Update on EdChoice Voucher Program

Update on EdChoice Voucher Program
Posted on 02/15/2020
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edchoice graphicLakota Superintendent to Testify Next Week

The debate over the expansion of public schools on the
EdChoice voucher list continues in Columbus. At this point, the Ohio House and Senate have not come to an agreement on a joint solution as to the prospect of 70-percent of the state’s districts having an eligible school on the list.

The enrollment period, which was to open on Feb. 1, has been delayed until April 1, following a vote by the state legislators. On Feb. 5, the House introduced its plan to amend the voucher program in Senate Bill (SB) 89, which passed the House by a vote of 88-7. The bill will phase out district-paid EdChoice vouchers, increase the eligibility for income-based vouchers from 200-percent to 250-percent of the poverty level and, if the student is both income and building-eligible, require the state to fund the voucher beginning in the 2021-22 school year.

The Senate does not agree with these changes and has sent the bill to Conference Committee. The committee is now holding hearings to gather more information about the EdChoice voucher program. 

Lakota’s superintendent, Matthew Miller, will testify next week. Click here to read his complete testimony, delivered on Feb. 18. “Senate Bill 89 is a good starting point to fix the EdChoice debacle,” he said. “Schools that receive passing grades by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) should not be also considered failing schools.” Ironically, Endeavor Elementary, which is one of eight Lakota schools the state says is failing, received the Momentum Award from ODE shortly after the EdChoice list was published. “How can a school be failing on one hand, but then receive accolades for exceeding expectations in student growth on the other?” questioned Miller. 

Miller believes the problem with the voucher system stems from a deeply flawed state report card. “The state grading system puts a higher priority on standardized test scores than ensuring that our kids are prepared for life after graduation,” he explained. “The state says that they want our students to have real world learning opportunities, yet they do not include that as an indicator on the report card.”

Miller, who supports parent choice in education, does not want to see public schools foot the bill for private education. “Money that is voted in by local taxpayers to be used for public education should not be used to fund private schools,” he said. “Private schools are not held accountable to the same standards as public schools, and that’s not right.”

What can you do to help? Contact your state legislators and ask them to support SB 89. 

Senator Matt Huffman



Senator Bill Coley



Senator Lou Blessing III



Senator Steve Wilson



Senator Cecil Thomas



Rep. Sara Carruthers



Rep. Candice Keller



Rep. George Lang



Rep. Paul Zeltwanger



Rep. Cindy Abrams



Rep. Bill Seitz