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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Republican House Leader Says Fix For Voucher Program Likely Coming Soon

[Karen Kasler]

New rules on the state’s largest voucher program have meant a 400 percent increase in the number of public schools where students qualify for private school vouchers. 

And the Republican leader of the Ohio House said he has serious concerns about that, so something has to change – and quickly.

There’s a school building that’s considered failing in 70 percent of Ohio’s school districts, based on report card data.  The latest report cards came out in September, and showed some improvement, but a plurality of districts got Cs. And some individual buildings are showing failing grades in certain areas.

That means by the 2020-2021 school year, kids in 1,227 buildings are eligible for EdChoice vouchers for private schools, paid for by those school districts – and some of those buildings are in the best-rated districts in the state. The EdChoice vouchers provide $4,650 for students in grades K-8 and $6,000 for high school students.

Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said that’s not right.

“Our failure in this state is our grade cards and our testing system. We need to make certain we get those things corrected," Householder said.

Householder said a short term fix on the EdChoice voucher program is likely coming before the application process opens on February 1.

“I think we’re going to do a short term fix for this problem. But the long term solution is really, let’s get busy and make certain that we have more accurate grade cards and our testing system is one that’s fair to all schools in this state," Householder said.

Lawmakers who’ve been studying report cards are expected to submit their findings by December 15. Householder said he hasn't seen that study yet.


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