Since 2005, Ohio has an aggressive school voucher program known as EdChoice. This voucher program was created to allow students assigned to “failing schools” to obtain a scholarship to pay for private school. A building was considered “failing” if it was in academic emergency, academic watch, or had a D or F in two specific areas on the state report card for two consecutive years.
The state budget passed in July 2019 significantly expanded this program. Ohio had fewer than 300 schools on the list two years ago, and today there are more than 1,200 schools due to a complex and flawed formula. Nearly half of these schools received overall grades of A, B, or C on their current state report card. While there are no Bexley Schools on the list this year, there are schools in high-performing districts such as Upper Arlington, Indian Hill, and Dublin. Any change in formula could easily impact Bexley Schools in the future.
The expansion of this program diverts local tax dollars away from local schools to fund private and parochial schools that do not have the same level of accountability as public schools. In Bexley, our local taxpayers fund 78% of our schools’ operations costs. These funds are not intended to go to private and parochial schools.
The unprecedented expansion of EdChoice eligible schools now places an unsustainable pressure on public schools to fund not only the local public school system, but also to finance private and parochial schools local students may choose to attend.
Contact our state legislators (Senator Hearcel Craig, Representative Kristin Boggs) and tell them that you want our local tax dollars to stay local, and ask them to delay the expansion of EdChoice until a more appropriate formula is designed. Legislators must act now; the expanded EdChoice system takes effect on February 1, 2020.
Marlee Snowdon, Bexley Board of Education President
Kimberly Pietsch Miller, Ed.D., Superintendent
Kyle F. Smith, Treasurer