Ohio

Eye on Education

Topics

ticket

How Ohio’s Voucher Program Works

Background

Ohio has several different school voucher programs. Voucher programs are publicly funded tuition subsidies for students attending private schools.

EdChoice

Ohio’s EdChoice program is intended to give students who attend the state’s worst performing public schools chances to attend private schools.

If a student is assigned to a public school that has been designated in “Academic Watch” or “ Academic Emergency” for two of the last three years, then that student is eligible for an EdChoice scholarship. Students who attend a charter school but would otherwise be going to one of those failing schools can also apply for the scholarship.

Students in grades K-8 are eligible for up to $4,250, and high school students can get up to $5,000, or the cost of tuition if that is lower.

The 2011 Ohio state budget expanded the voucher program from 14,000 vouchers to 30,000 for the 2011-12 school year. That number will double the following year to 60,000. In the past, the Ohio Department of Education didn’t have enough vouchers to meet demand for them.

The 2013 state budget expanded the voucher program to make students from low-income families eligible for vouchers — even if their local schools are high-performing. The low-income voucher program starts with kindergarteners this fall and adds an additional grade each year. The change makes Ohio one of the three states that make students eligible for vouchers based on their families’ income, according to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

The 2013 state budget also expanded the voucher program by eventually making students in schools that do poor jobs of teaching students in grades K-3 reading eligible for vouchers.

Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program

Cleveland is the only Ohio city not participating in the EdChoice program. That’s because Cleveland has its own voucher program – one of the oldest voucher programs in the nation.

The Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program is open to students grades K-12. Students from low-income families get preference in receiving vouchers.

Special Needs Scholarships

There are two other voucher programs for children with special needs: the Autism Scholarship program and the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship program. Unlike the EdChoice voucher program, these vouchers are available to students who currently attend private schools or are homeschooled.

The Autism Scholarship program awards parents of students with autism or some autism-spectrum disorders up to $20,000 a year to receive special education services outside of their local school district.

The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship program awards the parents of students receiving special education services, i.e., who have an Individualized Education Program, up to $20,000 to send their children to special education programs other than the one operated by their local school district.

Latest Posts

Why Ohioans Might Care What Jeb Bush is Up To

Our colleagues at StateImpact Florida report that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is shaping education policy in Ohio and nationwide, even though he no longer holds public office–and the public office he did hold was based some 900 miles from Ohio. Bush founded the twin nonprofits the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Foundation for Florida’s Future to push [...]

Three Ways Ohio’s Proposed Statewide Voucher System Differs from Existing Voucher Program

Quy Nguyen DaiNGUYEN DAI / Flickr Ohio already has a voucher program that uses public dollars to pay for private-school scholarships for students attending low-performing schools. It’s called the EdChoice program. (There are separate voucher programs for Cleveland students and for students with autism or other special needs living in any district.) Now state lawmakers [...]

How Publicly Funded Private School Scholarships Could Reach a District Near You

A group of students talk at a private school.

Today, Ohio students who attend low-performing public schools can get publicly funded scholarships – or vouchers – to attend private schools. Legislation to expand those private-school scholarships to children throughout the state is now working its way through the Statehouse. And the scholarships would have an unusual funding source: tax credits.

Kelley Williams-Bolar is Organizing an Ohio “Parents Union”

Kelley Williams-Bolar is back in the spotlight. The Akron woman who was convicted of charges related to lying in order to send her children to a nearby suburban school district is organizing an “Ohio Parents Union,” the Akron Beacon Journal’s John Higgins writes. The parents’ group is intended to “counter the influence of teachers’ unions.” And this weekend, Williams-Bolar [...]

Mapping a Path Forward to 2012 in Ohio Schools

Among the top stories we’ll be following in 2012 Ohio education news: School funding: Look for a new K-12 school funding model from Columbus in the first part of 2012. College readiness: Early this year, expect to see Columbus focus on increasing the number of high school graduates who are actually ready to take English and math courses at [...]

MAP: See the Ohio Counties with the Highest Rates of Private School Enrollment

% Ohio Students in Private School By County

In 2011, Ohio lawmakers doubled the number of school vouchers that students attending or assigned to low-performing schools can use to cover part of the cost of private-school tuition. The number of available vouchers will double again in 2012. And lawmakers also tried to expand the voucher program to allow students at any public school to get a [...]

MAP: See the Ohio Counties with the Highest Rates of Private School Enrollment

% Ohio Students in Private School By County

With this focus on using more public money for private-school tuition, we looked at where exactly Ohio’s private schools are located and how many of the students in each county attend private schools. Unsurprisingly, private-school attendance rates are highest in urban areas, which also tend to have the highest numbers of private schools. But about a dozen counties, mostly in rural areas, don’t have any private schools.

Six Ohio Education Stories to Watch in 2012

Ohio school districts to state: "Show me the money."

Here’s our take on the six education stories to watch in 2012: 1. School funding. School funding. School funding. Look for a new K-12 school funding model from Columbus in the first part of 2012. The previous model was scrapped in 2011, with the promise of a new formula for distributing state money to Ohio’s [...]

MAP: See the Ohio Counties with the Highest Rates of Private School Enrollment

% Ohio Students in Private School By County

In 2011, Ohio lawmakers doubled the number of school vouchers that students attending or assigned to low-performing schools can use to cover part of the cost of private-school tuition. The number of available vouchers will double again in 2012. And lawmakers also tried to expand the voucher program to allow students at any public school to get a [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education