Week in Review - 02/01/2019

Week in Review - 02/01/2019

CHILDREN/FAMILIES

The study panel assigned to recommend home visitation policies for Gov. Mike DeWine's forthcoming budget this week reviewed Medicaid's efforts on visitation programs and also heard directly from a mother who benefited from home visiting. DeWine has repeatedly emphasized his administration's focus on the wellbeing of children, and he campaigned on a promise of tripling those served by Ohio's home visiting programs. The Advisory Committee on Home Visitation was formed to put that promise into action, in the process gathering data on current offerings and finding ways to make the system more efficient.


 

ECONOMY

Recessions are generally caused by "a bunch of bad shocks hitting at the same time, "Kent State University Assistant Professor Justin Barnette told attendees at a McDonald Hopkins business outlook event Thursday, and several potential shock factors are currently present. In addition to current uncertainty regarding the political climate, Barnette cited "rising interest rates, trade war, falling stock market, slowdown from trade partners (and) really bad weather" as factors he observed.


 

EDUCATION

A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute calls on state lawmakers to increase charter school funding to parity with traditional school district funding, saying that such a change would increase viable school choice options, especially for economically disadvantaged populations. According to the report, "Shortchanging Ohio's Charter Students," overall funding disparities exist between districts and charters both statewide and in the "Big Eight" school districts(Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown). Among the Big Eight schools in fiscal years 2015 through 2017,district schools received $14,648 per pupil in total revenue, while charter schools received $10,556 per pupil. Statewide, district schools received$11,622 per pupil, while charter schools received $9,755 per pupil. 


Attorney General Dave Yost and Auditor Keith Faber are urging the Franklin County judge overseeing dissolution of the defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) to reject the effort of several Ohio school districts to take control of efforts to recover public money. Meanwhile, the attorney that Judge Michael Holbrook appointed to supervise the school's affairs and assets is asking Holbrook for guidance on how to finalize financial paperwork for the closed online charter school.


Attorneys discussed the case schedule Thursday for the state's lawsuit seeking to recoup millions of dollars from Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow(ECOT) founder William Lager and others linked to the school. Attorneys for defendants besides Lager himself pressed for faster resolution of issues related to them. The attorney general's office filed suit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against Lager and others in August seeking to recover money paid for students whose enrollment could not be documented by the school. In addition, the state alleges Lager had an improper interest in contracts between ECOT and his other companies, Altair Learning Management and IQ Innovations.


FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said Tuesday members of Congress at last appear to be coming around to the concepts behind his proposal to enact a new law to prevent future government shutdowns, including the five-week stretch that just concluded over the weekend. "I've introduced this legislation five times ... but I think finally there is a sense that we're tired of this, that we want to see something different," he said during a conference call with reporters.