Week in Review - 11/16/2018

Week in Review - 11/16/2018

EDUCATION

Lawmakers are very likely to extend graduation flexibility to the high school classes of 2019 and 2020 during the lame duck session this year, Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) told local education officials Tuesday at the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA)Capital Conference in Columbus. Outside the meeting room, Lehner told Hannah News her conversations with leadership and colleagues revealed widespread agreement on the need to act, but she said a two-year extension is likely as much as schools will get and not the three-year transition period called for in the state board's proposal.


School funding expert Howard Fleeter highlighted key issues for the upcoming deliberations on the FY20-21 budget, analyzed possible causes of a recent decline in school levies, and talked about his participation in bipartisan discussions on developing a new school funding formula during a session Tuesday at the OSBA Capital Conference. Fleeter said he hasn't heard as much talk from Gov.-elect Mike DeWine on income tax reductions as from outgoing Gov. John Kasich, who focused on such cuts consistently since launching his campaign for the 2010 gubernatorial race. Meanwhile, the next legislature and incoming administration will face high demand for additional spending in K-12 and early education, children's services, and other public policy areas.


Representatives of local boards of education across the state voted at their conference this week to support legislation expanding mental health and addiction services and school safety resources. The OSBA General Assembly adopted a new plank in its platform on that topic, urging additional access to school safety infrastructure, school resource officers, training for school staff to improve coordination with safety forces, and funding to support those activities.


In a final meeting to review its draft recommendations, the Career-Technical Planning District Report Card Workgroup decided to present multiple options on measurement of career-tech students' academic achievement, based on differing opinions of how to shift those measurements. Chris Woolard, top accountability official at the Ohio Department of Education, said he hopes to see action on the recommendations in the near future by the State Board of Education's Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee and the full board itself, as some changes are targeted toward the current year report card, creating a time crunch for implementation.


State Board of Education members on Thursday officially recommended the proposal of a graduation workgroup that spent months devising new diploma requirements focused less on standardized testing. Meanwhile, Ohio Department of Education (ODE) staff told board members that lawmakers are finally ready to act on their request to extend temporary graduation flexibility to two upcoming classes. The board also accelerated its consideration of report card reforms, asking President Tess Elshoff to grant emergency consideration of the matter so members could vote on a formal position in hopes of prompting legislative action in the lame duck session. Both the graduation and report card proposals require statutory changes from the General Assembly.


Convening for the first time on the day that their report was originally due to be released, the Joint Committee on E-School Funding gathered at the Statehouse Thursday to hear testimony from the Legislative Service Commission(LSC), Ohio Department of Education (ODE), and Ohio Auditor of State's Office on the complex history and function behind online school funding in Ohio.


Performance by charter school sponsors on state ratings slipped slightlythis year, and the annual report showed a continued thinning of the herd among sponsors. The number of sponsors rated in 2017-2018 as effective -- the secondhighest of four ratings tiers -- went to 21 organizations, the same as for the2016-2017 ratings. But no sponsor was rated exemplary.


GENERALASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

Both legislative chambers votedWednesday to override Gov. John Kasich's veto of SB221 (Uecker), which givesthe Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) further oversight power overadministrative policymaking. The Senate debated the issue for nearly a halfhour before voting 24-8 to override the veto, while the House quickly voted69-22 without any discussion.