Senate Action on EdChoice Vouchers is a Freeze, Not a Fix

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, Communications Director, Ohio Federation of Teachers
(412)266-4899; nbhaerman@oft-aft.org
 
Senate Action on EdChoice Vouchers is a Freeze, Not a Fix
 
The Senate unanimously passed a bi-partisan amendment today that provides clarity on many educational issues that have been caused or put on hold by the state’s COVID-19 response. The House is expected to concur with the amendment this afternoon. 
 
OFT President Melissa Cropper released the following statement:
 
“The Ohio Senate took action today to freeze building eligibility for EdChoice performance-based vouchers. Unfortunately, total voucher recipients will most likely increase, as new students entering kindergarten and high school in eligible buildings are still eligible for EdChoice vouchers, along with any siblings of current voucher recipients. 
 
This freeze on building eligibility is a temporary reprieve at best. It is certainly not a fix to the escalating problem we have in Ohio of diverting public funds to unaccountable private schools. School districts like Cleveland Heights-University Heights and other high poverty districts will continue to be disproportionately affected and will continue to suffer budget shortfalls. 
 
We look forward to working with the legislature to substantially address EdChoice vouchers in a bipartisan manner when we are past the current state of emergency. 
 
We thank the Senate for taking action to waive student testing, and corresponding accountability for teachers and schools. And we also thank them for allowing school districts to make a determination about graduation requirements based on whether students were on track to graduate before the school closures. These were the right decisions, and we appreciate the governor’s leadership on this and on the state’s response to COVID-19.”
 
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The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is comprised of more than 50 local unions representing 20,000 members who are active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality education and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education professionals. OFT is affiliated with the 1.7 member American Federation of Teachers.