FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 30, 2023
Contacts: Neil Bhaerman, Ohio Federation of Teachers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Newhall, Ohio Education Association, email@example.com
Maki Somosot, Ohio Organizing Collaborative, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Stein, Policy Matters Ohio, email@example.com
Expansion of Unaccountable Vouchers Undercuts Progress on School Funding
COLUMBUS, OH — Today, leaders from the All in For Ohio Kids coalition responded to the biennial budget passed by the Ohio General Assembly. Ohio Organizing Collaborative Co-Executive Director Molly Shack, Policy Matters Ohio Executive Director Hannah Halbert, Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper, and Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro released the following joint statement:
“Ohio students deserve fully funded, high quality, local public schools that help them reach their fullest potential, and it is the responsibility of our state legislators to enact a system that achieves this.
Legislators in the Ohio House took this responsibility seriously by passing a budget that increases state funding to public schools by nearly $1 billion and continues Ohio’s progress toward a full phase in of the Fair School Funding Plan – a funding formula based on what it actually costs school districts to educate their students. They also ensured that the data being used in that funding formula is current and accounts for the additional costs of educating students with disabilities and students who are learning the English language.
It is a monumental step forward that the House’s school funding commitment will be enacted in this budget, despite attempts by the Senate majority to cut more than $500 million from our schools. After decades of non-compliance with Ohio Supreme Court rulings, the legislature is on the brink of finally meeting its constitutional responsibility to fairly fund Ohio’s public schools.
Despite these gains, we have serious concerns with the General Assembly's expansion of unaccountable private school vouchers. The legislature’s new universal private school voucher scheme will ensure that state support for our public schools will be diminished to pay for tuition for private school students, no matter how wealthy their family is or how their school performs. Priority should be given to fully implementing the Fair School Funding Plan so that our public schools, where 90 percent of students attend school, receive the resources they need instead of expanding unaccountable private school vouchers. As educators, parents, students, and taxpayers we will be unwavering in reminding Ohio’s elected officials where their responsibility lies.
We are also deeply concerned by the inclusion of SB 1 in this budget. This radical policy change puts more power in the hands of an appointed partisan official while taking away the ability to make important decisions that impact schools in Ohio from non-partisan, elected State Board of Education members. Ultimately, the changes in SB1 will silence the voice of educators and voters when making rules and policies that impact education policy in Ohio. When education issues become divisive partisan battles, Ohio students suffer the consequences.”