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Government/Politics

New Ohio School Report Cards Won't Impact Voucher Program

Licking Heights freshmen classroom 082119 - CHOW(1).jpg
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Students take a test in a high school classroom in Licking Heights in 2019.

A law passed last fall changes how students qualify for the EdChoice voucher program.

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed into law a bill allowing students opt out of college admissions tests. Added to that measure was the bill to scrap the state’s A-F grades for school districts and replace them with star ratings in five categories.

However, it won’t affect the state’s largest taxpayer-funded voucher program.

Huge numbers of school buildings with failing grades in some categories increased the number of students eligible for EdChoice vouchers in 2019.

Chad Aldis with the pro-charter school Fordham Institute said last year the EdChoice qualification was changed to kids in buildings that scored in the lowest 20% on the Department of Education’s achievement measure called the performance index.

“Now it doesn’t tie report card grades to it, such that there might be pressures to increase or decrease, whatever narrative you want to buy into – the report card grades. It’s completely divorced the report cards and EdChoice eligibility,” Aldis said.

The new state budget allows EdChoice students to use those vouchers to attend not just public schools but also private school. It also increases the dollar amounts for both EdChoice vouchers to $5,550 per K-8 pupil and $7,500 per high school student. EdChoice is still limited to families making up to 250% of the federal poverty level.

It increases the dollar amounts of the Cleveland Scholarship program as well.

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