EdChoice

Licking Heights High School freshmen take notes in a World History class taught by Amy Obhof..
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Inside the omnibus coronavirus bill passed by the Ohio legislature Wednesday was a measure that settles an issue lawmakers have been struggling with for months. That’s the question of how many students would qualify next school year for the state’s largest private school voucher program.

Gov. Mike DeWine, center, speaks between Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, left, and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

In an overwhelming show of bipartisan unity, the Ohio Senate on Wednesday morning unanimously passed a bill making a lot of changes in state law. The Ohio House then joined in a few hours later, approving the bill 91-0, though legislators stress the changes are only temporary. 

As they work to pass out Chromebooks and free meals to students in the first days of an extended three-week spring break, local school districts that had levies on Tuesday’s Primary Day ballot are dealing with financial futures still in limbo.

A Hilliard schools student completes classroom work with an iPad.
Columbus Neighborhoods / WOSU

The state is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a delay of applications for Ohio's biggest school voucher program. 

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) is scheduled to meet this week with House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) in hopes of reaching a resolution on school vouchers.

Licking Heights High School freshmen take notes in a World History class taught by Amy Obhof..
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Lawmakers and school leaders would normally have Presidents Day off, but instead they spent it at the Ohio Statehouse, as testimony on changes to the EdChoice private school voucher program went on. Most of the witnesses were firmly in one of two camps: public schools or parochial schools.

Saddia Kendrick, an eighth grader at Corryville Catholic in Cincinnati, says her family couldn't afford her school without EdChoice vouchers.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

As conference committee hearings continue on a bill to change the state’s EdChoice private school voucher program, parents and students who depend on the program came out in support of the Senate version.

Weekly Reporter Roundtable

Feb 17, 2020
Crystal Brown, left, comforts her 15-year-old daughter Josephine Brown-Walker as she talks about her EdChoice voucher, which allows her to attend a Christian high school in Columbus.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Parents waiting to learn if their child will qualify for vouchers to help cover the cost of private school are caught in limbo.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Senate rejected a House plan that would replace performance-based EdChoice vouchers with income-based vouchers. The Senate plan would keep 420 schools on EdChoice, while expanding income-based vouchers to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio Democratic lawmakers are pushing for legislation that phases-out the EdChoice private school voucher program, which is based on public school performance. Legislators say the bipartisan House plan, SB89, puts the focus back on making sure the public school system is fair and efficient.

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (left) and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (right)
Associated Press

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.

School supplies
Vishwanatha Srinivasan / Pixabay

Ohio's major school associations are backing the House plan to phase out the state's private school voucher program.

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (left) and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (right)
Associated Press

With just hours to go before families could submit applications for the state’s EdChoice private school voucher program on February 1, lawmakers delayed that window until April 1 to work out a compromise. The leaders in both Republican-controlled chambers are holding fast to their different proposals.

 Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Gov. Mike DeWine says he knows the House and Senate have different ideas about how to deal with changing the state’s Ed Choice school voucher program. He says he’s not taking sides on that, but DeWine says it’s important to think about why that program exists in the first place.

Students in the classroom
Columbus Neighborhoods / WOSU

The Ohio House passed a measure to phase-out the voucher program known as EdChoice, replacing it with school vouchers based on family income.

Aaron Baer, President, Citizens for Community Values
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

A suit has been filed in the Ohio Supreme Court by families who are affected by the legislature’s recently imposed 60-day moratorium on vouchers for the state’s EdChoice private school program.

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