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Speaker Not Pleased With Increase In Income-Based Vouchers In EdChoice Deal

a photo of House Speaker Larry Householder
Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to reporters after House session, while waiting for the Senate to take action on a bill that includes a change to the EdChoice voucher program.

The Senate has approved a deal that take more than 800 public school buildings off the list of more than 1,200 where students will be eligible for private school vouchers starting this weekend.

The Senate plan on the performance-based EdChoice vouchers would increase state-paid need-based vouchers to 300% of the federal poverty level, or more than $78,000 a year for a family of four. House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) has a problem with expanding those vouchers past the 200% level.

“I have advised the members of our caucus, the people who are big advocates for school choice that I’ve been down the road and seen this before, and when you open the gates too wide sometimes you drown what you’re trying to save.”

Householder also wants K-3 literacy rates to be dropped as a factor in determining whether a building is failing and therefore students qualify for EdChoice vouchers, which are taken out of school district budgets.

The Senate deal also includes a last minute change to dissolve academic distress commissions for school districts that received a D or higher for the latest report card - that appears to apply only to the Lorain City Schools. Democrats on the committee voted against the deal, but have wanted an end to state school takeovers.

Householder issued this statement after the Senate committee passed the bill: “We look forward to reviewing the Senate’s proposals. The House is scheduled to reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday. A House-Senate conference committee has already been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.”

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.