Week in Review - 10/26/2018

Week in Review - 10/26/2018

EDUCATION

The Ohio 8 Coalition, representingteachers and administrators in the state's largest urban school districts, isurging extension of graduation flexibility for an additional three years,mirroring a recommendation approved by a State Board of Education committeethis week. Also this week, the Board of Governors for the Columbus EducationAssociation voted unanimously to adopt a resolution calling for extensionthrough 2021.


Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) recently introduced HB738 to require the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) and the Department of Education(ODE) to study the status of school buildings regarding air conditioning, accessibility, school safety, "and any other amenity that the commissionand the department determine should be available in all school buildings."The bill also requires that once the study is completed, that 25 percent of future school construction money be dedicated to air conditioning, disability accessibility, safety, "and any other amenity ..."


A new advisory panel gathered for the first time Tuesday to discuss its assignment to recommend improvements to Ohio's education database, which gathers information for uses including state report cards, school finance,truancy, and many others. The Education Management Information System (EMIS) Advisory Council is made up of Ohio Department of Education (ODE) staff and representatives of school districts and other entities that regularly interact with the database. It replaces the EMIS Advisory Board, which was convened by lawmakers and included State Board of Education members as well as representatives of various education groups.


The Ohio Supreme Court said Wednesday it will consider whether the new, more powerful nature of academic distress commissions violates constitutional protections for local control, and whether lawmakers took improper shortcuts in empowering the commissions. Justices announced they'll accept Youngstown City School District Board of Education v. State of Ohio and review the decisions of the 10th District Court of Appeals and Franklin County Common Pleas Court, which both ruled against Youngstown school officials in their bid to upend the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission.


In its final meeting Wednesday evening, the State Board of Education (SBOE)Report Card Workgroup recommended eliminating the school district report card"A through F" rating scale and replacing it with an online dashboardcompliant with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Therecommendation will be heard before the SBOE Accountability and Continuous ImprovementCommittee at a Nov. 15 meeting.


ELECTIONS 2018

Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that as of Friday, Oct. 19, an estimated 1,053,697 absentee ballots had been requested and 332,663 cast statewide. This includes more than 8,620 ballot requests from military and overseas voters, whose absentee ballots started going out on Saturday, Sept. 22, of which nearly 2,160 have been cast. Ballots for all other voters started going out on Oct. 10 and more than 330,000 have been cast by mail and in person.


 

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

Ohio nonfarm employment reached a record high of 5,638,900, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported Friday, with spokesman Bret Crowsaying the record is "a positive indicator that Ohio's economy is continuing its strong trajectory upward." The latest jobs report also showed that Ohio added jobs at a higher rate than the U.S. both from September2017 to September 2018 and through 2018 so far, while also seeing average weekly earnings grow since 2011 at a higher rate than the nation. The unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent, the same as August and July, and the record high in jobs was achieved through the addition of 4,300 jobs over August's revised total of 5,634,600.


 

STATE GOVERNMENT

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) received its "2018 Executive Director's Report" Thursday, which provided a broad overview of its activities over the past year, highlighting the increase in projects being completed on-time and on-budget. Commission staff member Jeff Westhoven informed the body that 88.9 percent of projects were on or under budgets, 77.8 percent of projects were on or ahead of schedule, and 100 percent of agency facilities have been condition assessed within the past fiscal year, among other positive indicators.