Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Legislature Ignores Cat 4 Storm to Avoid Cat 5

The Ohio Senate is about to vote out a so-called "fix" to Ohio's voucher explosion. However, it only really deals with the cliff that is approaching and ignores the fact that for many districts, the storm has already hit and at full force.

See, Ohio's voucher explosion is hurting districts this year. Next year, when the number of buildings eligible for vouchers could have jumped from about 500 to about 1200, would have been worse. But this year is (and this is important) still bad. The number of buildings did double this year. Just because it won't double again doesn't mean this doubling is great.

How bad is it? Well, $62 million more is leaving school districts for private school vouchers this January than left last January. And this "fix" will not slow down that increase. T
his has profound effects upon school districts, which in many cases had almost zero dollars headed out the door to vouchers just two years ago.

In addition, the loss of state revenue means school districts have to come up with local revenue to make up the shortfalls. In some cases, a lot of revenue. For example, in North College Hill outside Cincinnati, the owner of a home of median value in Ohio (about $150,000) would have to pay another $222 in property taxes just to make up for the ADDITIONAL $589,000 voucher loss between this and last year.

Here are the 25 districts that would require the most money from median home value owners in their districts to make up for the additional losses between this and last year. These calculations do not include money already headed out the door to private schools other than the increased losses this school year, which has been driven by the EdChoice debacle.

These districts run the gamut from urban districts like Toledo and Youngstown to small, more rural districts like Lowellville.

The voucher "fix" current under consideration would do nothing (I repeat) NOTHING to fix the current problem in front of our face.

Districts will still need to go to the ballot to make up for these additional losses. They're still facing massive new funding shortfalls with little to no state revenue to offset it.
This program is exacerbating the reliance on property tax issue that forced the Ohio Supreme Court to rule four times the way we fund schools violates the Ohio Constitution.

School districts must receive some sort of state funding relief from this onslaught by the voucher zealots who think that investing more and more in a program whose proponents say result in worst academic performance.

Just because you avoid a Cat 5 hurricane doesn't mean the Cat 4 you're standing in is a calm breeze.

It's still a hurricane.

And it's still dangerous.

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