Advocacy Update – 7.31.20 – Ohio House Chooses New Speaker; More Districts Commit to a Virtual Fall

New Speaker – Because Ohio doesn’t have enough drama to contend with, the Ohio House shook things a bit more yesterday by voting in a new speaker, Bob Cupp. Speaker Cupp, as many of you may recall is the co-sponsor of the Cupp-Patterson school funding bill, HB305. The bill received several hearings last year, but ultimately was put on hold like so many other things. 

The speaker change was due to the scandal rocking the Statehouse with the arrest of Larry Householder, who has been indicted on federal bribery charges. 

With a new speaker change along with new leadership roles in the House, new questions around education will be centered around potential. changes to the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee leadership and the focus on education in general.  There have been calls from some in the Ohio House for committee chairs to all resign so that the Speaker Cupp can appoint his own choices more freely. We will likely to see how that plays out over the next several months. 

Ordinarily, we would anticipate that the goals of the new speaker be incorporated into the new state budget process which will begin in 2021. However, with cuts to education in general and an uncertain tax stream due to COVID-19, it is difficult to know how and if many changes will take place in education funding over the next two years. 

More Districts Opting for Online Learning – With rising cases of COVID-19 across the state, more and more districts are backing off on plans to open in-person or hybrid learning as schools open up for the 2020-2021 school year. At this point, all of the Ohio’s largest districts will be opening up virtually, which Columbus City Schools leading the way. What this means for gifted services is as varied as the many districts across Ohio. Along with guidance on remote testing, gifted EMIS questions, and other issues, it is not entirely clear how districts will be required to support gifted students virtually. This will undoubtedly ensure that the gap between underrepresented gifted children and their better-represented peers will grow.