Week in Review > Week In Review 1-1-24

Posted by on January 03rd, 2024

AUDITOR OF STATE

Auditor Keith Faber’s office released a cost study Wednesday on the College Credit Plus (CCP) program, finding the program is generally a financial benefit to colleges, though cost reporting varies among institutions. “Higher education institutions with higher percentages of CCP students benefit proportionally more from the State Share of Instruction (SSI) funding formula component. The zero-sum nature of SSI funding, which is a fixed annual statewide pool, means that institutions benefit from the inclusion of CCP students within the SSI formula to the extent that their share of CCP students exceeds that of other institutions,” the report states. Wednesday’s cost report follows a performance audit of the program released last year, which recommended changes but generally concluded the program had successfully saved many students time and money.

EDUCATION

The working group behind the Fair School Funding Plan announced it has formed a nonprofit group in an effort to provide a “permanent fix” for K-12 school funding in Ohio. Lawmakers passed the funding formula known as the Fair School Funding Plan in the previous biennial budget, 134-HB110 (Oelslager), and continued to phase in the formula in the FY24-25 budget operating budget, HB33 (Edwards). Jim Betts, a former state lawmaker who has worked for decades on school funding, including on the Fair School Funding formula, has been named the executive director of the new nonprofit, he told Hannah News Monday.

HIGHER EDUCATION

The DeWine administration announced Friday that 81 institutions of higher education received $40 million in RAPIDS grants, designed to pay for equipment needed for workforce training aligned to regional needs. The biennial budget, HB33 (Edwards), included funding for a substantial expansion of the RAPIDS grant program, dubbed Super RAPIDS. The full list of recipients is at https://tinyurl.com/f3znkwew.

The last-minute reduction by one half of Eastern Gateway Community College’s original request for a $12 million advance on its state share of instruction (SSI) did not spare it an understated grilling by four members of the state Controlling Board Monday. Freshman trustee Thomas D’Anniballe blamed noncompliance in federal Pell Grant submissions for the financial exigency at Eastern Gateway, with two locations in Youngstown and Steubenville. He told Sens. Jerry Cirino (R-Kirtland), Bob Hackett (R-London) and Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and Rep. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) that the college had been using internal personnel to meet federal requirements but now has sought outside help to come within the U.S. Department of Education’s maximum 10 percent error rate.

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) announced that four public universities in Ohio received $3.3 million in total grants from the Ohio Department of Development’s Third Frontier Research Initiative for projects demonstrating the real-world impact of higher education. Universities receiving grant money include the University of Akron, Ohio University, Ohio State University and Wright State University.

PEOPLE

The advocacy group Honesty for Ohio Education announced Wednesday that Christina Collins, who recently left her State Board of Education seat, will be its first executive director. Collins is resigning her board seat at the end of the month. Her experience includes pre-apprenticeship efforts at Medina County Economic Development Corporation, teaching at the K-12 and college levels and serving as a curriculum director. She was elected to the board in 2020. Collins will take the leadership position Jan. 2, succeeding Cynthia Peeples, founder of the organization, who recently moved out of Ohio and is assisting with the transition.

STATE GOVERNMENT

In 2026, the United States will have a big anniversary party. Each state in the country will plan celebrations throughout the year for the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and Ohio will be no exception. The scope of Ohio’s celebrations will highlight how Ohio has contributed to the national narrative since 1776, according to Todd Kleismit, executive director of the Ohio Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial, also called America 250-Ohio. Commission co-chair Doug Preisse says the goal is to incorporate each of Ohio’s 88 counties in celebrating the past, present and future of the nation. The commission is currently inviting counties, cities, villages, townships and neighborhoods throughout the state to take part, said Taylor Tomu, the commission’s community outreach and engagement specialist. The goal is to connect local leaders with the statewide commission to match event themes through an online community and tangible toolkit. Tomu said Fairfield, Medina, Hardin, Muskingum, Preble, Lawrence and Miami counties have all officially passed resolutions to join in the commission’s planning thus far.

Posted by on January 03rd, 2024

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