Week in Review - 01/17/2020

Week in Review - 01/17/2020

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EDUCATION

As part of legislative deliberations addressing the rapid growth of schools where students are eligible for EdChoice scholarships, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) is hoping to win support for his proposal to largely convert the state voucher system to one based on income rather than school performance. Huffman, identified by Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) recently as a leader of Senate discussions on the topic, told Hannah News Tuesday that while he agrees current criteria are putting some schools on the EdChoice list that don't belong, he won't support "jerking the rug out" from families who stand to gain voucher eligibility under those criteria.


A House priority bill on college credit transfers that could pick up those changes to the EdChoice program had a relatively quiet Senate committee hearing Thursday, as lawmakers in both chambers weigh how to address the issue before the voucher application window opens Feb. 1. Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard), chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said she knows HB9 (Jones-Sweeney) is the type of bill that could serve as a vehicle, since it's already passed one chamber and had multiple committee hearings in another, but has not been told specifically that will happen or seen any amendments to that effect. She said she wants to give the bill's underlying purpose due consideration as well because it's considered a priority by House leadership.


Ohio's 2020 Teacher of the Year, Norwood Middle School teacher Leila Kubesch, is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of Year competition. Kubesch, who teachers Spanish and English to students who speak other languages, joins a finalist group that includes Chris Dier, a world history and AP human geography teacher at Chalmette High School in Louisiana; Tabatha Rosproy, an early childhood teacher in Winfield, KS; and Linda Rost, a science teacher at Baker High School in Montana.


Plain Local School District must send a petition from residents wanting to switch to a neighboring school system to the Stark County Board of Elections, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Residents of the village of Hills and Dales want their addresses moved to nearby Jackson Local Schools under a new territory transfer law enacted in the state budget bill, HB166 (Oelslager). The new territory transfer law has generated major consternation among local school officials and the State Board of Education.


The State Board of Education voted Tuesday to officially "receive" a report of recommendations from an advisory group it formed on dropout prevention and recovery (DOPR) schools, in contrast to draft motions circulated ahead of the meeting to "support" or "accept" the report. Members had voiced concerns that the latter two descriptions would imply the board's endorsement of recommendations they hadn't spent time digesting or debating. The workgroup had met again Friday to respond to a memo from Superintendent Paolo DeMaria on the report that they found critical of their work. The full board also heard presentations from workgroup members and DeMaria on the subject Monday. During Tuesday's debate, Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) urged the board not to spend too much time "wordsmithing" the issue, as the Legislature has already queued up its own DOPR study and "will not spend a lot of time on the words in this document."