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Morning news headlines for April 8, 2013
Governor's budget battle to heat up this week; Strongsville teachers' strike enters sixth week; Voter registration deadline today

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Governor's budget battle to heat up this week
  • Strongsville teachers' strike enters sixth week
  • Decision today on fate of Cleveland schools' state control
  • Voter registration deadline today
  • Ohio Attorney General to unveil foster care changes 
  • Ohio State being proactive following threats  
  • Search for missing father and daughter called off  
  • Strongsville teachers' strike enters sixth week
    The Strongsville teachers’ strike enters a sixth week today, as talks resume following three marathon sessions last week. Neither the school board nor the teachers’ union are commenting on progress made on issues such as medical benefits, pay freezes and pension plan calculations. Parents and students converged on Strongsville city council last week, urging both sides to come to an agreement after weeks of rallies and fruitless bargaining sessions. The board had previously stuck to its last, best offer of March 2, citing a looming $6 million budget gap, and had refused to meet with teachers or Mayor Thomas Perciak, except at the invitation of a federal mediator.

    Decision today on fate of Cleveland schools' state control
    The state is expected to announce today if it will exempt Cleveland from the partial takeover required by Ohio law for failing schools. The Ohio Department of Education and Cleveland school officials plan a press conference for 1 this afternoon announcing whether Cleveland will get a waiver from the state takeover. The law requires that academic distress commissions – five member boards, with the state appointing three – move in when a district scores the equivalent of an “F” on its state report cards for four straight years. This year was year four for Cleveland. But the district is also working with the blessing of state lawmakers and the Ohio Department of Education under a new transformation plan that it promises will change all that.

    Governor's budget battle to heat up this week
    No floor votes on major issues are set for this week in the Ohio legislature, but it could still be a big week for lawmakers. That's because we may finally get a look at how majority Republicans plan to pay for a big cut in the state income tax. For several weeks, Republicans who dominate the House and Senate have declined to endorse GOP Gov. John Kasich’s idea expanding a 5 percent sales tax to about 80 services like cable TV, haircuts, advertising, movie and sporting event tickets and more. Kasich has pushed the idea as way to pay for a multi-billion dollar cut in the state income tax  —  20 percent for families, 50 percent for most small companies. Now key Republican state representatives are poised to unveil their alternative way to fund an income tax cut. That’s expected at a Tuesday session at the House Finance Committee. The panel plans four hearings this week including a rare Friday session. 

    Voter registration deadline today
    Today is the deadline for Ohioans to register to vote for the May 7 primary election. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says voters who have moved since the last election need to update their voting address at if they plan to vote. Voter registration forms are available at that website or from local boards of elections and other agencies, such as libraries. In-person absentee voting began April 2. Voters in 74 counties will be voting on local races and 354 local issues, including nearly 150 school issues.

    Ohio Attorney General to unveil foster care changes
    State Attorney General Mike DeWine is ready to announce the recommendations of an advisory group he formed late last year to improve Ohio's foster care system in the wake of several shocking child deaths. DeWine's office says the announcement today will include state lawmakers who plan to introduce legislation incorporating some of the group's recommendations. DeWine's office held child safety summits in the state following a rash of deaths among children whom the system failed. Those included the October 2011 death of a 2-year-old Cincinnati boy who had been beaten and burned two months after he was returned to his parents' home from foster care.

    Ohio State being proactive following threats 
    Ohio State University says it plans to beef up security after a threat on a chat site referenced potential violence on campus. Campus police announced Sunday that it had information regarding a potential shooting or another act of violence today at the school's Columbus campus. It mentioned that it could happen at a "cafeteria" or other areas on campus that weren't specified. Police say they are taking the threat seriously. They say extra police and security officers will be on campus Monday patrolling at or near dining facilities.

    Search for missing father and daughter called off
    Northern Ohio authorities along Lake Erie on Sunday ended an active search for a father and his 12-year-old daughter who were last seen in their kayaks early Saturday night.  A sheriff midway between Toledo and Cleveland says searchers found the two empty kayaks Sunday morning, but there's no sign of 30-year old Jonathan Francis and his 12-year old daughter Viola. Authorities say the pair did not have life jackets when they set out on Sandusky Bay just west of the city of Sandusky.

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