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Cleveland school plan focuses on academics rather than finances
Other headlines: Proposed bill would halt growth in Ohio's renewable energy industry; ACLU challenges chalk message ban

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
  • Proposed bill would halt growth in Ohio's renewable energy industry
  • Conflict of interest ruling for JobsOhio
  • ACLU challenges chalk message ban
  • Cleveland school plan focuses on academics rather than finances
    The head of Cleveland's schools says the success of Ohio's second-largest district will be measured this year by its progress in improving the failing grades it received from the state for poor academic performance.

    The Plain Dealer ( ) reports Eric Gordon's district update Wednesday focused on broad goals and the need for better education rather than detailing specific spending or operational targets.

    Gordon says Cleveland is shrinking class sizes and hiring teachers instead of laying off hundreds of them.

    And he says levy money has provided some financial stability for the district, which previously cut $40 million from its budget.

    Proposed bill would halt growth in Ohio's renewable energy industry
    A bill introduced into the Ohio legislature today could bring Ohio’s budding renewable energy sector to a halt.

    The measure sponsored by Cincinnati Republican Senator Bill Seitz would roll back requirements in place since 2008 that utility’s purchase an increasing amount of power from renewable sources such as wind and solar produced in Ohio. 

    The proposed bill also removes requirements to increase energy efficiency. 

    The bill is part of an aggressive lobbying effort from Akron-based utility FirstEnergy.  The company claims the efficiency mandates are too expensive.

    The Plain Dealer reports that the renewable roll-back bill is opposed by the Ohio Manufacturers Association, environmental groups, and The Union of Concerned Scientists.

    Conflict of interest ruling for JobsOhio
    The Ohio Ethics Commission is preparing to release details of potential conflicts of interest it has identified among board members, employees and other associates of Gov. John Kasich's oft-criticized job-creation agency, JobsOhio.

    Executive Director Paul Nick said he expects the information to be released today.

    The possible conflicts were flagged during routine review of dozens of confidential financial disclosure that employees and board members of Ohio boards, commissions, agencies and schools file annually.

    Nick said the commission alerts individuals to ties to businesses whose dealings with the state may run up against ethics restrictions. No wrongdoing is implied.

    Transparency issues surrounding the unique structure of JobsOhio and its private-sector governing board have been the subject of political debate and a lawsuit.

    ACLU challenges chalk message ban
    The American Civil Liberties Union is warning a Western Ohio city that its ban on messages written in chalk on public sidewalks violates the First Amendment.

    The City of Defiance last year ordered police to prevent members of the Occupy movement from writing political messages in chalk. 

    A ban in place ahead of this year’s Halloween celebration is being challenged by ACLU lawyers.

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