Week in Review - 07/26/2019

Week in Review - 07/26/2019

FY20-21 BUDGET

Education funding and policy changes are again a major component of the new state budget, even as the DeWine administration and lawmakers declined this cycle to revise the core formula, though some had tried as part of the Cupp-Patterson workgroup. The biggest new infusion of state funding for schools in the upcoming biennium will come from a new Student Wellness and Success Fund for wraparound services, supported with $675 million over the biennium as the House preferred, higher than the $550 million proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine and the Senate.


The budget signed by Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday, July 18 includes many of the broad proposals included in his initial executive budget aimed at supporting disadvantaged students seeking higher education and supporting students seeking industry credentials, but also features significant tweaks that were added by the House and Senate. DeWine achieved many of his higher education priorities in the budget, including expanded Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) funding of over $50 million over the biennium, a mandatory tuition guarantee program for public universities, and expansion of the Choose Ohio First scholarship to $12 million per year for students seeking STEMM degrees.


Lawmakers gave more homework assignments to themselves, state agencies, and other groups for issues needing further study in the new biennium. Some studies included in HB166 (Oelslager) are continuations of earlier efforts. Among them are studies of e-school funding, student poverty measures, the future of public health, and Northwest Ohio's groundwater.


The State Board of Education workgroup on dropout recovery and prevention (DRP) schools discussed implications of the recently passed state budget, HB166 (Oelslager), at its Monday meeting, with Chairman John Hagan saying the group will be required to reorganize and add new members appointed by the Legislature and the governor. In addition, the budget enumerates "specific members of the education community" to serve on the committee. Hagan told members he hoped to maintain all of their positions on the new committee, and he later told Hannah News he has asked for a legal opinion on whether or not existing members would fulfill statutory requirements.


Gov. Mike DeWine didn't include much tax policy in his executive budget proposal, but lawmakers spent substantial time debating it this spring. Aside from across-the-board income tax cuts and the battle over the state's small business income tax deduction, budget deliberations also included numerous changes to the state's assortment of tax expenditures -- laws whereby the state foregoes taxing otherwise taxable activities or items to achieve some policy end. The House drove a number of the changes, using its version of the budget to propose axing several expenditures, only some of which survived in the final reckoning.


CENSUS

The U.S. Census Bureau wants teachers to become "Statistics in Schools" ambassadors to promote the bureau's program to use census statistics in learning and teaching. The Statistics in Schools initiative offers more than 200 activities for pre-K-12 across disciplines. Interested teachers can apply by emailing CLMSO.SISambassador@census.gov.The application process closes Saturday, Aug. 31.


EDUCATION

After two and a half hours in executive session Monday afternoon, the State Board of Education's Executive Committee deferred action on Superintendent Paolo DeMaria's annual evaluation and pay recommendation and set two additional summer meetings to finish the work. Board President Laura Kohler said delay reflected members' desire to be "very thorough" and "deliberate." She said the committee had general discussion about the superintendent's strengths and weaknesses and a preliminary discussion about goal-setting for the upcoming year.


Ohio meets requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act(IDEA), the federal government said this month in its annual assessment oflegal compliance and student data. The annual determination from the U.S.Department of Education (USDOE) is the second in a row to show Ohio meetingrequirements. States can be placed in four categories in the determination:meets requirements; needs assistance; needs intervention; or needs substantial intervention.