Week in Review > Week in Review 08-13-2021Posted by Buckeye Association of School Administrators on August 13th, 2021
Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kimberly Murnieks announced Friday that Fitch Ratings, citing the state’s superior financial resilience, affirmed the state’s Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at “AA+” and elevated the state’s outlook to “Positive” from “Stable.” Additionally, OBM released the state’s July 2021 preliminary revenue data, which show the state’s General Revenue Fund tax receipts finishing July — the first month of FY22 — $24.7 million or 1.3 percent above the budgeted estimate.
Gov. Mike DeWine returned to the podium Friday to address the state’s surging Delta variant, now the dominant strain of COVID-19. In May, less than one percent of the lab sequenced COVID-19 test samples were identified as the Delta variant, DeWine said, but the most recent data from July 4 through July 7 show that 86.4 percent of lab sequenced cases were the Delta variant and that number has only increased since then. Highlighting the effectiveness of the vaccines, DeWine said 18,662 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the first of the year. Of those, 18,367, or 98.4 percent, were people not fully vaccinated against the virus and just 295 of those, about 1.6 percent, were among fully vaccinated people.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the state’s chief medical officer and ODH director-designee, held his first press briefing in that new capacity Thursday. He focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta variant in particular, saying there is a continued “troubling increase” in cases statewide. ODH said 3,272 were reported in a 24-hour period Thursday, following 3,393 Wednesday. Those were the first two days above 3,000 cases since February, and Vanderhoff said the state’s number of cases per 100,000 residents is “rapidly climbing toward 200.” Noting that metric had fallen as low as 17.6 cases on July 7, he said ODH is adding additional data on that to its website to make such tracking easier. Hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions and ventilator usage are climbing as well, with the ODH update listing 130 hospitalizations and 13 ICU admissions in the past 24 hours Thursday.
John Richard, Ph.D. will have been in the job of interim superintendent of public instruction for Ohio for just two weeks when he, too, will leave the position. Tuesday Richard announced his resignation from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) effective Friday, Oct. 8 — two weeks after current Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria retires on Friday, Sept. 24. In the announcement, he noted his commitment “to ensuring a smooth transition to the interim superintendent to be named by the State Board of Education ….” The state board is next scheduled to meet on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 20 and 21.
Panelists at Wednesday’s Columbus Metropolitan Club (CMC) waded into an ongoing controversy with a discussion on critical race theory — what it is and how it’s being used. The issue has overlapped other conversations about race and has been the subject of national, state and local debate. The State Board of Education’s resolution last summer to condemn racism continues to draw controversy a year later with the board’s asking the attorney general to review the legality of the resolution in action taken at the July 2021 meeting. Two bills introduced in the Statehouse, HB322 (Jones) and HB327 (Grendell-Fowler-Arthur), aiming to ban the teaching of “divisive concepts” in schools also drew partisan debate.
Reps. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) and Jessica E. Miranda (D-Forest Park) say they have submitted a resolution encouraging Ohio’s schools to retire the use of Native American mascots and to engage Native American groups as part of that process. This follows the recent announcement by the Cleveland Indians of their name change to the Cleveland Guardians.
The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) meeting previously scheduled for Monday, Aug. 9 was cancelled after the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), charter school operators and JCARR Chair Jamie Callender (R-Concord) agreed to a timeline for ODE to address “policy to rule” concerns regarding how charter schools are regulated, according to JCARR Executive Director Larry Wolpert. Wolpert told Hannah News that no other testimony was expected at the committee, so Callender decided to cancel the meeting.
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