Week in Review - 09/20/2019

Week in Review - 09/20/2019

FY20-21 BUDGET

Ohio's latest round of bonds issued for school building construction got the lowest financing interest rate on record, the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) said Friday. Ohio received a 20-year financing rate of 2.35 percent on the $300 million in bonds issued earlier in the week, OBM said. For comparison, OBM said an interest rate 1 percent higher would have meant $41.5 million in additional borrowing costs over the life of the loan.


EDUCATION

End-of-course exams (EOCs) are a useful tool that allows states to precisely check how much students have learned in a given high school course, according to a new report from the Fordham Institute. "EOCs, properly deployed, have positive (albeit modest) academic benefits and do so without causing kids to drop out or graduation rates to falter," Chester E. Finn and Amber M. Northern write in the report's foreword.


Superintendent Paolo DeMaria gave State Board of Education members an overview Monday of trends seen in the latest release of state report cards, fielding questions of how changes in the underlying calculations from year to year affect results. DeMaria said the results presented reasons to celebrate as well as areas for improvement, noting for example the overall increase in the statewide performance index and higher statewide proficiency rates in math and English, but lower proficiency rates in science and an increase in the rate of chronic absenteeism.


The Ohio Supreme Court is accepting applications for transportation grants to help schools offset costs to visit the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center. The Supreme Court's Civic Education Section will accept applications online at https://tinyurl.com/yyydx47b from teachers or administrators through Friday, Sept. 27. The grants will be applied for those who visit through June 2020. All Ohio schools that receive state funds are eligible to apply for a grant, which will be awarded to schools with the highest percentage of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program as reported by the Ohio Department of Education.


The Senate Education Committee adopted several more changes Tuesday to academic distress commission reform legislation, HB154 (J. Miller-D. Jones), but backed off plans for a vote this week amid continued opposition from local school leaders to a measure that maintains the ultimate sanction of state control.


Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said again Thursday he's not sure when the chamber will vote on HB154 (Jones-J. Miller), legislation to change the state oversight system for school districts with presently low grades. Asked where he thought Gov. Mike DeWine is on the issue -- Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) said earlier this week that DeWine is unlikely to sign something that doesn't include an ultimate consequence for failing schools -- Obhof said he'd let the administration speak for itself but would guess DeWine's position is closer to the Senate's proposals than the House's.