News briefs – Oct. 5

Staff report

SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOLARSHIP AVAILABLE – Ohio students with special needs can now apply for the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program that allows parents to choose the school or providers that best meet their child’s unique learning needs. The deadline for this application window is Nov. 15.

During the program’s first application window that ran from Feb. 1 through April 15, more than 4,000 students applied for the scholarship, according to the Ohio Department of Education. Eligible students who apply during this second application window will receive a prorated scholarship that begins in January 2016.

“The state budget, signed in June, included a much-needed funding cap increase for the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program,” said School Choice Ohio Outreach Director Cynthia Valencia De Maya. “The scholarship cap was raised from $20,000 to $27,000, which opens the door for many more students to receive the quality education they deserve.”

ODNR PROVIDES FIRE PREVENTION MATERIALS FOR OHIO EDUCATORS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has compiled multiple educational resources for Ohio teachers to download and use next week in time for National Fire Prevention Week, observed this year from Oct. 4-10.

Ohio teachers are encouraged to visit for educational resources to help engage students in grades 1-8. Resources focus on the topics of biodiversity, clean air, improved soil and water, forest health, recreational opportunities, renewable resources and sustainable forests. Materials include fun and detailed educational activities to use in the classroom, and by clicking on the Ohio Correlations button, teachers can read how activities correlate with Ohio’s state education standards.

Elementary teachers will find several educational materials for their younger students, including a comic book telling the story of Smokey Bear, coloring pages and other fun activities. A highlight is the Smokey Bear video, which helps teach kids about outdoor fire safety in an engaging way. Developed through a wildfire prevention grant from the USDA Forest Service, the four-minute video was produced in Ohio through a cooperative effort between ODNR and the Columbus College of Art and Design.

These materials are available at

STATE PENSION FUND POSTING CHECKBOOK EXPENSES ONLINE – Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund officials announced last week a partnership with the Ohio Treasurer’s office to place their spending online at Last year, Treasurer Mandel launched, which sets a new national standard for government transparency and for the first time in Ohio history puts all state spending information on the internet. recently earned Ohio the number one ranking in the country for government transparency.

The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund is the first statewide pension fund in Ohio to partner with The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund is also the first statewide pension fund in America to agree to post its checkbook level expenditures online.

“In a show of support for Treasurer Mandel’s initiative, the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund Board of Trustees has authorized our staff to work with officials at the Treasurer’s office to participate in the project,” stated John J. Gallagher, Jr., Executive Director of the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund. “We believe participation in this project will enhance our already comprehensive financial transparency efforts and provide a tool for increased understanding of our system.”

ASHLAND TO INAUGURATE DR. CARLOS CAMPO AS 30TH PRESIDENT – Ashland University will inaugurate Dr. Carlos Campo as the University’s 30th president during a ceremony to be held on Friday, Oct. 16. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 2 p.m. in AU’s Jack and Deb Miller Chapel.

A special guest for the event will be former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who will be the featured speaker and deliver the challenge for Dr. Campo.

Following the Ashcroft speech, the investiture ceremony will be performed by Joyce Lamb, chair of the AU Board of Trustees, and Fred Broad, vice chair of the AU Board of Trustees. After the investiture ceremony, Dr. Campo will provide his inaugural response.

The event will include greetings extended by Dr. Jeff Sikkenga, president of AU’s Faculty Senate and professor of history and political science; Dr. James Walborn, president of the AU Alumni Association; Glen Stewart, mayor of the city of Ashland; State Rep. Dave Hall; and James Coyne, president of Student Senate.

The inauguration also will feature delegates attending from colleges and universities across the nation. Prior to the start of the inauguration, the delegates along with AU faculty, trustees and international students carrying the flags of their countries will march from the Recreation Center on campus to the Jack & Deb Miller Chapel.

Staff report