Week in Review > Week in Review 9-23-2022Posted by Thomas Perkins on September 23rd, 2022
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported a sharp drop in new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, from 20,552 in the Sept. 15 update to 14,536 Thursday. This is the first time since May 5’s update that there were fewer than 15,000 new cases reported. ODH data on monkeypox showed there have been 259 total cases in the state, 26 hospitalizations and no deaths, with 7,979 associated vaccinations in 73 counties. Compared to the Sept. 15 data, this shows increases of 22 cases and seven hospitalizations. There were 411 vaccinations reported over the week.
The State Board of Education’s Budget Committee voted Monday to recommend FY24-25 spending priorities that include tens of millions of dollars in literacy supports, but without $42 million in state support for summer learning and tutoring that had been recommended by Ohio Department of Education (ODE) staff. The Budget Committee voted 4-1 Monday to submit a budget proposal for full board consideration in October. The budget recommendations include new proposed spending in the following areas:
– Literacy: $56 million in FY24, $11.3 million of that federal; $36.4 million in FY25.
– Learning acceleration: No new funding in FY24; $5.6 million in FY25, $3.5 million of that federal.
– Workforce readiness: $24.5 million annually in state funding for FY24 and FY25.
The State Board of Education also heard hours of impassioned testimony Tuesday on a resolution opposing draft federal Title IX regulations, with most speakers saying the resolution would harm transgender children. The large majority of people testifying argued the resolution would worsen the mental anguish and suicide risk of trans youth, and require outing them to sometimes unsupportive family members. A smaller number of presenters lauded board member Brendan Shea for introducing the resolution, saying it affirms basic biology and stands against ideological indoctrination of children. Dozens of people spoke over about three hours while protestors opposing the resolution gathered outside the Ohio Department of Education offices in Columbus. Shea formally introduced his resolution later Tuesday during the board’s new business discussion.
Interim Superintendent Stephanie Siddens has apparently thrown her hat in the ring as the State Board of Education (SBOE) continues its hunt for the next state superintendent. During the board’s Tuesday meeting, President Charlotte McGuire said Siddens has indicated she wants to be considered permanently for the role as Ohio’s top education official.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) heard a breakdown of professional conduct data from 2021 during its September meeting. Aaron Ross, director, and Abbie Miller, senior managing attorney, of the Office of Professional Conduct at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), provided an overview of the annual educator conduct report. In 2021, there were 17,378 referrals, 1,055 investigations, 875 dispositions, and 405 disciplines.
According to new figures released Friday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), Ohio’s unemployment rate rose to 4 percent in August from 3.9 percent in July as the state added 7,500 nonagricultural wage and salary jobs over the month. The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in August was 229,000, up from 223,000 in July. The number of unemployed has decreased by 54,000 in the past 12 months from 283,000. The August unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 4.9 percent in August 2021. The U.S. unemployment rate for August 2022 was 3.7 percent, up from 3.5 percent in July 2022, and down from 5.2 percent in August 2021.
Unions representing Ohio first responders commissioned a poll they say shows support for efforts to strengthen funding for the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) with contribution rate increases for employers. The system has been trying to win legislative support for HB512 (Abrams-Baldridge), which would equalize and increase employer contribution rates for police and fire employers to match the 26.5 percent the state pays to the Highway Patrol Retirement System. The majority of poll respondents expressed support for police and fire personnel in general and for increasing employer contribution rates versus employee rates or further benefit cuts.
A number of career centers across the state are nearing capacity, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said during his remarks to the JobsOhio Board of Directors on Friday. Husted attributed the increased enrollment to a number of factors, including state incentives for career centers that increase the number of students who graduate with “in-demand” credentials.
In conjunction with National Workforce Development Month, Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced that ApprenticeOhio sponsors can apply for grants of up to $25,000 each to help cover apprenticeship training costs incurred since July 1, 2020. Ohio employers with registered apprentices in their workforces also can apply for the grants. The program is available through Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The reimbursement grants are available as a result of a federal “Building State Capacity to Expand Apprenticeship through Innovation” grant that ODJFS received in 2020. Sponsors and employers can apply for the grants at Apprentice.Ohio.gov through Dec. 31. They can receive reimbursement of up to $2,500 per apprentice for up to 10 apprentices to help cover the cost of training and tool allowances. All applicants must have both a state of Ohio OH|ID, which can be secured online at
https://ohid.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/ohid/login, and a federal Registered Apprenticeship ID
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