Ohio school voucher program debate heats up as Feb. 1 enrollment date nears

Ohio

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH) – The enrollment window on vast expansion of Ohio’s school voucher program begins February 1.

Hundreds of public schools could lose millions in state funding as the number of schools to be considered voucher eligible will triple.

The Ohio Education Association says the expansion is all based on a broken school report card system. OEA not only wants the expansion to be amended before the enrollment window opens, they say the entire program needs to be rolled back.

Ohio Education Association Vice President Jeff Wensing discusses their opposition to Ohio’s school voucher program:

On the other side of this debate are EdChoice supporters. They held a press conference Thursday at the Ohio Statehouse pushing for this expansion to move forward.

“I think our children’s education, their success, their opportunities should not be based on who is getting the money,” said EdChoice parent Corneita Allen. “It should be based on the parents’ choice to send them to the environment that’s best.”

PREVIOUS STORY: EdChoice advocates push for legislative aid in keeping program

Ohio’s school voucher program started in 2005. It is intended to give students in underperforming public schools a choice to attend a private school.

The public school districts pay $4,650 to 6,000 per student toward private school tuition.

Ahead of the enrollment window opening, some lawmakers have proposed an amendment that would exclude eligibility for students attending a public school that received an overall performance grade of A, B, C or D.

That amendment would mean no new Central Ohio families would receive vouchers, because all schools in the area were graded at a D or higher on the 2018-2019 Ohio School Report Card. Families who already qualified for vouchers would get to keep theirs.

Only four districts of Ohio’s 608 received an F grade: East Cleveland City School District (Cuyahoga Co.), Springfield City School District (Clark Co.), Youngstown City (Mahoning Co.), and Jefferson Township Local (Montgomery Co.).

RELATED: Ohio releases 2019 school report cards

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