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Ohio Lawmaker Proposes Changing Eligibility Requirements on School Voucher Program

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Ohio Sen. Matt Huffman's plan would do away with many metrics for school vouchers and just consider income.

A lawmaker wants to change the eligibility rules for people who want to get scholarships from the state to send their kids to certain private schools. The plan is meant to provide more access for the middle class.

Republican Senator Matt Huffman of Lima wants to take the state’s various private school voucher programs and combine them into one system. Right now, vouchers go to children in so-called failing school districts, among other considerations.

Huffman’s plan would scrap those metrics and just consider income. If a family of four is making less than 200% of the federal poverty level – which is just over $49,000 a year – then the state could provide a voucher of up to $5,000 for K-8 education and $7,500 for high school.

Huffman suggests increasing that income level to 400% of poverty – which is $96,000 for a family of four – and the state could provide a reduced voucher of $3,700 for high school.

Critics say this would do even more to subsidize private schools and steer away from the original intent of helping families pay for education outside of a failing school district.

The vouchers would count towards private schools that are chartered by the state but are not public.