NEWS: Ohio Looks to Expand School Voucher System

From The Zainesville Times Recorder:

With school districts already feeling the pinch of limited funding, they could lose almost $6,000 per student if an Ohio House bill becomes law.

Ohio House Bill 136 was approved by the House’s Education Committee, Rep. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, said. It would expand the state’s private school voucher program to any student in any district whose family earns less than $95,000.

To parents it could mean more choices for their child’s education. For public schools, it could mean the loss of funds.

“This expands vouchers to all students to all schools,” said Richard Murray, Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center superintendent. “If a parent enrolls their child in a private school and not all of the money from the voucher is needed, the parents get to bank on that leftover money to send their child to college. This subsidizes private students and their college education. There is a fairness issue because I don’t know if this would subsidize kids at schools like East Muskingum or West Muskingum. This deducts funding from districts.”

Superintendents of public schools are concerned, but the specific affects the bill would have if passed still are unknown.

“Parents would be able to shop for schools, but we’d be getting less money,” said Terry Martin, Zanesville City Schools superintendent. “Public schools have many advantages. Look at some of the services we have for children — reading, nurses, a wide variety of dual (college) credit courses, advanced placement courses, optional courses, and the arts at middle and high school levels. I hope the legislative branch uses its wisdom in deciding this.”

The state’s EdChoice program — an extension of a Cleveland voucher system — now lets students from low-income families in academically poor districts apply for a voucher that covers tuition at a private school.

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