Week in Review - 11/15/2019

Week in Review - 11/15/2019

EDUCATION

Receptive sentiments from legislative leadership and the many failings of the current system give hope for a new, functioning school formula in the next biennium, economist and education finance expert Howard Fleeter said at the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Capital Conference in Columbus. Failure to take advantage of those circumstances, however, invites a DeRolph-style lawsuit, he cautioned.


Gov. Mike DeWine's education policies were largely praised by members of an Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) Black Caucus panel, with State Board of Education Vice President Charlotte McGuire saying the plan is student-focused. "DeWine's plan gave an infusion of dollars to local districts … recognizing that intact families are needed. The schools can't be all things to all children. We need some wraparound services, we need trauma-informed learning, but we need to be deregulated and free to connect with that child and tap into their potential," McGuire said.


The House Finance Committee considered HB305 (Cupp-Patterson) Wednesday, the new school funding proposal that is receiving a hearing on each component. The latest hearing was on how funds would be distributed, with Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Michael Hanlon and Trimble Local Schools CFO Jared Bunting offering proponent testimony. Hanlon said there needs to be a "sensitive and accurate balance" between the state and local districts so that the local share is commensurate with that district's capacity to raise funds. Toward that end, supporters worked to find a methodology that is easy to understand, relies on both property and income wealth, can be applied the same to all districts and reflects the exclusive circumstances of individual districts.


Representatives of local school superintendents, teachers unions and education reform groups pitched their ideas and principles Wednesday for a new state report card system, with most urging abandonment of the A-F framework in favor of simpler performance categories or an informational dashboard. The Report Card Study Committee, established in the biennial budget bill, held its second meeting and heard testimony from the Buckeye Association of School Superintendents (BASA), Ohio Education Association (OEA), Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), Alliance for High Quality Education (AHQE), Ohio Excels, the Fordham Institute and the State Board of Education.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The House Wednesday approved HB164 (Ginter) which proponents said aims to clarify students' religious rights in public schools while opponents said the bill is unnecessary at best, and encouraging disruptive and unconstitutional behavior at worst. The vote was 61-31.


PENSIONS

The state's six public retirement plans are in good shape, RVK investment consultants told the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) on Thursday. "Our reviews continue to indicate that on the whole, the Ohio pension plans are being prudently invested, prudently managed and well within expected risk levels when we look across pension plans across the U.S.," RVK President Jim Voytko said, summarizing his firm's investment performance analysis of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) defined benefit plan, OPERS health care trust, State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F), School Employees Retirement System (SERS) and Highway Patrol Retirement System (HPRS). RVK analyzed the two quarters ending June 30, 2019.