Vouchers Hurt Ohio is a growing coalition of public school districts that have come together to sue the state over the unconstitutional and harmful private school voucher program.
The private school voucher program hurts our schools and our kids by funneling money away from our public schools into private schools. Parents that want to send their kids to private school use the private school voucher program as a refund and rebate system so that they can use taxpayer money to fund their childs’ private education. A Cleveland TV station investigation found two of every three students in the private school voucher program were not previously enrolled in the local public schools.
Ohio’s private school vouchers began as a “pilot program,” but it has now become a refund and rebate scheme to reimburse families already committed to placing their children in private schools. The drain on public schools and children has been harmful, growing from $42 million a year in 2008 to $350 million in the 20-21 school year.
A separate line-item for private school vouchers would make conspicuous the growing amount of money taxpayers are shelling out for those who make a personal choice not to be associated with the traditional public school system that is necessary to educate all children. One thing is certain— a separate state budget line item established for private school vouchers will decrease funding to public schools and increase the overreliance on local property taxes.
House Bill 290 is the universal private school voucher bill that would make every student, every parent, and every school district in Ohio voucher eligible. This is a continued attack on the public school system as extreme lawmakers try to undermine public schools and create a separate but unequal class of private schools.
It’s possible, but also likely. The sponsor of House Bill 290, the universal voucher bill, said he was inspired by West Virginia’s recent law where they allowed homeschoolers to receive vouchers. The Ohio Senate version of the budget has a $250 tax credit for homeschoolers, the first of its kind in the state.
When it started as an experiment, the private school voucher program was $1,229 per voucher and it is now more than $6,500 per voucher. The budget that extreme lawmakers are proposing would guarantee up to $7,500 per private school voucher while these same lawmakers will spend about $6,000 per student in public schools. The Ohio Senate budget proposes a 25% increase for private school vouchers while increasing funding for children in public schools by only 1.5%.
We have precedent in Ohio for going directly to the courts when the Governor and legislature ignore the will of the people. The Coalition for Equity and Adequacy In School Funding sued the state in the ‘90s over school funding and the Ohio Supreme Court in 1997 ruled in our favor that that the system was unconstitutional. We are not alone in this battle either as coalitions similar to ours are forming in other states to challenge the constitutionality of private school vouchers through the legal system.
Our legal team is exploring a wide range of issues that include the unconstitutionality of the school voucher program, unlawful diversion of tax revenues, religious issues, the Thorough and Efficient Clause in the Ohio Constitution, equal protection, and other issues.
Vouchers Hurt Ohio has retained Walter | Haverfield, a top 10 Cleveland law firm, with more that 90 attorneys and offices in Cleveland, Columbus, Mayfield Heights and Avon.
For school districts wanting to join our coalition, call William L. Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding at 614.228.6540 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
To date, 74 districts have joined our coalition, including Columbus City Schools, the largest school district in Ohio. The districts represent a diverse cross section of large city, small town, urban, rural and suburban schools and communities. You can find the full list of districts here.
No. We send out weekly emails to keep our supporters up to date and informed about our effort to win in the court of public opinion and the court of law. We do not ask for contributions. Ever. The best way for you to be part of the campaign is to sign up for our email list and follow us on our social media pages.
For more information you can explore our website or reach out to William L. Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. He can be reached at email@example.com.