Week in Review - 03/02/2018

Week in Review - 03/02/2018

FY19-20 CAPITAL APPROPRIATIONS

Lawmakers introduced the $2.6 billion capital budget for FY19-20 Monday, highlighting a $222 million portion dedicated to addiction and other health and human services purposes. Both chambers held hearings this week on their respective measures -- SB266 (Oelslager) and HB529 (Ryan) -- as the General Assembly looks to make quick work of the bill. To that end, Budget Director Tim Keen briefed both committees, reviewing in greater detail major spending proposals for prisons, schools, dam safety, and health and human services facilities. Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) told reporters Monday he hopes to finish work on the bill in the third week of March. The House version is expected to be the final vehicle.


EDUCATION

As they continue drafting a five-year strategic plan for education, the Ohio Department of Education and the State Board of Education are inviting comment on the plan at 11 regional hearings scheduled for March and April. All hearings are scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., as follows:

- Wednesday, March 14, Portsmouth: SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St., Rm. B

- Thursday, March 15, Marietta: Marietta High School, 115 Academy Dr.

- Monday, March 19, Massillon: R.G. Drage Career Center, 2800 Richville Dr. SW

- Tuesday, March 20, Zanesville: Zanesville High School, 1701 Blue Ave.

- Wednesday, March 21, Defiance: Defiance High School, 1755 Palmer Dr.

- Monday, March 26, Toledo: Radisson Hotel at the University of Toledo, 3100 Glendale Ave.

- Tuesday, March 27, Independence: Cuyahoga County ESC, 6393 Oak Tree Blvd.

- Thursday, March 29, Dayton: Stivers High School, 1313 E. Fifth St.

- Tuesday, April 3, Jefferson: A-tech Ashtabula County Technical and Career Center, 1565 OH-167

- Thursday, April 5, Columbus: Columbus State Conference Center, 315 Cleveland Ave.

- Tuesday, April 17, Cincinnati: Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, 1740 Langdon Farm Rd.


The state is now taking applications through Monday, April 2 for organizations interested in becoming charter school sponsors, according to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). Those interested may contact ODE's Office of Community Schools at community.schools@education.ohio.gov, 614-466-7058 or toll free at 877-644-6338 at least three weeks before submitting a completed application for information on setting up an account. Applications and the scoring rubric are available at http://tinyurl.com/yat2c8k6.


Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) suffered another courtroom defeat Tuesday as the 10th District Court of Appeals rejected its claims that the State Board of Education violated sunshine laws while seeking to claw back money from the online charter school.


Legislation that would consolidate several education-related state agencies into the Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement (DLA) was praised by Kasich administration officials, a former State Board of Education (SBOE) president, and a variety of other witnesses on Tuesday. During the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee's second hearing on HB512 (Reineke), lawmakers heard a general theme that the state's current system of governance is not efficient and requires an organizational revamp to better prepare students for work and life.


While the administration and GOP lawmakers push a proposal to consolidate state education agencies, Superintendent Paolo DeMaria told the governor in a letter this week he can more quickly move toward his goal of greater workforce alignment by adding DeMaria to the panel that advises him on such issues. DeMaria notes that Higher Education Chancellor John Carey, Job and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey, and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Director Kevin Miller all hold seats on the Governor's Executive Workforce Board (GEWB).


ELECTIONS

Substitute legislation to provide $114.5 million for new voting machines will provide much-needed replacements for aging equipment and better safeguard elections during a time of national concern, Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Copley) told reporters Thursday. Later Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee accepted the substitute bill for SB135 incorporating LaRose's proposals.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

In other legislative action, the House Education and Career Readiness Committee reported out HB318 (Patterson-LaTourette) which spells out qualifications and responsibilities of school resource officers. The Senate Education Committee reported out SB82 (Williams-Lehner) which deals with schools' parental notification of absent children.