Despite a court ruling Monday delaying the changes after a lawsuit claimed they violate the constitution, at least a portion of a Republican-backed overhaul of Ohio’s K–12 educational system will go into effect as scheduled.
GOP Governor Mike DeWine announced the replacement of the Ohio Department of Education with the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, promising that responsibilities including school finance, the approval of voucher applications, and other “essential functions of government” will continue to be carried out.
Just moments earlier, Franklin County Court Magistrate Jennifer Hunt had extended a prior temporary restraining order on the reform until a judge could decide whether or not to put it on hold indefinitely. The governor’s declaration followed that order.
“It’s critical to provide assistance for our instructors. It’s crucial for Ohio’s schoolchildren, according to DeWine. “I’m not going to allow this situation to exist where we don’t know where we’re going because of this court ruling,” the governor declared.
The present ODE expires at midnight on Tuesday in accordance with the most recent state budget, which established the revision as legislation. The DEW must be established as soon as the previous department is declared null and void, according to DeWine, whether or not he takes any action.
DeWine stated that his office and the rest of the executive branch will not take “any affirmative action” on important matters that are still under consideration, including as the appointment of a new director of the DEW and the transfer of departmental authority to that individual, in order to abide by the court order. Chris Woolard, the state’s temporary superintendent of public instruction, will serve as DEW’s director in the interim.
According to what our lawyers have advised us, we think the new department can actually operate, DeWine stated.
The board members and parents who brought the lawsuit are being represented by Democracy Forward, a national legal services nonprofit. Skye Perryman, president and CEO of Democracy Forward, stated that they will “continue to defend democracy and public education in Ohio” and warned the governor that he risked being held in contempt of court if he disobeyed the ruling.
A director nominated by the governor would take over management of Ohio’s education department from the Ohio State Board of Education and the superintendent it elects. The new director would assume many of the board’s other duties, such as making decisions regarding academic requirements and school curriculum.
The lawsuit filed against DeWine and the state questions the lawsuit’s constitutionality on a number of different fronts.
First, the lawsuit claims that the revisions deprive a constitutionally established and democratically elected board of most of its responsibilities while giving the governor excessive power. Second, it goes against Ohio’s “single subject rule” by cramming a sizable proposal into the state budget so close to the budget deadline out of concern that it wouldn’t pass as a separate item. Finally, once the education measure was introduced, the budget did not receive the number of readings required by the Constitution.
The Toledo Board of Education and three parents of students attending public schools have joined the original plaintiffs in the action, which was initially launched by seven state board members. Current members of the state BOE include two of the parents.
Since it was originally presented to the Legislature in 2022, the reorganisation of education has generated controversy.
Supporters claim that it will restore order to what they regard as a chaotic system that hasn’t addressed issues affecting Ohio’s pupils because of political infighting.(backslash)Teachers’ organisations, such as the Ohio Federation of Teachers, claim that the modifications will result in less order and more overt partisanship in the classroom.