Week in Review > Week in Review 02-12-21Posted by Kevin Miller on February 12th, 2021
The state’s revenues continue to exceed estimates with January’s coming in $81.3 million or 3.6 percent over estimates, the Office of Budget of Management (OBM) announced Monday in releasing the preliminary January figures. Compared to a year ago, revenues for FY21 are running $1,055.5 million or 7.6 percent ahead. A total of nearly $15,027.8 million has been collected through January 2021 compared to nearly $13,972.3 million collected through January 2020.
The House Finance Committee Thursday posted a draft of the FY22-23 operating budget bill which Chairman Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) has filed with the House Clerk’s Office for formal introduction on Tuesday, Feb. 16 when it will receive an official number. That document can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/2kn5oojg .
Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria said the state’s education system was “tremendously disrupted” by the COVID-19 pandemic, but teachers rose to the occasion in meeting the needs of students learning remotely, in hybrid models and in in-person settings.
In outlining the ODE budget, he said the department “annually expends nearly $24 billion” for a system “which consists of 609 public school districts, 49 joint vocational school districts, 51 educational service centers (ESCs) and 315 community schools. Ohio’s public schools enroll approximately 1.7 million students served by more than 111,000 licensed teachers and 329,000 credentialed education personnel, including teachers, principals, administrators, aides, counselors, coaches and other staff.” DeMaria said 98 percent of these funds flow to schools, while 2 percent support ODE operations.
The House State and Local Government Committee heard sponsor testimony on HB90 (Wiggam-Edwards), which would check “all orders of administrative agencies, boards and commissions affecting public health emergencies.” “As we’ve witnessed for nearly a year, these orders have been constantly extended with no oversight or insight from the Legislature, giving the executive branch the ability to serve as the Legislature,” joint sponsor Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) told the House State and Local Government Committee, which he chairs. “This legislation gives the General Assembly a much-needed seat at the table” with its own “experts.”
Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said Wednesday that he expects SB22 (Johnson-McColley) to pass his chamber overwhelmingly later this month as opponents raised concern about the bill in committee earlier in the day. The bill would create a new oversight committee on health orders issued by the executive branch and allow lawmakers to repeal certain orders. Sponsors and supporters said the bill is about the separation of powers and will give legislators more checks on the executive branch.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) will take nominations for the 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year awards through Friday, April 9. Full details of the nomination process are available at https://tinyurl.com/te1zgvaq.
The State Board of Education heard an overview Monday of the findings by Auditor Keith Faber and his Ohio Performance Team in the recently released performance audit of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). Lawmakers ordered a performance audit of ODE in the last biennial budget bill, 133-HB166 (Oelslager). Faber and Betsy Bashore of the Ohio Performance Team walked the board through the five general areas reviewed in the audit: student success; student assessments; Education Management Information System (EMIS) and data management; state foundation payment process; and information technology.
Gov. Mike DeWine reaffirmed his commitment to getting students back to in-person learning next month during his Tuesday briefing. The governor said his executive budget, announced last week, would expand the investment in student wellness and success programs to $1.1 billion. DeWine also asked that school districts design plans to meet the needs of the students in their districts that include ending the school year later than scheduled, beginning the new year early, or even extending the school day.
Co-sponsors Reps. Jamie Callender (R-Concord) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) presented HB1 to the House Finance Committee Thursday, a bill they said is identical to 133-HB305, the much-discussed Cupp-Patterson school funding overhaul. In providing a context for HB1, Callender outlined a history of school funding in the state, invoking the DeRolph Ohio Supreme Court opinions, which ruled the state’s school funding system “unconstitutional and inadequate.” Sweeney said the genesis of 133-HB305 came from concerns with the state’s current school funding formula raised by now-Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and former Rep. John Patterson (D-Jefferson), as well as by the “Fair School Funding Workgroup” of school treasurers and leaders.
Coshocton County officials this week sent a letter with 25 signatures asking Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) to remove Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) from the chamber, saying the indicted former speaker has not been an effective voice for them as he faces federal charges. Meanwhile, a former opponent said Thursday he will be running for the seat in 2022. The letter, which was signed by all three county commissioners, Prosecutor Jason Given, Coshocton Mayor Mark Mills, and a number of city council members, among others, said that “it is clear that Rep. Householder cannot effectively serve the interests of Coshocton County while the criminal charges are ongoing.”
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