Week in Review > Week in Review 01-29-21Posted by Kevin Miller on January 29th, 2021
Ten days before the DeWine administration is set to unveil its proposed budget for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 on Monday, Feb. 1, the governor revised the spending for the last six months of the current fiscal year, FY21, — moves that “set the table” for the next biennium by increasing the spending for two departments and that, as a result, affects the ending fund balance which is the starting place for the next budget. Friday’s moves revise the amount the state froze in spending early in the pandemic when the governor issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-19D which reduced expenditures for both FY20 and FY21 by $775 million each year “across General Revenue Fund appropriations ….” With this latest executive order, EO 2021-01D, the governor has authorized the release of $160 million to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and $100 million to the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). The order also finalizes current year budget reductions at $390 million across all agencies, less than the $775 million imposed last year. However, that does leave approximately $125 million in frozen expenditures which Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kim Murnieks told Hannah News is being held as the state plans “conservatively” so as “not to overspend this fiscal year.”
Regarding vaccines, the governor said Ohio has been averaging about 146,000 first doses coming into the state every week. As Ohio’s Phase 1A begins to wind down, more doses will be available for those in Phase 1B, DeWine said. The governor said Ohio is second in the nation for the number of people vaccinated in nursing homes. However, because not all residents and staff are choosing to receive the vaccine, Ohio will begin directing approximately 77,000 vaccines set aside to use in nursing homes to others in Phase 1A and 1B, DeWine said.
Gov. Mike DeWine offered additional details on the plan to vaccinate school personnel Thursday, building on remarks made during Tuesday’s briefing. Some schools in Cincinnati have already started, he said, while 500 public and private schools will begin vaccinating staff during the week of Feb. 1.
Auditor of State Keith Faber’s Office released the performance audit of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Tuesday. The report reviewed student assessments, student success, the foundation payment process, Education Management Information System (EMIS), and internal IT. One of the key findings made by the performance audit team is the correlation between student success and district spending per student. The audit focused on the 79 highest performing districts and found that their spending to achieve success varied greatly. The audit team concluded that expenditure per pupil does not always determine student achievement in Ohio.
Ohio School Choice Week kicked off Monday and runs through Saturday, Jan. 30. Ohio communities have plans to hold 1,609 festivities through the week, campaign organizers said. The events will happen online or be socially distanced, and “aim to spark conversations about how different educational opportunities meet families’ needs and help kids succeed.”
Education leaders in Ohio gathered for a virtual forum Thursday to discuss the toll of the pandemic on students and what to do about that toll moving forward. The “State of Our Students” event was hosted by the Ohio branch of the education-focused nonprofit Communities in Schools.
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