occupational therapist assistants, and social workers.

“Many of the licensed professionals associated with this bill are choosing to work in other settings than our schools, which in turn is creating a major shortage. Our schools and educational service centers feel that cutting down the burden for these licensed professionals to work within our schools on a substitute basis, will fill the void of this shortage” Edwards said. “Some of these licensed individuals play a crucial role in battling the opioid epidemic”

Current law requires these professionals to obtain a Pupil Services License from the Ohio Department of Education as an addition to the required board license to practice in a school setting. The legislation will open the door for more individuals to be eligible, addressing shortages across school districts in the specified disciplines.

House Bill 491 now awaits deliberation by the Ohio Senate.

Provided by the office of State Rep. Jay Edwards.