Week in Review - 03/30/2018

Week in Review - 03/30/2018

CENSUS

U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday show Ohio has grown by 1.1 percent overall between April 2010 and July 1, 2017, with county data showing substantive growth in Central and Southwest Ohio and steep declines in parts of northern Ohio.


EDUCATION

A recent national study that ranked Ohio highly for the share of school funding directed toward high-poverty districts is flawed because it does not reflect Ohio's use of districts as pass-throughs for charter school funding, according to the Ohio Education Policy Institute (OEPI). OEPI's Howard Fleeter was commissioned to analyze the "Funding Gaps 2018" study from Education Trust by the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), and Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA).


Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said Monday he's resistant to the State Board of Education's call to extend graduation flexibility to the classes of 2019 and 2020, saying special rules created for the class of 2018 were supposed to be a temporary solution.


Lawmakers will make changes to graduation requirements before breaking for summer but are unlikely to simply adopt the State Board of Education's recent recommendations, House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) said Tuesday. "One way or the other the question will be answered," Brenner said.


Ahead of an inaugural meeting Wednesday, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released details of a federal school safety commission the president named her to lead, saying other cabinet-level officials with jurisdiction on school safety matters would comprise the panel's membership. DeVos will be joined on the commission by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen.


Ohio education leaders are drawing attention to new options for earning a high school equivalency credential, with two additional tests joining the GED this school year in getting state recognition. According to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), nearly 11 percent of Ohioans over the age of 18 do not have a high school diploma or equivalent. Just before the start of the 2017-2018 school year, ODE approved HiSET and TASC as two additional equivalence exams students can pursue beyond the GED, which remains an option.


The Ohio Manufacturers' Association (OMA) said Thursday its board discussed and has decided to endorse a legislative proposal backed by Gov. John Kasich and many House Republicans to merge the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation.


EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in February, down from 4.7 percent in January. Unemployed workers numbered 262,000 last month, 9,000 less than in January. Non-agricultural wage and salary employment increased 13,400, from a revised 5,553,000 in January to 5,556,400 in February. The U.S. unemployment rate for February was 4.1 percent, unchanged from January and down from 4.7 percent in February 2017.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Auditor Dave Yost released a report, "Path out of the Red: How to Escape and Avoid Fiscal Emergency," that detailed conditions that most commonly lead to fiscal emergencies and offered advice to local governments on how to stay solvent by highlighting real solutions employed by localities to remove themselves from the designation.