Week in Review - 10/18/2019

Week in Review - 10/18/2019

EDUCATION

The Senate will not pass a bill that would abolish controversial Academic Distress Commissions (ADCs) without an adequate system to replace them, Senate Education Committee Chair Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) told members of the State Board of Education Monday. Lehner weighed in on the status of HB154 (Miller-Jones) as it works its way through her committee. The House version of the bill would have dissolved ADCs in favor of a local-control approach. That plan was largely curtailed by changes made in the Senate committee in September.


The Ohio Department of Education said Tuesday the state won $43 million from two competitive federal grants meant to support student literacy programs. Most of the award came from the Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant, which will provide $42 million over five years to establish model literacy sites in preschools and elementary, middle and high schools. The Model Demonstration Projects for Early Identification of Students with Dyslexia Grant, which is providing $1.2 million, will support pilot programs in three model schools serving students in preschool through first grade.


The school funding plan being developed by Reps. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson) would cost an additional $267 million per year if phased in over six years, the lawmakers told members of the House Finance Committee on Wednesday. "Let me be perfectly clear. We must consider this as an 'investment in our future,'" Patterson said during sponsor testimony on HB305 (Cupp-Patterson). This first hearing on HB305 came more than three months after the representatives introduced the bill and explained updates to the funding proposal, which has been in the works for a couple years.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

While he said he still needed to take the temperature of his caucus, Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said Wednesday that he expects the chamber will concur with changes the House made to a bill that would give a tax break to teachers buying school supplies with their own money. However, the House turned SB26 (Kunze) into an omnibus tax bill, undoing a move that prevented lobbyists and lawyers from collecting a small business tax deduction, and adding a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products.


The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) announced Thursday changes to the bus grant process for schools from a "first come, first served" basis to accepting grant applications from Wednesday through Monday, Oct. 23-28 after which candidates will be selected by a random number generator. The new process is meant to distribute grants more fairly to schools and to give a better sense of how many schools are requesting transportation grants. A total of 25 grants will be awarded in three different mileage categories.