Week in Review > Week in Review 12-18-2020Posted by Kevin Miller on December 18th, 2020
FY21-22 CAPITAL APPROPRIATIONS
The Conference Committee on SB310 (Dolan) finished its work, started early in the week, on Thursday in a two-part meeting that saw the conference committee further expand the scope of the bill beyond capital appropriations, moving it to “Christmas tree” status. Already on Wednesday, provisions had been added addressing a variety of pandemic related issues ranging from the spending of CARES Act dollars to scope of practice questions during the pandemic to further afield addressing a delay in the EdChoice application period and the establishing of a kinship care program. On Thursday, the committee met in the morning where it quickly added eight more amendments, returning after 9 p.m. that night to add another five amendments before approving the conference report on a unanimous 6-0 vote. SB310 had an unusual road through the Legislature, making a 100 percent switch from its original purpose as a vehicle to provide for the distribution of federal coronavirus relief funds to local governments to having those provisions removed entirely and the FY21-22 capital appropriations package wholesalely substituted into the bill.
Calling it “the day we have been waiting for,” Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that the start of vaccinations for health care workers is a major step toward ending the pandemic, while also cautioning that there is a considerable way to go before herd immunity is achieved. Ohioans should not let their guard down in the coming weeks and months, he said, and those who have been vaccinated should continue wearing a mask and taking other steps to protect those around them. Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff said the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials are still studying how well the vaccine prevents people from transmitting the virus to others.
Ohio is scheduled to receive 420,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna by Christmas, and another 137,000 doses the week of New Year’s Day, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) Assessment and Accountability Committee considered a study from the Fordham Institute at its Monday meeting showing higher academic and behavioral outcomes for low-income students in charter schools compared to their peers in traditional public schools. Speaking to the committee was the study’s author Stephane Lavertu, a professor at the Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs, who said the students who experience the highest education gains from attending charter schools are low-income students, students in urban areas and Black students.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) spent most of its final meeting for the year revisiting the discussion of racism and the board’s decision to adopt a resolution condemning racism as an impediment to educational equity over the summer. The board voted in adopt the resolution in the wake of nationwide protests over racism and police conduct sparked by the death of George Floyd, and it inspired lengthy debate and drew public criticism and praise at board meetings for months. The discussion Tuesday similarly lasted over two hours and began when Board President Laura Kohler presented members with a video, available at https://tinyurl.com/yahc52y9, which details the history of racial oppression in America. She asked State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria to moderate a discussion on the video among members, though she noted not all members may want to see the video, and some members did temporarily leave the virtual meeting.
Fourteen rural Ohio school districts and their corresponding counties and townships will share more than $1.3 million in timber sales from state forests, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry. “Investments in our schools and communities are investments in the future,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “The funding provided by the sound management of Ohio’s forests through the ‘Trees to Textbooks’ program is particularly critical right now, as educators are finding new and different ways to support our students this year.”
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