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School Choice Backers Want Legislation To Compel More Districts To Allow Open Enrollment

Kids walk to class in the hallway of Worthington Kilbourne High School.
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Students in the hallway of Worthington Kilbourne High School, Columbus area.

The advocates for school choice says too many suburban districts close their doors to children living outside their districts.

A Christian conservative group is among those advocating for school choice, and they say many good suburban schools throughout Ohio are not allowing open enrollment. They are working to get a bill that would change that.

The Buckeye Institute’s Greg Lawson says current law allows people to enroll their kids in neighboring public school districts. But he says many high-quality, suburban schools are not not admitting students outside their attendance boundaries.

"About 80% of school districts in Ohio allow complete open enrollment," Lawson says.

Aaron Baer with Citizens for Christian Virtue says those that don’t, should.

“It’s wrong for these predominately white suburban school districts to be blocking other children from being able to enroll there,” Baer says.

Republican Senate President Matt Huffman, a longtime supporter of school choice, says passing a bill that would require more suburban school districts to take part in open enrollment would be a challenge.

“To try to force those high wealth school districts into an open enrollment situation is pretty difficult," Huffman says.

Huffman says there isn’t a bill yet. But he says advocates for school choice are talking with lawmakers to find a sponsor for it. Baer says he expects a bill could be coming in a couple of months.

Contact Jo Ingles at