ODE Extends Private School Voucher Deadline

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The state has extended its deadline for parents to apply for taxpayer-funded vouchers to go to private schools instead of the low-performing schools their kids are assigned to attend.

A student must be in one of the 220 schools in the state’s lowest two categories. And a student must be accepted to one of the more than 400 private charter or religious school to get a voucher.

Each voucher can total up to $5,000.

John Charlton with the Department of Education said the application deadline has been pushed back to May 9 in the hopes that more families will apply.

"There's a lot of scholarships and a lot of money that's been set aside that has not been used in the past," Charlton said. "So we're hoping to use more of that money and provide students and provide parents to enroll their students in private schools if they can meet the criteria."

There are 60,000 vouchers available, and 16,000 kids used vouchers last year, which cost about $65.5 million.

And there’s a new category this year – it’s for incoming kindergarten and first grade students whose family income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, no matter what school they attend.

Up to 4,000 vouchers are available for those children.

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