Week in Review - 06/08/2018

Week in Review - 06/08/2018

FY18-19 BUDGET

With a month remaining in FY18, the state's revenue remains above estimates for the year by 2.1 percent, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). In fact, revenues for May were 2.9 percent over estimates, bringing in a total of nearly $2.1 billion, nearly $58 million over estimate. For the year-to-date, revenues have totaled $20.2 billion and are nearly $418.7 million over estimates. Most of that additional revenue can be attributed to the personal income tax, which is $401.9 million over estimates for FY18.


EDUCATION

An education workgroup, assigned with focusing the state's efforts to recruit and retain professionals who work with students with disabilities, will release guidance materials later this summer. The Related Services Personnel Workgroup's Roles and Responsibilities Subgroup met at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Monday to develop materials that will help superintendents and other school administrators understand the training and responsibilities of "related services" support staff, such as speech and language pathologists and social workers.


Innovation Ohio said Wednesday it has compiled and posted online a district-by-district accounting of state funding transferred to the now defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT). School district leaders appeared with the think tank's education policy leader, former Rep. Steve Dyer, to argue the online charter school complicated not just their finances, but their students' lives. About $591 million was transferred from districts' state funding shares to ECOT from the 2012-2013 academic year through the middle of this school year, according to Innovation Ohio.


Student growth is possibly the most complex component to measure on Ohio's school report cards, but examining it remains vital to getting a complete picture of a school or district's academic success. The stakeholder workgroup looking at overhauling the report card now has the tricky responsibility of determining how it could be improved. The workgroup met Tuesday at the Ohio Department of Education to discuss the progress component of the report card.


EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

National unemployment fell to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May, with non-farm workers increasing by 223,000 across several industries including retail trade, health care, and construction, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Unemployment maintained the downward trend from April following a six-month plateau at 4.1 percent. The number of unemployed persons also continued to decline, falling to 6.1 million in May.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

It took 11 voting rounds and more than two hours, but the Ohio House eventually elected Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Gallipolis) to serve as speaker on Wednesday. Smith -- who was immediately sworn in on the floor by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Patrick Fischer -- won with a plurality of the vote over House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton), Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Rep. Jim Hughes (R-Columbus). In the final round, Smith received 44 votes, Strahorn received 27, Thompson got 13 and Hughes got seven. The speaker's office had been vacant since April 12 following Cliff Rosenberger's (R-Clarksville) resignation amid an FBI inquiry.


The state would put new money and policies behind efforts to secure schools [HB318 (Patterson)] and curtail toxic algae in Lake Erie [SB299 (Gardner)] under legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday.


The Ohio House squeezed more than two dozen votes into a three-hour session Thursday as it started to clear a backlog of bills that had piled up while majority Republicans fought over the speakership vacancy. Rep. Ryan Smith's (R-Bidwell) ascendance to the speaker's office Wednesday paved the way for Thursday's heavy calendar, where the chamber passed 17 bills and agreed to Senate changes on 11 more. Bills passed during the session included payday lending reforms in HB123 (Koehler-Ashford); SB135 (LaRose), to provide funding for new voting machines; and HB491 (Edwards), regarding substitute licenses for certain pupil services personnel, which passed unanimously.. The chamber also concurred with Senate amendments to HB8 (Hambley-Rezabek), exempting from public records certain information about minors involved in school vehicle crashes, for which the concurrence vote was unanimous; HB21 (Hambley), moving enrollment verification duties to charter schools, for which the concurrence vote was unanimous; and HB438 (Hambley-Kick), regarding educational service center governance, for which the concurrence vote was 70-14.