Week in Review > Week in Review 04-30-2021Posted by Kevin Miller on April 30th, 2021
While Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) commended the House for including its school funding plan in the budget, the Senate Finance Committee chair said he’s worried about the cost of the plan and other education-related issues. “It’s expensive. So the first question that I’m going to look at is, where did you get the money from for the additional costs that Cupp-Patterson’s going to require?” Dolan said during the Impact Ohio Akron-Canton Regional Virtual Conference budget panel discussion on Friday.
Members of both Democratic and Republican Senate leadership supported efforts to increase the state’s emphasis on providing public child care and preschool options during a virtual meeting with early childhood advocacy group Groundwork Ohio Friday. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), Senate President Pro Tempore Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) and Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) all characterized public child care and preschool as budget priorities, with the lawmakers saying that early childhood issues are important to families and businesses.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced during his Tuesday briefing fully vaccinated Ohioans will no longer need to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19. DeWine said the policy change should be particularly helpful for high school students involved in extracurricular activities like sports. Currently, those 16 and 17 years old can get vaccinated, and DeWine said about 21 percent, over one in five, of that group have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Further, he said thinks it “won’t be too long” until those 12 years of age and older will be eligible for the vaccine.
The school superintendents and treasurers who helped to write the Cupp-Patterson funding plan started walking senators through its various components Tuesday as part of a series of budget hearings, as they’d done repeatedly in the House the past two years. Tuesday’s hearing on HB110 (Oelslager) in the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee featured several witnesses discussing the funding plan’s base cost calculation; distribution formula; funding of choice programs; and funding of career-tech education and educational service centers. For the second time, presiding at the hearing was Sen. Louis Blessing (R-Cincinnati), vice chair of the committee, who posed several questions about sustainability of growth under the plan and comparison to the prior formula.
Then on Wednesday, a school finance expert told senators the State Appropriations Limitation (SAL) was a factor in the House’s decision to slow the phase in of extra funding for economically disadvantaged students in its version of the budget.
The State Board of Education’s Legislative Committee, also on Wednesday, began discussions on whether to endorse the Cupp-Patterson plan or otherwise weigh in on legislative school funding deliberations. Ohio Department of Education budget chief Aaron Rausch and Legislative Director Marjorie Yano presented an overview of the plan to committee members, as well as a list of school funding principles the full board had previously endorsed as part of a budget request several cycles ago in 2012 — an approach Chair Steve Dackin said might be a way to weigh in now.
In addition, Wednesday also saw a new coalition launched to help champion the plan, also know as the Fair School Funding Plan.
Attorneys Curt Harman and Christopher Finney recently sued the State Board of Education (SBOE) on behalf of Hamilton County resident Daniel Regenold over President Laura Kohler’s decision to limit public comment on topics such as “The 1619 Project” of the New York Times and critical race theory at board meetings for the past several months after the board had heard several months of commenters, prompting Kohler to announce she would not entertain further speakers on the topics. “I no longer believe that these discussions are productive,” she said. The suit alleges this violates Regenold’s First Amendment rights who had sought to speak at the April board meeting on critical race theory.
Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Executive Director Doug Ute and his staff are recommending that the organization begin charging membership dues for the first time in OHSAA’s 114-year history. The proposal calls for each high school to contribute $50 per OHSAA-sanctioned sport beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, OHSAA said. The OHSAA Board of Directors is scheduled to hold a special meeting on Monday, May 3 at 8 a.m. to vote on the proposal.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recently released a new public service announcement (PSA) produced in collaboration with nonprofit TEACH called “The Future Depends on Teachers,” which celebrates the role teachers play in shaping the future and invites people to explore teaching. The PSA is released prior to Teacher Appreciation Week, which is Monday, May 3 through Friday, May 7, and National Teacher Appreciation Day on Tuesday, May 4.
The House Primary and Secondary Education Committee held its first hearing Wednesday on a bill which would prohibit transgender girls and women from competing in female interscholastic sports. Sponsors of HB61 are Reps. Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Minerva) and Jena Powell (R-Arcanum). Powell claimed female athletes across the country are losing championships, scholarship opportunities, and medals, due to “discriminatory policies that allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports” while Stoltzfus characterized it as an issue of “fairness” and a violation of Title IX.
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