Week in Review - 02/16/2018

Week in Review - 02/16/2018


Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told Hannah News Monday that he expects a capital appropriations bill will be introduced by the end of February. It will be smaller than in years past, with Obhof saying he expects to have about 10 percent less funding available than in the 131st General Assembly.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said Wednesday that funding to upgrade voting machines will not be included in the forthcoming capital budget, but will be considered in separate legislation. He said there are a number of issues that need to be worked out regarding voting machine funding.


Aiming to streamline Ohio's education-to-workforce pipeline, House Republicans announced legislation Wednesday that would significantly alter the state's public education system and the departments that oversee it. Under HB512, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation and much of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and State Board of Education would be combined under a new, cabinet-level agency, the Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement.

Education officials added millions Monday to the total of student funding overpayments they're seeking to recover from the shuttered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), one day before the Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on the school's enrollment reporting dispute with the state. At a sparsely attended meeting, State Board of Education members voted 15-0 to accept the report of a hearing officer who agreed with the ODE finding that ECOT could not substantiate 18.5 percent of its reported 2016-2017 enrollment. The resolution on the hearing officer's report directs ODE to seek recovery of $19,234,109.11.

Schools with a higher proportion of students at risk of not graduating on time are seeing the students take advantage of new diploma options created for the class of 2018, ODE officials said Tuesday. Department staff shared results of a survey sent to 156 schools across 45 districts to gauge how the new diploma options are being used, which is meant to help State Board of Education (SBOE) members with their long-term discussions of whether and how to overhaul the graduation system. About half of the schools responded to the survey.

The beleaguered Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) had its latest day in Court Tuesday, when counsel for the e-school and ODE debated whether it would be an "absurd result" to argue that an online school should receive full student funding from the state for the entire academic year if a student logs onto the website a couple of minutes every month. The answer to that question is an emphatic yes, said attorney Doug Cole, arguing for ODE. Attorney Marion Little, representing ECOT, contradicted that view, saying e-schools and other charters are no different than traditional public schools in that respect.

Explaining that he sees a high level of interest among the members of his Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee to do something in the apprenticeship area, Chair Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) said Wednesday it is still unclear how HB110 (Hagan-Dean) differs from current law.

ODE is seeking comments on its proposed updates to Ohio's Learning Standards in Science and Social Studies - Extended. All Ohioans can share their thoughts about the standards through a survey accessible online at https://www.ohio-k12.help/standards/. The deadline for comments is Monday, March 12.

Applications for the 2018 Appalachian Regional Commission/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Summer STEM Program are now available. All middle and high school students interested in math, science and technology who attend a public school in Appalachian Ohio are encouraged to apply. The institute will take place at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN, from July 7-20, 2018 for high school students and teachers; and from July 15-20, 2018 for middle school students.

The departments of education (ODE) and higher education (ODHE) Thursday announced that students intending to participate in the fourth year of College Credit Plus can now begin the notification process for the 2018-2019 school year. The program allows Ohio students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.

According to the Food Research and Action Center's (FRAC) "2016-2017 School Breakfast Scorecard" report, Ohio schools' participation in the national School Breakfast Program (SBP) is proportionally one of the lowest in the nation, ranking 43rd out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report stated that 87.5 percent of Ohio schools offering free and reduced-price (F&RP) lunches offered school breakfast in the 2016-2017 school year - a figure the center says should be higher.