Ask Legislators to Amend “EdChoice”

Action Needed: Ask Legislators to Amend "EdChoice"
Posted on 12/11/2019

Action Alert Mason City School District funding is at risk and we need your help. Recent changes to Ohio’s EdChoice program would cost Mason about $1.4 million next school year.
 

What is EdChoice and how is Mason impacted?
The EdChoice Scholarship provides a voucher for students whose public school is considered an “underperforming school” by the state. Based on numerous legislative changes in recent years, the definitions of “underperforming” that have been used to identify schools for the 2020-2021 school year are not reflective of the high quality educational experience offered to students. Those definitions use data from the Ohio School Report Card from 2013-2014, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. 

 

Mason earned an “A” on this year’s report card and has 100% of third graders passing the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee. Yet its Early Childhood Center (which educates students in grades PK-2) is deemed underperforming.
 

EdChoice now drains resources from high-performing public schools and diverts scarce education funding to private schools - regardless of a family’s income, or the quality of the school their child may attend. This “choice” removes accountability for public money from locally elected boards of education.
 

What is the amount of the EdChoice Scholarship?

$4,650 for students in grades K-8 and $6,000 for grades 9-12 for the 2020-2021 school year. Interestingly, while the state pulls this amount from the district’s local funding, the state only gives Mason $3,300 in funding per student each year. 
 

How are EdChoice Scholarship vouchers funded?

This is not a state-funded program. The public school district must pay the scholarship amounts for as long as the student remains in private school - even if the public school is removed from the EdChoice list.
 

Additionally, once a student receives a voucher, the public school is responsible for paying the voucher every year, even if the report card improves. This can be at a cost of more than $65,000 to the public school district over the course of a student’s academic career.
 

The legislature is asking local taxpayers to fund public and private school systems. If lawmakers truly believe in choice, they should be honest and pass education budgets that account for its true cost, rather than sticking local taxpayers with the bill.
 

Take Action
Ask our legislators to do the following before February 1st:

- Directly fund EdChoice scholarship students who have never attended Mason City Schools.

- Amend EdChoice legislation so that students from any school district that has had an A or B on the state report card in the past two years would not be eligible for EdChoice scholarships in the 2020-2021 school year.
 

Please consider sending the following message (or penning your own)!

Senator Steve Wilson

614-466-9737

Wilson@ohiosenate.gov
 

Rep. Paul Zeltwanger

614-466-6027

Paul.Zeltwanger@ohiohouse.gov
 

SUBJECT: Amend EdChoice NOW

Dear Representative Zeltwanger,

I strongly urge you to amend Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship before February 1st by:

- Directly funding EdChoice scholarship students who have never attended their public school.

- Making students from any school district with an A or B on the state report card in the past two years ineligible for the EdChoice scholarship.

While the school choice movement was grounded in a desire to make things better for some of Ohio’s poorest children, today’s EdChoice Scholarship drains resources from high-performing public schools and diverts scarce education funding to private schools - regardless of how much a family makes, or the quality of the school their child may attend. This “choice” disenfranchises voters since it removes accountability for public money from locally elected boards of education.

The double-standard for supporting public schools cannot continue. Mason City Schools only receive $3,300 per pupil in state funding, while the EdChoice scholarship schools will receive $4,650 per pupil from Mason taxpayers. This is especially egregious considering that the Mason City School District rated an “A” on the state report card and the private schools are not subjected to the same state testing as public school students even though they are receiving public funds.

Please work to amend Ohio’s EdChoice scholarship. If you truly believe in choice, pass an education budget that accounts for the EdChoice Scholarship’s true cost, rather than sticking local taxpayers with the bill.

Sincerely,

NAME
ADDRESS
Mason, OHIO 45040

The Mason City School District strongly supports a family’s choice to send their child to whichever school best fits their child’s needs. We are proud to have high-performing schools that offer a myriad of opportunities, but also know that some families may find - for whatever reason - that Mason just isn’t the right fit for their child. We support a family’s decision, and partner with local private schools by providing transportation and ancillary services to ensure quality learning opportunities for all Mason students. 
 

Thank you for supporting Mason students, and taking action to support your schools!

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