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Husted defends Ohio private school voucher program facing legal challenge

Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio)

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio) says the EdChoice voucher program began as a way to help students in struggling school districts and he says it's still effective today.

Husted, who was Ohio House speaker when EdChoice passed in 2005, says families continue to support the vouchers today.

"When we focus on the kids, usually education conversations are easy. When we focus on the adults, that's when they get complicated. And this is about adults fighting over control and resources, not about what children and families want," says Husted.

Husted says EdChoice started with a Democratic co-sponsor, Dixie Allen of the Dayton area.

But the voucher program was rolled into the larger budget bill in 2005 and only received two Democratic votes.

Allen, who went on to become a Montgomery County commissioner, passed away in 2019.

Since the creation of EdChoice, the program has grown from 14,000 vouchers to more than 50,000 voucher participants and no longer has a cap to how many students can receive a voucher.

Most Democrats opposed the program more than 17 years ago and continue to criticize EdChoice.

The voucher program faces a legal challenge by public school leaders who say most families using the taxpayer vouchers to go to private school never intended to enroll in a public school.

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