Week in Review - 02/21/2020

Week in Review - 02/21/2020

EDUCATION

The Conference Committee on HB9 (Jones-Sweeney) continued hearing testimony on how to address the pending expansion of Ohio's EdChoice program to several hundred more school buildings. In total, the conference committee has spent dozens of hours hearing from more than 400 witnesses since it began taking testimony on Feb. 11 including a rare Saturday hearing and an all-day hearing on Presidents' Day -- a state holiday. Witnesses included a whole range of public and private school officials, parents and students. However, there is little indication of any compromise on the horizon with Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) commenting this week that there is still plenty of time for lawmakers to work out a fix before April 1 -- the extended deadline lawmakers gave themselves in SB120. He added that a majority of his Senate colleagues agree that the current performance-based vouchers should not be eliminated. Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said it's time to put an end to performance-based vouchers. Gov. Mike DeWine has said he plans to meet with both leaders because it is clear they are far apart and this issue needs to be settled.


Leaders of Ohio's seven independent STEM schools announced Friday the formation of the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools (OAISS) to educate lawmakers and the public on the importance of a strong independent STEM school network, and to advocate for policies that foster their growth and success.



School sports referees kept pressing Thursday for legislation to levy stiffer penalties on those who would attack them during games, detailing numerous assaults perpetrated in the several months since the bill was last heard. Meanwhile, the House Criminal Justice Committee revised HB208 to impose the tougher, felony-level charge only for a repeat offense.