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Ohio Republicans introduce universal school voucher bill

The bill would allow all students, regardless of district, to opt-out of the state’s public school system and take the tax dollars associated with them along.
Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 12:25 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - Republicans in Ohio’s General Assembly are seeking legislation to extend the state’s school voucher program -- known as EdChoice -- to any child. Currently, students must be in a failing school district before they can take advantage of the program. The bill introduced on Thursday would allow all students, regardless of district, to opt out of the state’s public school system and take the tax dollars associated with them along.

Under the current EdChoice program, students in failing districts who choose to attend a local private or parochial school are provided with state funding toward tuition costs ($4,650 for K-8th Grades, $6,000 for high school). That amount is equal to the amount of money it costs the state to send a child to public school. Supporters of voucher programs say the system allows tax dollars to follow the child like a backpack.

Opponents, however, including most district leaders, say voucher programs only serve to pull badly needed funding from already struggling schools, compounding the problem that led to them being labeled as failing in the first place.

Previous legislation passed by the Ohio House sought to do the opposite of the Republican plan, ending voucher programs altogether and replacing them with income-based scholarships that could open up private school education to struggling families.

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