The DeWine administration isn't yet ordering cuts to GRF budgets for FY21, as it did for the current fiscal year, but wants agencies to keep a share of their budgeted spending in reserve in anticipation of further revenue shortfalls. In recent guidance, the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) told agencies to identify money that can go into a holding account for 20 percent of projected GRF spending on purchased personal services, supplies and maintenance, equipment and subsidies. Some line items, such as those for debt service and property tax reimbursements, are exempt. "Agencies will have the flexibility to determine which of their non-exempted line items should contribute a disproportionately smaller or larger share to achieve the holding target," the memo states.
Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday outlined a new, updated order that eases many of the restrictions in his previous "stay at home" orders and matches them to restrictions that have been outlined in recent guidance for reopening different parts of the state's economy that had been shut down to stop the spread of COVID-19. Saying the new order is more of an "urgent health advisory" and dubbing it "Ohioans Protecting Ohioans," DeWine said it reflects that his orders have evolved since the first one was issued in March, adding, "It is time for our orders to reflect the reality of where we are today." The new order replaces the previous stay-at-home order issued on April 30 that was set to expire at the end of May. He said current facts show that through social distancing, Ohioans have avoided overwhelming hospitals with COVID-19 cases and flattened the curve; that the average infection rate is currently around one person infecting one other person rather than the 1:2 it had been most recently; and that Ohioans working together have come up with best practices for businesses to reopen.
Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted Thursday announced new plans for resuming athletic skills training and allowing catering and banquet centers to reopen under similar protocols as restaurants. The administration previously announced that gyms and fitness centers would be able to reopen on Tuesday, May 26, and that no- and limited-contact sports would be able to resume that day as well. Husted said bowling alleys, miniature golf facilities and batting cages also could reopen on May 26.
The state of Ohio will soon face litigation challenging the constitutionality of the EdChoice voucher program, Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding Executive Director Bill Phillis told Hannah Newson Friday. "This egregious EdChoice law has just been kind of put on hold for a year, or less than a year now, and it needs to be stopped. This whole voucher concept is antithetical to the constitutional concept of the requirement of the state of Ohio to secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools," Phillis said in a phone interview discussing his group's forthcoming lawsuit.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) joined efforts to honor class of 2020 high school graduates including a commercial-free television special scheduled Saturday night. The "Graduate Together" telecast showed on more than 30 broadcast and cable networks and streaming services.
Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) asked his Senate colleagues Monday to help him identify local school and health officials for a task force that would study how to convene high school commencement ceremonies amid the pandemic.
Arming a school employee does not make that person "security personnel" subject to statutory police training requirements, Attorney General Dave Yost argued in urging the Ohio Supreme Court to take up and overturn an appellate ruling that stymied a move to have staff carry firearms in a district that suffered a shooting in recent years.
School management and union officials outlined their priorities and hopes Tuesday for how and when Ohio will bring students back into brick-and-mortar classrooms, testifying before the Senate Finance Committee on topics from scheduling to sanitation to staffing to health screenings to transportation to liability to accountability. Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), chairman of the committee, led off by saying he viewed the witnesses at Tuesday's hearing as the experts, and urged a focus on the immediate concerns of returning to in-person education, notwithstanding numerous other educational issues highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will soon open applications for the final round of federal grants to launch and expand charter schools. Even after preemptively declining $20-plus million of the $71 million grant award from 2015, the state appears poised to leave much of the money unspent when the grant period ends in the fall. So far, the program has distributed less than $4 million.
At the first virtual meeting of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Graduation Requirements Task Force on Monday, members discussed how to "reframe" high school in a post-coronavirus environment with the help of educational service centers (ESC).