Week in Review > Week in Review 01-14-2022Posted by Buckeye Association of School Administrators on January 14th, 2022
A second effort to start the process on a proposed initiated statute that would bar vaccine mandates was rejected again Friday by Attorney General Dave Yost — this time because it didn’t get the required 1,000 valid signatures needed to be considered. The “Vaccine and Gene Therapy Choice and Anti-Discrimination Act,” a proposal to enact Section 3792.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, was first submitted to Yost’s office more than a month ago and would enact language similar to HB248 (Gross). It would “prohibit a person, public official or employee, public agency, state agency, political subdivision, school, child day care center, nursing home, residential care facility, health care provider, insurer, institution, or employer from requiring any vaccine or gene therapy.” It was rejected the first time because of three defects identified by Yost’s office.
Ohio collected nearly a quarter billion dollars more in tax revenue than expected in December, setting records for income tax withholding and non-auto sales tax collections, according to preliminary data from the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). “Overall, this is just another indicator that we’re going in the right direction,” OBM Director Kim Murnieks told Hannah News in a phone interview. Year-to-date collections are up $212.1 million or 3.4 percent over estimates.
The U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted a stay Thursday to prevent the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing a rule to require COVID-19 vaccination or regular testing for those working at businesses with 100 or more employees. But it allowed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to move forward with a rule requiring vaccination of workers at health care facilities. Attorney General Dave Yost, whose office argued the OSHA case recently before the Supreme Court on behalf of a multi-state coalition challenging the OSHA rules, cheered the decision.
With two-thirds of a 1.2 million unit shipment of home COVID tests delayed by strong demand, ODH said it will prioritize distribution to K-12 schools, colleges and universities when the supplies arrive. ODH said it has received and is distributing 400,000 proctored testing kits this month, but the remaining 800,000 it ordered for January have been delayed by the manufacturer amid high demand from the Omicron variant surge.
Five families with children in the EdChoice program have asked a Franklin County judge to make them parties to the new case in which Ohio school districts are challenging the constitutionality of the voucher program. “Applicants are the intended and direct beneficiaries of the programs and are therefore, in essence, the real parties in interest,” states a motion to intervene filed by attorneys with the Cleveland-based Robinson Law Firm and the Virginia-based Institute for Justice. The motion was filed Friday, just days after the districts formally launched their long-planned lawsuit.
The sole bidder for a contract to administer a $125 million program to provide families a stipend for afterschool activities declined to sign a contract, potentially putting the budget-funded project behind schedule. Sue Cosmo, director of the Office of Nonpublic Educational Options at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), said the vendor, ClassWallet, told the department during negotiations that some of the work envisioned for the program was outside its usual scope, and in late December decided not to accept a contract. Members of the State Board of Education’s (SBOE) Emerging Issues and Operational Standards Committee had previously expressed concerns over possible fraud in the program which would permit families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level to apply for $500 per child in each of FY22 and FY23 for the likes of before- and after-school programs, summer programs, museum admissions, music lessons or tutoring.
At least 70 percent of Ohio’s K-12 schools offered behavioral prevention programs during the 2019-2020 school year, according to ODE’s first prevention services survey. ODE Office of Integrated Student Supports Director Jennifer Vargo and ODE Office of Whole Child Supports Assistant Director Emily Eckert shared the results of the survey with the State Board of Education’s (SBOE) Integrated Student Supports Committee on Tuesday.
A new law enacted in the state budget that enables ODE to fine school districts for “consistent or prolonged” failure to provide busing to charter and private school students is unconstitutional and was implemented in an arbitrary fashion by the department, Groveport-Madison Schools allege in a lawsuit. In the lawsuit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court and assigned to Judge Michael Holbrook, Groveport Madison said ODE’s move to deduct nearly $700,000 from its state funding “will have a disastrous, and irreparable, impact” on the district’s ability to transport students.
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