Week in Review > Week in Review 05-14-2021

Posted by on May 14th, 2021

FY22-23 BUDGET

“SAL is not my gal.” That’s how former Rep. John Patterson expressed his sentiments recently on the latest hiccup for the Cupp-Patterson school funding plan — the State Appropriations Limitation (SAL). Earlier iterations of the plan prioritized full funding of increased aid for economically disadvantaged students, but the version included in the House-passed budget opted for a phase in, something funding plan advocates told the Senate was a result of the SAL. The SAL caps the rate of growth in General Revenue Fund (GRF) appropriations each fiscal year, with exceptions — notably the exclusion of federal Medicaid matching funds, which in other contexts are considered part of the GRF. The SAL cap is set at the greater of two figures: 3.5 percent, or the sum of inflation plus population growth. Given generally low inflation and Ohio’s slow growth in comparison to the nation, 3.5 percent has been the norm since the SAL was adopted in 2006 and first applied in the FY08-09 biennial budget, 127-HB119 (Dolan).

CORONAVIRUS

With a highly effective vaccine widely available and a new, younger age cohort eligible, Ohio will withdraw most pandemic restrictions in three weeks on Wednesday, June 2, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statewide address Wednesday night. But he cautioned that many more Ohioans need to be vaccinated and announced plans for lucrative prize drawings to encourage uptake — $1 million jackpots for adults and full-ride scholarships for children. Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud will remove health orders except those regarding nursing homes, assisted living facilities and data collection Wednesday, June 2.

Ohio now has hundreds of locations offering the Pfizer vaccination to those ages 12 to 15. Minors who are not emancipated will need parental consent for a vaccine, the governor’s office said, saying a parent or legal guardian generally should accompany minors to get the vaccine, unless administration is occurring in a physician’s office, school-based or school-associated clinic or similar setting.

EDUCATION

During an ad hoc meeting of the State Board of Education Legislative Committee Friday, members discussed school funding provisions in pending budget bill HB110 (Oelslager), including the bill’s direct funding mechanisms and the remaining guarantees in the House version of the bill. The committee also sent a resolution with “guiding principles” to the full state board for a vote. Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Director of State Funding for Schools Aaron Rausch offered a brief presentation on assorted education budget provisions, saying that the current plan to phase the new “Fair School Funding Plan” in over six years would use FY18 salary data to calculate the base cost to educate students through FY27. He said the current plan is for that phase-in to start at 16.6 percent in FY22 and 33.3 percent in FY23.

Members of the State Board of Education’s (SBOE) Performance and Impact Committee reviewed data on Ohio students’ Internet connectivity and technology access at their Monday meeting. Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Director of Research, Evaluation and Advanced Analytics Heather Boughton gave the Data Insights presentation.

The House’s decision to shift Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed Student Wellness and Success Fund dollars into the Fair School Funding Plan formula in the budget will benefit schools and policymakers, according to Akron Public Schools CFO/Treasurer Ryan Pendleton. “The governor’s commitment to the wellness of our children through the Student Success and Wellness Fund initiative is greatly appreciated and commendable. The Fair School Funding Plan furthers the governor’s wellness initiatives by ensuring these funds are accounted for in a consistent and transparent manner,” Pendleton told members of the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee during testimony on HB110 (Oelslager) on Monday.

The president of the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) resigned over the weekend following his comments at his local board meeting on systemic racism and critical race theory. Scott Huddle, a member of the Mad River Schools Board of Education, resigned as president and was succeeded by President-elect Robert Heard Sr., a longtime member of the Cleveland Schools Board of Education. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY/STATEHOUSE

The Senate held a series of unanimous votes with no debate Wednesday to pass the COVID-driven “Business Fairness Act” of SB134 (Lang) and expanded vaccine sites in HB6 (Roemer), adding custodial interrogations reforms in HB8 (West-Plummer), credit reporting changes in HB133 (Hillyer) and K-12 financial literacy curriculum in SB1 (Wilson-McColley).

Posted by on May 14th, 2021

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