Week in Review - 03/09/2018

Week in Review - 03/09/2018

FY18-19 BUDGET

Ohio's revenues continue running above estimates for the year-to-date by over $200 million, but February revenues came in nearly $20 million below estimates. A total of nearly $1.6 billion was collected in February -- $10.6 million more than was collected in February 2017. The total so far for FY18 is nearly $14.7 billion, nearly $222 million more than had been collected at this time last year.


CHILDREN/FAMILIES

According to a study released recently by nonprofit think tank Child Trends, 49 percent of Ohio children under age 18 have undergone at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE) from which lasting negative effects into adulthood could result, leading the group to classify ACEs as a "critical public health issue."


EDUCATION

Opponents of legislation that would consolidate several education-related agencies into the Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement (DLA) packed the Statehouse Wednesday, telling lawmakers HB512 (Reineke) wouldn't improve the state's education system and would likely damage it.


The Senate Education Committee Wednesday passed Sen. Matt Huffman's (R-Lima) SB216, a school deregulation measure which addresses topics from teacher licensure to testing to College Credit Plus and beyond, after a series of changes which included an exemption to textbook cost-sharing between families and schools for students at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level; a replacement of teacher evaluation language in SB216 with language from SB240, which is sponsored by committee Chair Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering); and creation of a provisional license for teaching in early college high schools.


The Senate Education Committee also passed HB98 (Duffey-Boggs), which deals with giving groups access to schools to present career information, after adding four amendments on un-related topics. Among them was an amendment from Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) to provide funding to partially offset massive tax revenues losses in Benton-Carroll-Salem schools from devaluation of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ottawa County. Gardner also attached an amendment that he said would restore the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) funding model used for the past 10 years, in response to a re-interpretation of the OCOG funding statute by the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The committee also accepted two amendments from Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) regarding career-technical education licensure.


The State Board of Education is developing a new evaluation for the state superintendent that aims to provide helpful feedback and would be aligned closer to the board-approved goals for the education chief. What form that evaluation will take is still under discussion, as evidenced in a meeting of the board's executive committee Thursday.


The Ohio Department of Education has released a revised draft of its proposed strategic plan for education ahead of a series of public meetings that start soon to gather feedback and suggestions for additional changes to the plan. Recent edits were made after several State Board of Education members suggested changes at the February board meeting. The most recent version is available at http://tinyurl.com/y7l38g9n.


GAMING/GAMBLING

Ohio's casino revenues were up month-to-month in February while also slightly exceeding statewide totals from the same time last year, and racino revenues remain up as well. The Ohio Casino Control Commission reported the state's four casinos earned $67.6 million in February, up from $67.2 million in February 2017 and $63 million in January 2018.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The Ohio House on Wednesday passed HB87 (Roegner), addressing public money returned to the state as a result of a finding for recovery issued pursuant to an audit of a community school and HB438 (Hambley-Kick), addressing educational service centers.


HIGHER EDUCATION

Ohio technical centers would be recognized as institutions of higher education under a change made to a workforce development bill Wednesday, though some legislators had concerns. The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee accepted a substitute version of HB166 (Reineke-Cupp), which had focused on various changes to Ohio's workforce development system. Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) told the committee that the substitute version of the bill contains new language that addresses Ohio technical centers, which he said provide labor market-driven post-secondary training to adults. He said they are the adult education component at career centers, with students often taking classes at night and on the weekends, and the centers are highly responsive in meeting the needs of employers.