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Ohio Has More Vouchers Than It Knows What to Do With

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Ohio Public Radio's Bill Cohen reports that just 500 students applied for special education vouchers this fall. The vouchers allow special education students to use public money -- up to $20,000 -- to pay for education at a school or program not operated by the school district they live in.

Cohen says:

Ohio is passing out another round of vouchers for private schools, and the recipients are parents of children with physical and learning disabilities. The demand for the vouchers, though, is nowhere near as high as the supply, at least for now.

Ohio has several different voucher programs. The voucher program Cohen is talking about is the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship, which is only for special education students.

About 12,000 Jon Peterson vouchers are available statewide. Students have two chances to apply for a voucher. In the first round earlier this year, about 1,500 applied.

Ohio's other voucher programs are also seeing more supply than demand. Take, for example, the EdChoice voucher program. EdChoice vouchers allow students who attend the state’s worst performing public schools to attend private schools. As we wrote earlier this year:

In 2011-12, about 15,000 students received EdChoice vouchers. That’s less than the 30,000 vouchers available. And for the 2012-13 school year, about 17,000 students applied for EdChoice vouchers. That’s a lot less than the 60,000 vouchers available.

EdChoice Voucher Program Usage

Source: Ohio Department of Education, School Choice Ohio | Download Data

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