K-12 Education Overhaul Faces Legal Challenge

A plan approved by the legislature and governor to restructure Ohio’s education department and enhance its workforce focus is in legal limbo — a development that is drawing national media attention.

Gov. Mike DeWine said this week the Ohio Department of Education officially no longer exists under current law. The agency has been renamed the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW), authorized by Ohio’s two-year budget (House Bill 33), passed and signed three months ago.

Under the new law, the governor will oversee most of the K-12 system, not the state board of education. Seven board members filed a lawsuit last month to block implementation, prompting a restraining order from Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Karen Held Phipps.

In early 2023, the OMA endorsed the revamp effort to ensure more accountability and a stronger focus on workforce development.

Meanwhile, as education policy becomes more political, House Bill 267 has been introduced to require candidates running for state and local boards of education to declare their party affiliation. 10/4/2023