Ohio Senate Rejects House's School Voucher Plan, Sending To Conference Committee

Feb 13, 2020

The Ohio Senate has rejected a House plan to replace the state’s private school voucher system. That means there’s now a dual front in the battle over the rapidly-expanding EdChoice program, with two conference committees dealing with two versions of a fix.

A resolution needs to happen before April 1, when the process to apply for those vouchers opens up after lawmakers delayed it.

The Senate rejected a bill with House-approved changes to replace the vouchers, which are given out based on a school building’s academic performance, with income-based vouchers. A group representing Ohio’s major school associations backed that plan, which would put the burden of paying for vouchers on the state rather than individual districts.

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) said the vote now sends the bill to conference committee.

“I’m certainly not frustrated that we’re having conference committee hearings. I think that’s a good step,” Obhof said.

Many Senators are backing the House bill they amended that would expand the financial threshold for income-based vouchers but also keep the EdChoice program in 420 schools. There are conference committee hearings on that bill scheduled every day but one through next Friday.

“Well, you know, we’re just trying to oblige the Senate," said House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford).

EdChoice families and a conservative group have filed a lawsuit over the delay.