Shortly after the polls closed in Ohio on November 4, 2014, it became clear that Republicans had secured significant victories across the state with significant super-majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and nearly twice the number of state school board representatives.
What does this outcome mean for key issues that affect ACS clients?
• Early Childhood: Expect to see continued conversations about policies and funding driven by Senator Lehner (R-Kettering), Chair of the Senate Education Committee. We also expect discussion about Ohio’s recent application for federal funding to expand access to high-quality early childhood programming across the state.
• K-12 Education: We anticipate continued discussion related to the funding guarantee, community learning centers, student testing, graduation requirements, academic distress commission qualifying criteria. Also look for an increased focus on early childhood policies within K-12 purviews, and zero-tolerance policies (see Juvenile Justice below).
• Juvenile Justice: With the Governor’s expressed commitment to break the school-to-prison pipeline, we expect to see funds for this work in his proposed operating budget. Watch the activities of the statewide working group hand-picked by Gov. Kasich, as their recommendations will inform his policy positions and proposed reforms around zero tolerance, student suspension and expulsion policies and alternative disciplinary models in schools.
• Local Government: Look for further conversations on levy renewal caps, traffic cameras and municipal income taxes and a further emphasis on regionalization (which is likely to cause municipal budget woes).
• Health and Human Services: “Welfare transformation” will continue through the Governor’s Office of Human Services Innovation, with emphasis on coordination across programs, employment services, case management and standardized and automated eligibility processes.
• Medicaid: Tensions will likely rise among House and Senate majorities as they budget for the continued Medicaid expansion embraced by Gov. Kasich.
For more updates and insights, contact one of our staff.