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State Legislators Hear Differing Views on School Voucher Fix

photo of classroom desks
Empty classroom desks

A rare President's Day committee hearing went on for hours at the Ohio Statehouse as lawmakers heard testimony on proposed changes to the EdChoice private school voucher program. Most of the witnesses were firmly in one of two camps – public schools or parochial schools.

EdChoice vouchers are paid by school districts, and a Senate plan would keep them. A House plan would replace them with income based vouchers, paid by the state. Princeton City Schools superintendent Tom Burton says his district gets just over $1,100 per student in state funding.

“Compare this to the $6,000 it will cost us if one high school student leaves to attend private school," Burton testified.

But Sr. Maureen Burke with St. John’s School in Ashtabula County says private schools offer a needed option for parents and the community.

“Historically, Catholic schools throughout Ohio and throughout our country have saved public schools money. We have made an investment very strongly in urban education.”

If there are no changes by April 1, the number of EdChoice eligible school buildings will double over this school year’s total.