Week in Review - 02/07/2020

Week in Review - 02/07/2020

EDUCATION

The House sent a new school voucher plan to the Senate Wednesday that would convert the EdChoice system to one based only on family income going forward, with some opportunity for siblings of current students to keep getting performance-based vouchers. Changes to SB89 (Huffman), a career-tech omnibus that became an education catch-all throughout the day, also included a House floor amendment to repeal academic distress commissions. The Senate had planned on holding a concurrence vote on Wednesday night, but the House sent its clerk home without delivering the message to the upper chamber, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said during a late floor speech. The Senate's attempt to address the EdChoice controversy is already pending in the Conference Committee on HB9 (Jones- Sweeney). The two chambers had tried to negotiate an EdChoice compromise last week but couldn't reach one, instead attaching a 60-day delay in the application process to another bill, SB120 (Rulli-McColley), which addresses performance audits of colleges and universities. The delay prompted a lawsuit from Citizens for Community Values and numerous families, who argue the General Assembly didn't take the proper steps to put the delay into effect immediately, and that students have a vested right to the vouchers based on an eligibility list published in November.


The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is looking for nonprofit agencies across the state to participate in the 2020 Summer Food Service Program as meal site hosts or sponsors, according to a news release.


Parents responding to a new poll on state report cards expressed support for the type of letter grade system used now versus alternatives like star ratings or descriptors. In the poll commissioned by Ohio Excels, a business coalition focused on education and workforce issues, letter grades won plurality support in comparison to other methods, and large majorities of respondents expressed that A-F grades are understandable and appropriate as a way to convey school performance.


The Stark County Board of Elections must review a petition seeking to transfer part of the village of Hills and Dales to a different school district to determine if it can make the March 17 ballot, even though the filing deadline has passed, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled this week. The ruling is the justices' third in the saga of several village residents' quest to have their homes transferred from Plain Local Schools to Jackson Local Schools under a new territory transfer law enacted in the biennial budget, HB166 (Oelslager).


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

Wednesday's Senate session included passage of SB314 (Gavarone), which would increase penalties for improperly passing school buses.


Three of Ohio's four legislative leaders said Tuesday that school districts must have predictable state funding from one biennium to the next to provide the personnel, programs and facilities kids need to compete with peers in other states. The House speaker and minority leaders from both chambers took up the funding formula during panel discussions hosted by the Associated Press (AP) on a range of policy questions including gun reforms, capital punishment, statutes of limitations and school choice.