“There certainly [is] potential for chaos,” Governor Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said. “Questions such as who will send out the checks that go to our public schools across the state of Ohio, who will make the determination of eligibility for school choice.”
The new Board of Education law is partly on hold as part of a lawsuit against the state.
“I think if the governor had that concern, there’s a number of ways that he could work with the court to clarify anything as opposed to engaging in grandstanding,” said Syke Perryman from Democracy Forward.
Senator Bill DeMora (D-Columbus) said the state got rightfully sued. Representative Josh Williams (R-Sylvania) disagreed.
“I think it’s a miscarriage of justice to use our justice system in this way,” Williams said.
The new law overhauls the Ohio Department of Education and creates a new Department of Education and Workforce. That new department will take over much of the state school board’s current powers and give more board of education control to the governor. The hold on the law puts the transfer of power on pause.
“They have the right, those seven individuals, to file a lawsuit,” Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted (R-Ohio) said. “But stopping, preventing the governor from moving leadership into this new department of education and workforce should not be the case.”
But DeWine said they can still move forward with some parts of the law.
“We’re going to follow the court order, but we also can’t do things that are just crazy,” DeWine said. “And it would be crazy to think that there is today no new department; the legislature passed a law. They’ve set up a new department as a matter of law. Last night at midnight, one department goes away, the other department comes in. And the people who worked at the old department should show up at the new department.”
Both DeMora and Williams said there are question marks – and Ohioans should be concerned.
“Right now there’s state money, our tax money, or levy money that goes to the schools and right now who knows what’s going on with that money,” DeMora said.
The temporary restraining order does expire on Thursday, but a judge can extend the pause on the law for another 14 days, or indefinitely as the court case proceeds. The judge can also dismiss the case or move the case forward with no hold on the law.