Week in Review > Week in Review 09-10-2021

Posted by on September 10th, 2021


Tax revenues beat estimates by more than $15 million in August, with sales tax figures diminished by payments to counties but more than offset by stronger than expected income tax collections, according to preliminary figures from the Office of Budget and Management (OBM). Two months into FY22, the state is $40 million or about 1 percent ahead of projections with roughly $4.3 billion collected. Sales taxes yielded $1.05 billion versus $1.07 billion projected, lagging by $18.9 million or 1.8 percent. Within that category, non-auto sales tax was off by $19.6 million or 2.2 percent, while auto sales tax was up by 0.4 percent or $672,000.


The week saw a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations — and the resulting strain on health care workers — that were a focus of Thursday’s Ohio Department of Health (ODH) briefing, a day after the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) reported 40 percent of hospitals were under strain. ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff and OhioHealth Medical Director of Infectious Diseases Dr. Joseph Gastaldo said an average of one in seven hospital patients and one in four intensive care unit (ICU) patients have COVID-19, and that rises to one in three hospital patients and one in two ICU patients for rural areas. Vanderhoff said that the current “dangerous strain” on health care infrastructure has led some hospitals to divert elective procedures, send patients to other facilities and limit visitation access.

The level of new cases is also continuing to escalate, Vanderhoff told reporters, though it has not yet reached the height of the November 2020-January 2021 winter surge. ODH reported 7,897 new COVID cases Thursday — the highest number since Jan. 12 — and 255 hospitalizations and 24 ICU admissions. The 21-day averages are now 5,009 cases, 180 hospitalizations and 18 ICU admissions.


 When leaving the office of Gov. Bob Taft, Paolo DeMaria felt he could have chosen among a variety of policy realms as the focus for his career. But the former chief advisor to Taft felt a particular passion about education. “There are so many optimistic and energized people working in it, and it’s about such a positive thing. It’s a creative endeavor around our future,” he told Hannah News in an interview as he approaches the end of his five-plus years as state superintendent of public instruction. DeMaria announced his retirement in July. He said his announcement came at a logical transition point — the end of a budget cycle and another school year, and the completion of major education policy work in the enactment of a new school funding formula and a reformed state report card system. But DeMaria’s career is not finished. “I’m 59 years old. I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me …,” he said.

Charter school officials found liable for misuse of public money are raising “irrelevant” and “obscure” issues that don’t warrant involvement of the state’s highest court, the attorney general’s office wrote recently in asking the Ohio Supreme Court to reject an appeal from the school officials. In Sun Building Limited Partnership et al v. Value Learning & Teaching Academy et al, the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court found family members who ran and worked for a Cincinnati charter school must forfeit their wages because of improper interests in school operations — a ruling partly upheld by First District Court of Appeals, which found the family members liable but which determined their actions did not constitute a pattern of activity and thus did not trigger a liability for triple damages. However, the trial court ruling has been used as justification for the state’s attempt to recover money from William Lager, founder of the defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), which the state determined had been overpaid by tens of millions of dollars.

Kurt Russell, a social studies teacher at Oberlin High School, has been named the 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year. State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria made the surprise public announcement during a school assembly held Thursday at the high school.

Posted by on September 10th, 2021

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