However, there is a crisis facing public education in Ohio. And that crisis is the EdChoice Voucher program. This is a program that when I left the legislature in 2010 cost taxpayers $60 million. It is now about $150 million, and it's only growing.
Unlike Charter Schools, when taxpayer money is used by private schools to subsidize their tuitions, the state doesn't audit how the money is spent.
But even worse than that, it hurts kids who don't take the voucher -- kids who tend to be less well off, less white and with more special needs.
Every kid in 3 of 4 Ohio school districts receive less state and local revenue because of this and other voucher programs.
This is not just an issue for large, urban school districts. Only 1 poor, rural or small town district lost any money to EdChoice vouchers in 2010. It's now throughout our rural communities and the money has jumped from $10,400 in 2010 to more than $850,000 today.
As districts face huge budget cuts in the coming school years, it behooves them to defend every dollar they can so their students have all they need to succeed. That's why the folks at Real Choice Ohio, which fought for years to help districts cope with charter school losses to great success, have started a series of workshops to help districts educate and inform parents nd their communities about the dangers of the EdChoice vouchers to their kids and other kids' futures.
The first pillar of these conferences deals with the overall problem facing districts and the kids theiy serve. I am helping to lead this pillar, complete with Power Point presentations and I will be moderating an all-star panel on the EdChoice and voucher problem next week.
Signing up is easy and cheap -- $100 for all 4 pillars, which covers 5 participants. I would urge any school district officials, teachers and parents who are concerned with the threat these voucher pose to public education to sign up and join us.
We must push back. Together. I look forward to working with all of you.