Wednesday, September 25, 2019

New IO Report: More Money for Vouchers, Less Oversight of Charters

I have to admit, I was shocked at how quickly the Ohio Legislature and Governor forgot about the ECOT scandal -- the largest taxpayer ripoff in state history. Because the most recent budget that passed actually loosened regulations on charter schools.

More amazing still is the state's going whole hog in on Vouchers for families making as much as $100,000 a year. Just an unrelenting pursuit of the public funding of privately run schools. We've put out a new report at Innovation Ohio that details many of these provisions. But here's the most striking chart in the whole thing, as far as I'm concerned:

That's right. The average per pupil funding of private school students -- many of whom never really attended Ohio's public schools -- is now almost $2,000 more per pupil than the what the 1.7 million students in Oho's public school system receive.

Remember that in the landmark Zelman U.S. Supreme Court case that ruled Ohio's Cleveland voucher program constitutional, then-Chief Justice William Rhenquist said it was not a violation of the constitution's Establishment Clause because in large part the program was deisgned to help students in failing schools and the per pupil amount was a pittance compared with what public school students received from the state.

Now that 95 percent of Ohio school districts lose at least some funding to private school vouchers and the average per pupil funding for these programs far outstrips the average funding for public school students, it's right to wonder whether the current Ohio voucher program would meet muster under the Zelman decision.

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