AUDITOR OF STATE
An overhaul of high school-college dual enrollment programs several years ago has paid off by getting students more college credits at lower cost, but the College Credit Plus (CCP) program could provide even more help with better outreach and more effort to teach the classes on high school campuses, Auditor Keith Faber’s office said in a performance audit of the program released Tuesday. Faber’s office also launched a new dashboard showcasing information on each district’s use of the program, higher education institutions’ offerings and the participation of home school and private school students, among other data visualizations. Audit documents and the dashboard are at https://ohioauditor.gov/performance/college-credit-plus.html.
The Ohio Department of Education opened applications Friday, Aug. 12 for organizations providing high-quality tutoring, as part of an effort to address pandemic-era learning loss via education omnibus HB583 (Bird-Jones). The law, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine in June, included language from Sen. Andrew Brenner’s (R-Delaware) SB306, a proposal to create a tutoring and remedial education program. As part of the legislation, ODE is to compile and publicize by Saturday, Oct. 1 a list of high-quality tutoring programs provided by public and private organizations. Local districts will not be required to select tutors from this list, however, ODE notes. More details about applications and timelines are posted at https://tinyurl.com/2p9ya8ek.
Extended postpartum coverage for Ohioans on Medicaid, a policy enacted in the state budget pending federal approvals, got the official OK Tuesday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Under HB110 (Oelslager), lawmakers extended Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from 60 days to the maximum allowable by federal law and directed the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to seek federal approval toward that end. The federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided the option for states to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to a year as of April 1 of this year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and CMS announced Tuesday the approval of a Medicaid State Plan Amendment for Ohio to extend the coverage, retroactive to April 1. HHS said the change would affect up to 21,000 people per year in Ohio. ODM said its estimates show more than 9,100 women already fall under the extended coverage.
Trustees for the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) authorized performance bonuses for investment staff Thursday despite getting an earful from retirees and others who objected to handing out the payments after a multi-billion dollar market loss and a just-ended multi-year drought in inflationary benefit increases for retirees. While the system lost money in the recent down market, the board chair said investment staff decisions helped to prevent the losses from being worse. The board approved performance incentives of about $9.6 million; the payments are based on a mix of criteria including short- and medium-term investment performance
House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) indicated Wednesday that they will be appealing the Ohio Supreme Court’s latest ruling striking down a congressional redistricting map to the U.S. Supreme Court, putting Ohio among the states seeking a test of the “independent state legislature” theory that the U.S. Constitution only allows state legislatures to address federal elections. The Ohio Supreme Court invalidated the second set of congressional district boundaries last month in a 4-3 decision and ordered state lawmakers to produce a new map. Under the constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2018, the Court has jurisdiction over congressional redistricting challenges. If the Court invalidates a map, the General Assembly has 30 days to draw a new map. If it fails, the task falls to the Ohio Redistricting Commission. With the 30 days nearly up since the Court’s ruling, it seemed lawmakers might miss that deadline. But in a letter issued by Cupp Wednesday afternoon, the speaker said those who are pointing to a looming deadline have it all wrong.
Without issuing an opinion to go along with the decision, the Ohio Supreme Court Wednesday denied a motion filed by plaintiffs in three lawsuits challenging General Assembly redistricting maps that asked the Court to order the members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission to appear before the Court to explain why they did not meet the Court’s deadline to draw a new map. On May 25, the Ohio Supreme Court for the fifth time struck down maps drawn by the commission and ordered commissioners to produce a new map by June 3. Three days later, however, a three-judge federal panel ordered the state to hold a primary for General Assembly and state party central committee candidates on Aug. 2 using the third map that was adopted by the commission and struck down by the Court.
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