Ask Legislators to Amend "EdChoice"

January 7, 2020

Ask Legislators to Amend “EdChoice”

Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs is recommending that the Wooster City School District Board of Education pass a resolution (click here to see the resolution) on Friday, January 10, 2020 denouncing the expansion of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship program.  Recent changes to EdChoice would cost Wooster City School District approximately $262,570annually.
 

What is EdChoice and how is the Wooster community impacted?The EdChoice Scholarship program provides a “voucher” for students whose public school is deemed “underperforming” by the state. Currently, 120 schools are labeled underperforming in the EdChoice Scholarship program.  During the 2020-2021 school year, more than 1,200 Ohio public schools will be designated as underperforming and qualify for EdChoice vouchers. Wooster High School (WHS) and Cornerstone Elementary School will be among those schools.

Wooster High School, a U.S. News & World Report “BEST” High School, is nationally applauded and ranked #89 out of 1,360 high schools in Ohio, yet the state has recently rated WHS as underperforming by this ridiculous legislation.
 

What is the True Cost of the EdChoice Scholarship?

Wooster receives $2,342 per student in state funding. EdChoice scholarships are $4,650 (grades K-8) and $6,000 (grades 9-12) respectively.  Local Wooster taxpayers will fund the difference ($2,308 and $3,658) to pay for students’ private/parochial school tuition. Additionally, once a student receives a voucher, the public school is responsible for paying the voucher every year, even if the “underperforming” label is removed.

The Wooster Board of Education believes that the EdChoice voucher program, as it is currently structured, presents a serious constitutional concern regarding the separation of church and state and the funding of religious institutions with local public tax dollars as the legislature expects local taxpayers to fund private/parochial school tuition. If state lawmakers truly believe in choice, they should fund the tuition themselves, directly through the state education budget.

 Take Action TODAY:
 

Ask our legislators to:

  • Directly fund the EdChoice scholarship program from the state education budget
  • Amend EdChoice legislation by defining “underperforming” schools as those schools earning an “F” on the state report card for the past three years
  • Eliminate the scholarship if/when a public school no longer qualifies as an EdChoice school

Please consider sending the following message (or composing your own) to:

 

Representative Scott Wiggam                                    Senator Kristina D. Roegner

House District 1                                                          Senate District 27

77 S. High St                                                               1 Capitol Square
13th Floor                                                                    1st Floor
Columbus, OH 43215                                                  Columbus, OH 43215

Hometown: Wooster                                                   Hometown: Hudson

Phone: (614) 466-1474                                               Phone: (614) 466-4823
Scott.Wiggam@ohiohouse.gov                                  roegner@ohiosenate.gov

 

Dear Representative _____________________,

RE: Amend EdChoice NOW

I strongly urge you to amend Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship by:

  • Directly funding EdChoice scholarships from the state education budget;
  • Amending EdChoice legislation by defining “underperforming” schools as those schools with an “F” on the state report card over the past three years;
  • Eliminating the scholarship if/when a public school no longer qualifies as an EdChoice school.

While the school choice movement was originally grounded in a desire to improve the educational setting for some of Ohio’s poorest children, today’s EdChoice Scholarship program has resulted in distressing public policy with a serious overreach and over representation of eligible public schools. Next year, EdChoice will drain significant resources from high performing public schools and divert scarce public education funding for private/parochial school tuition. 

The double-standard for supporting public schools cannot continue. The Wooster City School District receives only $2,342 per pupil in basic aid state funding, while the EdChoice scholarship will fund private/parochial schools $4,650 (K-8) and $6,000 (9-12). This is especially egregious considering Wooster High School is the 89th highest rated high school of all 1,360 Ohio high schools (Source: U.S. News & World Report).

Please work to amend Ohio’s EdChoice scholarship program. If the state truly believes in choice, let’s pass an education budget that accounts for the EdChoice Scholarship’s true costs, rather than expecting local taxpayers to fund private/parochial tuition.

Sincerely,

NAME
ADDRESS
Wooster, OHIO 44691