State Legislature Delays Action on Harmful Voucher Deductions from School Districts

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2020
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, Communications Director, Ohio Federation of Teachers
(412)266-4899; nbhaerman@oft-aft.org
 
State Legislature Delays Action on Harmful Voucher Deductions from School Districts
 
Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper released the following statement on today’s legislative action on private school vouchers:
 
“The Ohio legislature has delayed action on providing a remedy to the most harmful aspect of our private school voucher system, the unsustainable deductions from school district funds. We hope that legislators use this extra time to listen to educators, community school boards, and parents who have been urging, for years, that the legislature fulfill their constitutional duty to create a fair and equitable public school funding formula.
 
Many school districts have been severely hampered this year by funding that was lost to vouchers, including the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District which lost 34.6% of their FY 2019 state funding to pay for unfunded vouchers. If no action is taken before the new deadline of April 1, the number of eligible schools will more than double, and many more school districts will be unable to handle the increased drain on their budgets. 
 
We’re concerned that in their efforts to fix the out of control EdChoice performance-based voucher, some legislators are seeking to expand the EdChoice income-based voucher, potentially setting up another crisis as they drain public funds directly from the state budget rather than from individual school districts. 
 
We’re coming to a crossroads where policymakers will need to decide whether we fully fund quality public education for all students, or whether we create two different systems: one that serves 90% of Ohio students and receives responsible oversight from elected school boards, and one that is unaccountable to public stakeholders or education standards despite receiving an increasingly large amount of public funding.” 
 
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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.