DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Representatives from all 16 of Montgomery County’s school districts are opposing Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship Expansion program.
Vandalia Butler Schools superintendent is one of the representatives standing up against the program.
“We already get shortchanged by the state as funding is concerned and so any additional hits just continue to hit our bottom line,” said Rob O’Leary.
The program provides vouchers for students attending underperforming schools to attend private schools. Recent upgrades have increased the number of schools on the list of underperforming schools.
Some superintendents say the voucher funding would be more valuable in the public school system.
O’Leary said two schools in his district have a passing “C” grade but still appear on the list for vouchers.
“Legislation has attached money to a broken and flawed testing and accountability system,” said O’Leary.
He said private schools are benefiting from tax dollars without being held to the same standards as public schools.
Recent updates also opens up vouchers to more students.
Lourdes Lambert, principal at Archbishop Alter High School, said public schools are doing good work.
“I have always been a fan of public schools, but I’m also a fan of school choice,” said Lambert.
Lambert says the program’s expansion also helps students already attending private schools by opening up scholarships to high school students.
“We have contacted our current families in the building that may now be eligible for a scholarship that weren’t previously eligible,” Lambert said.
Mad River Schools’s superintendent Chad Wyen said 32 out of 44 of students using vouchers in his district have never attended their schools.
“There’s no way we should be using public tax payer dollars to fund private school education,” he said.
Lambert doesn’t agree with arguments over tax dollars.
“I encourage everyone to remember that we all pay taxes. So, they’re our tax dollars too even though we choose to use them at a catholic school,” said Lambert.
The application window for parents looking to take advantage of the program opens February 1. That’s when districts may start to get a fuller picture of the program’s impacts.