By: Gongwer Access article
Four key members of the upper chamber on Friday emphasized the need for investment in youth.
Their remarks came during a panel discussion organized by Groundwork Ohio as the state's two-year operating budget (HB 110) lands in the Senate.
The House approved its version of the $162.8 billion bill Tuesday in a 70-27 vote.
Among the provisions is the so-called Fair School Funding Plan.
Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Hts.) said he expects members of the upper chamber to "fine tune" the House's plan.
He identified other priorities of his caucus as expanding health care to more children and tackling the state's infant mortality rate.
Several members of the panel spoke of the need for high-quality child care, including Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark).
"We all know that the importance of a solid foundation and having access to early learning has always been an important issue," the latter said, adding the issue has become "critical" in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that children that did not have a solid foundation are even further behind than their peers because of the educational disruptions caused by the public health crisis.
"This is something I'm fearful that we're going to be feeling for some time inside our educational community," he said.
Sen. Dolan, who leads the chamber's Finance Committee, said that child care is a key factor in attracting people to Ohio.
"My attitude towards child care is it is another one of the pillars to make Ohio ripe for economic growth," he said.