Week in Review - 10/19/2018

Week in Review - 10/19/2018

EDUCATION

A new review of the effect of property tax abatement programs on the amount of revenue flowing to Ohio's schools shows that 180 of Ohio's roughly 600 school districts missed out on $125.6 million in revenue in FY17. The report, produced by Policy Matters Ohio(PMO) in conjunction with data collected by Good Jobs First, shows that, while the amount schools forgo in these taxes is relatively small compared to all state K-12 funding, it represents a still significant amount of revenue that could otherwise address specific needs.

 

The State Board of Education Tuesday voted to send a proposed FY19-20 budget for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to the Office of Budget and Management (OBM), despite the objections of some members. This followed a Monday briefing by State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria on the proposed FY20-21 spending plan. Much of the discussion focused on how board members and ODE leadership can make their cases for additional spending beyond OBM's guidelines -- the office asked for separate submissions reflecting 90 percent and 100 percent of FY19 spending -- as well as some concern about a multi-million dollar funding shift to backfill ODE accountability operations that were paid for with one-time money in the current biennium.


 

The State Board of Education's Educators and Student Options Committee told Ohio Department of Education (ODE) officials Monday that any applicants to sponsor or operate new online charter schools should be required to specify whether or not they have had any prior issues concerning falsification of student full-time equivalency (FTE) credits. ODE Superintendent Paolo DeMaria said the department would do "due diligence" on crafting application language pertaining to this concern before the committee's November meeting.


 

The State Board of Education moved closer Tuesday to final approval of recommendations for big changes to the high school graduation system and also discussed how it can sell lawmakers not only on the reforms but also on a multi-year transition period. The board's Achievement and Graduation Requirements Committee voted unanimously to approve the proposal, which was developed by an advisory group of local officials convened by Superintendent Paolo DeMaria.


 

There are concerning trends about the readiness of high school graduates in areas like math and English according to the ACT test results for the class of 2018 released Wednesday. The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2018 Annual Report highlights the fact that college readiness in math has declined to its lowest level in 14 years. According to the results, just 40 percent of 2018 ACT-tested high school graduates met the math readiness benchmark, down from a high of 46 percent in 2012.


 

ELECTIONS 2018

Secretary of State Jon Husted's office said Tuesday that more Ohio voters have requested absentee ballots than at this point in the last statewide election in 2014. Husted encouraged voters to cast their ballots early, dropping off his absentee ballot at the Franklin County Board of Elections Tuesday afternoon before speaking to reporters. According to Husted's office, an estimated 910,982 absentee ballots had been requested as of Friday, Oct. 12, and 42,470 had been cast statewide. The number includes more than 7,900 ballot requests from military and overseas voters, whose absentee ballots began getting mailed Saturday, Sept. 22. Nearly 1,200 military and overseas voter ballots have been cast.


 

ENERGY

The 13-state regional transmission organization (RTO) overseeing Ohio's wholesale electric market is preparing to issue new recommendations for a power grid increasingly dominated by natural gas generators -- the target of Trump administration calls for federally mandated subsidies to aging nuclear- and coal-fired plants. PJMInterconnection President/CEO Andrew Ott told a Senate committee his agency will address grid resilience in ways the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC) has not, despite FERC's having taken initial steps to address the issue last January.