Week in Review - 08/24/2018

Week in Review - 08/24/2018

EDUCATION

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) and the Capitol Square Foundation announced Thursday that 75 school transportation grants to the Statehouse will be awarded for the 2018/2019 academic year, and the online application process will open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5.


Attorney General Mike DeWine Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) founder William Lager, the shuttered online charter school's operator and management company, and others, claiming that the ECOT officers are "strictly and personally liable for disbursements made by the charter school without authority in Ohio law." In addition to Lager, the lawsuit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, names as defendants Altair Learning Management I Inc., which operated and managed ECOT; IQ Innovations LLC of Columbus; ECOT Superintendent Rick Teeters; ECOT Treasurer Michelle Smith; Christopher Meister, vice president of accounting for ECOT; Ann Barnes, Education Management Information System director for ECOT; and Regina Lukich, director of federal programs for ECOT.


As schools statewide face a shortage of student support staff members, such as school psychologists, school nurses and school occupational therapists, an Ohio Department of Education (ODE) workgroup prepared a list of recommendations to address those shortages. At Tuesday's meeting of the Related Service Personnel Workgroup at ODE, members voiced concerns about an inadequate "pipeline" from higher education into school support staff professions, as well as inadequate funding to hire those staff members and unrealistic work environment expectations that could lead to decreased retention of student support staff.


ELECTIONS

Nearly two-thirds of states are spending new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grants on new voting equipment and enhanced cybersecurity protections, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The commission released the narratives and budgets for 48 of the 55 states and U.S. territories following the appropriation of $380 million in new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grants that were appropriated last March. Ohio is receiving nearly $12.2 million in grants and is matching it with another $609,301. Secretary of State Jon Husted outlined Ohio's plans for the grants earlier in the summer, including improving cybersecurity preparedness among all 88 county boards of election.


ELECTIONS 2018

Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Betty Sutton Monday met with leaders from the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) and Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) at OSBA's office in Columbus, the groups said. During the meeting, the groups said Sutton outlined the Democratic ticket's priorities for public education. Leaders from the three organizations met with Republican Secretary of State and lieutenant governor nominee Jon Husted on Friday at which time he presented his party’s priorities for public education.


EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio's unemployment rate rose in July to 4.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent in June, even as the state added 7,600 jobs over the month, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). ODJFS said Ohio's nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased from a revised 5,608,500 in June to 5,616,100 in July 2018. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in July was 265,000, up 6,000 from 259,000 in June. The number of unemployed has decreased by 28,000 in the past 12 months from 293,000. The July unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.1 percent in July 2017.


HIGHER EDUCATION

Ohio was ranked unfavorably high in a recent report on student debt levels, according to personal finance site WalletHub. The Buckeye State was fifth-highest overall, and placed sixth in a subranking on "student-loan indebtedness" and 10th in "grant and student work opportunities." The top four highest states overall were South Dakota, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, while the five lowest were Washington, California, Wyoming, Hawaii and Utah.