Court order that Democrats say blocks Republican changes to K-12 education in Ohio extended
A court order that seven Democratic state school board members say stops a Republican-backed overhaul of K-12 education in Ohio has been extended to Oct. 20 by a Franklin County judge.
There’s been no ruling on whether any part of that transition could happen, but Republican leaders say some changes had to take effect so daily business for the state’s schools can continue.
Gov. Mike DeWine has said the order only keeps him from transferring power from elected and appointed state school board members and appointing a head of the new Department of Education and Workforce. But he said state law still created that agency to replace the Department of Education Tuesday at midnight.
That new agency is handling the daily business for Ohio's schools, such as distributing state funds to districts and looking over voucher applications.
“The legislature has done its job. They've passed a bill. And that's the law of the state of Ohio," said Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima). "It's certainly appropriate in some circumstances that courts rule that laws are unconstitutional. And, you know, if that happens, it happens," said Huffman.
House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) also said he’s confident in the elimination of the Department of Education and the creation of the Department of Education and Workforce.
"We passed it in the budget. The law is the law. So, you know, I'm sure that it will it'll work itself out on the details," Stephens said.
State school board member Teresa Fedor, a Democratic former state lawmaker, said allowing the transition to go forward with the court order that she and the other members won in place seems like Republicans "are putting themselves above the law."
Along with extending the temporary restraining order to Oct. 20, the judge set a Thursday deadline for briefings on whether to disqualify all attorneys from the Ohio Attorney General's office from involvement in the case.