Week in Review - 12/14/2018

Week in Review - 12/14/2018

FY18-19 BUDGET

According to preliminary figures released by the Office of Budget and Management (OBM),Ohio's revenue continues to come in over estimates. November's tax revenues were 3.3 percent over estimates or nearly $66.3 million over, which brought the month's total tax receipts to over $2 billion. For the year, the state is running 1.8 percent over estimates or $166.9 million. Total receipts so far this fiscal year -- which began July 1, 2018 -- are $9.5 billion. This total is a half-billion more than this time last year when the state had brought in just over $9.0 billion.


 

EDUCATION

A hearing scheduled for Monday on East Cleveland Schools' request to halt a state takeover was delayed at the parties' request. Both East Cleveland and the state agreed on the need to cancel the hearing, but not on the reasons for doing so.


At least 10 percent of the class of 2018 high school graduates used the flexibility lawmakers granted in earning a diploma, and the state's overall graduation rate went up about 1 percent compared to 2017, according to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). Chris Woolard, lead accountability official for the department, said Ohio's 2018 graduation rate reached 85.3 percent, compared to 84.1 percent the previous year.


The State Board of Education Tuesday asked Attorney General and Gov.-elect Mike DeWine's office for legal advice on who should be able to participate in the board's leadership election in January. The board also voted to name member Stephanie Dodd as temporary chair to preside over that election. Board President Tess Elshoff and Vice President Nancy Hollister are not returning as board members, as Elshoff faces term limits and Hollister declined to run for re-election, clearing the way for new leadership and creating the need for a temporary chair to preside in January.


Gov.-elect Mike DeWine said Wednesday his staff has been in discussions with Gov. John Kasich's office about the upcoming appointment of four State Board of Education members whose terms would start in Kasich's last days in office but stretch through DeWine's four-year term as governor. Kasich does intend to make appointments to the board before leaving office, according to an email from his spokesman, Jon Keeling.


 

EMPLOYMENT/UNEMPLOYMENT

The federal unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in the month of November as the nation added 155,000 jobs, according to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. The number of unemployed persons was little changed at 6.0 million, BLS said.


 

GAMING/GAMBLING

Revenues for casinos and video lottery terminals (VLTs) were up in October and November of 2018 over those months in 2017, according to figures released by the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and the Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC). Ohio's four casinos pulled in $67.7 million in November 2018 and $66.6 million in October 2018, compared to $66.4 million in November 2017 and $66.5 million in October 2017.


 

GENERALASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The Joint Education OversightCommittee (JEOC) heard testimony Tuesday on the Ohio Department of Education's (ODE) recommendations of definitions related to online learning which Superintendent Paolo DeMaria delivered to the General Assembly and JEOC last month. Chairwoman Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) said the purpose of  the meeting was to satisfy provisions of SB216 (Huffman).


 

Bills that cleared both houses of the General Assembly this week and are on their way to the governor include the following:

- HB58 (Brenner-Slaby), requiring the Ohio Department of Education to include cursive handwriting instructional materials in the state's model curriculum.

- HB502 (Anielski), regarding educator training for suicide prevention.


Business and industry leaders in the state expressed concern Wednesday about the open question of who will serve as the Ohio House speaker in the 133rd General Assembly. In a letter addressed to Rep. Jim Butler (R-Dayton), various Ohio business and manufacturing organizations said that the uncertainty about who will lead the House next year is preventing the body from aligning its goals with those of Gov.-elect Mike DeWine. Butler, as House Republican Caucus dean, is responsible for scheduling the vote for speaker. Butler declined to comment on the letter Thursday. He said in November that he had not yet decided on setting a speaker vote as the two lead contenders attempt to garner support.


GOVERNOR

For the second time in a week, Gov. John Kasich Tuesday called the failure of public education to embrace workforce development Ohio's biggest obstacle to future growth as he prepares to turn over the executive office to Gov.-elect Mike DeWine. Kasich led the final meeting of his Governor's Executive Workforce Board at Cristo Rey Columbus High School, which has adopted the sort of cooperative education model advanced by Kasich. In an informal address to school administrators, faculty and students, he took stock of eight years of policy initiatives in calling workforce development "the biggest problem in the state."