Week in Review - 03/15/2019

Week in Review - 03/15/2019

EDUCATION

Local school leaders told the State  Board of Education on Monday they're concerned the lack of specificity in new rules on student transportation could substantially increase their obligations to send buses to private schools. The Ohio Department of Education's (ODE)lawyer suggested in response that the rules be withdrawn for further revisions. Changes to Ohio Administrative Code 3301-83-05 seek to codify in rule standard procedures that have been in place since the 1980s. The local officials said those procedures have worked well, but the revised rule omits specific direction found in the procedures for determining when a private school student is eligible for transportation provided by the home district.


A study committee evaluating funding for online schools wrapped up public testimony on the topic Monday and plans soon to start meetings to puzzle out recommendations. Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima),co-chairs of the Joint E-School Funding Committee, said they have several important questions to consider, including whether and how state policy should differentiate among general education e-schools, dropout prevention and recovery (DOPR) e-schools, and virtual learning offered by traditional district schools.


The State Board of Education voted Tuesday to send an updated version of its graduation proposal to lawmakers, after hearing requests from educators to slow implementation and do more to scale back testing, and from business interests to address the potential for inconsistency in schools' application of the proposal. The board voted 14-1 to send the updated graduation proposal to lawmakers, meeting an April 1 deadline to submit recommendations set last year in 132-HB491 (Edwards), the vehicle used to enact a short-term graduation fix for the classes of 2019 and 2020. The proposal echoes recommendations made by the board late last year, but adds details of how the Ohio Department of Education will support school districts in implementation and describes feedback from the business community.


Multiple witnesses from school districts across the state testified to the State Board of Education Tuesday, urging further changes to proposed rules regarding preschool children eligible for special education. The proposed rules, up for five-year review, would make a variety of changes, some of which may lead to increased costs for school districts and do a disservice to children with disabilities and their families, the local officials argued.


The Joint Educational Oversight Committee (JEOC) held its first meeting of the session at the Riffe Center Thursday, where Chairman Bob Cupp (R-Lima)invited members, old and new, to offer suggestions as to the direction of the body. Cupp said he'd like to conduct the committee in a "facts-first" manner, seeking data to inform decisions. Vice Chair Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo)said one of the underlying issues facing districts is the efficacy of the state report card, which she said disadvantaged poorer districts.


ELECTIONS 2019

Secretary of State Frank LaRose Wednesday issued a new directive to enable voters who had their registrations cancelled under the supplemental process to be able to cast a ballot in the upcoming May 7 primary. The directive is the latest in a string issued by LaRose and his predecessor, former Secretary of State and now Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, as part of the Ohio A. Philip Randolph Institute et al. v. Husted case challenging the way Ohio removes inactive voters from the rolls.


 

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT 

The number of unemployed workers inOhio rose another 2,000 in January, matching the increase in December andticking the state's unemployment rate up from a revised 4.6 percent in Decemberto 4.7 percent. The state added 20,300 jobs over the month, according to areport by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Friday.