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Ohio 8 Coalition ask for decision on funding and planning for fall

The Ohio 8 Coalition is asking DeWine to bypass what they describe as the non-binding guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education related to the $330 million marked for the state from the federal CARES Act.

Ohio Public Radio – Statehouse News Bureau – Andy Chow reporting

WKYC 3 reports that in a call with reporters Monday, superintendents said they need clarification on several issues, including on how federal money set aside by Congress to deal with the coronavirus will be distributed; what state testing will be required; and if more state money will be available.

Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and co-chair of the coalition, said 40 percent of families in the district lack access to reliable internet access. He said the district has already spent millions getting students connected in March when the state shut down schools because of the virus.

David James, the superintendent of the Akron Public Schools, said that he estimates bringing back kids safely will cost his district millions. He said the district estimates hand sanitizer alone could cost between $3 to $4 million. Providing disposable masks – up to five a day to every student – could cost $2 million.

Dr. Elizabeth Lolli, superintendent of Dayton City Schools focused on the curriculum demands. “The curriculum is massive and can’t be expected to be taught in one year. Hold off for a year on the third-grade reading guarantee. We’ve missed a quarter and now we’ve missed a summer.”

The group recommends the state condense reading and math lessons for the 2020-2021 school year and have standardized testing to reflect the new narrowed scope. 

They also say third graders and younger should be the first to return to a classroom as it’s too hard to teach them to read online.