What is EdChoice?
The state of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship, or voucher program, began as a way to provide options for students whose local public schools were considered to be “failing” or “underperforming” by the state.
Ohio went from fewer than 300 school buildings eligible for vouchers in the 2018-19 school year to more than 1,200 buildings for the 2020-21 school year. That’s a 300% increase in two years.
Students entering kindergarten or high school do not need to have ever been a student in the public school district to qualify for an EdChoice scholarship, so long as their assigned public school is on the EdChoice list.
What is the amount of the EdChoice Scholarship?
$4,650 for students in grades K-8 and $6,000 for grades 9-12 for the 2020-21 school year.
How are EdChoice Scholarship vouchers funded?
This is not a state-funded program. The money used to pay for the vouchers comes from local districts. There is no “pass through” money from the state through the district to pay for these vouchers. The public school district must pay the scholarship amounts for as long as the student remains in private school - even if the public school is removed from the EdChoice list.
Additionally, once a student receives a voucher, the public school is responsible for paying the voucher every year, even if the report card improves. This can be a cost of roughly $65,000 to the public school district for one student’s academic career.
What criteria is used to determine this designation?
The Ohio Department of Education uses data from the Ohio School Report Card from 2013-14, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to designate a school as “underperforming”. A school building is determined eligible for EdChoice if they meet one or more of the following conditions during two of three reported years:
- Performance – If any of the following is true for two (2) report cards from 2014, 2018 and 2019: The school received a Performance Index grade of D or F and a Value-Added (overall) grade of D or F on the 2014 report card or the school received an overall grade of D or F or a Value-Added (overall) grade of F on the 2018 or 2019 report card.
- Graduation – The school serves grades 9-12 and received a Graduation Rate grade of D or F on any two report cards from 2014, 2018 and 2019.
- Lowest 10% - The school(s) ranked in the lowest 10 percent of public school buildings on the Performance Index on the Ohio School Report Cards for any two Performance Index rankings from 2014, 2018 and 2019; the school did not receive an overall grade of A or B on the 2019 report card.
- Literacy – The school received a grade of D or F for Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers on any two report cards from 2014, 2018 and 2019.
- District Performance – No districts are eligible under this criterion.
- Academic Distress – The school’s public district has an academic distress commission.
How can a school be removed from this designation?
Removal criterion is unclear at this time. We have reached out to the Ohio Department of Education for clarification on exit criteria and will share this information once we have a response.
How are private/parochial schools graded by the State?
They’re not. Private schools are not held to the same accountability as public schools. Their students are not subjected to the same state testing as public school students, even though they are receiving public funds.
Are private/parochial schools required to accept all students who are eligible for the EdChoice Scholarship?
No. Private/parochial schools are able to be selective with their enrollment process while public schools accept all students.
How does this impact North College Hill City Schools?
This year, North College Hill City Schools had three schools that were identified for the EdChoice Voucher Program.
What will be the projected financial impact to NCH City Schools?
The state will deduct from our public school district funding to cover the cost of scholarships awarded per student from our district.
The projected impact will be financially devastating for NCH and many other public school districts. It is difficult to predict the number of students who will leave, but we are projecting the financial impact to be:
For fiscal year 2019 - 2020: $495,000
For fiscal year 2020 - 2021: $616,650
For fiscal year 2021 - 2022: $695,700
For fiscal year 2022 - 2023: $770,100
For fiscal year 2023 - 2024: $839,850
For fiscal year 2024 - 2025: $914,250
Total estimated loss from FY20-FY25: $4,331,550
The Ohio Legislature is currently considering the effects and possible amendment of this program. If you have concerns, contact your legislators IMMEDIATELY. We have included a list of contact information to assist you. Thank you in advance for your help!
How to contact your legislators:
Senator Matt Huffman
Senator Bill Coley
Senator Lou Blessing III
Senator Steve Wilson
Senator Cecil Thomas
Rep. Sara Carruthers
Rep. Candice Keller
Rep. George Lang
Rep. Paul Zeltwanger
Rep. Cindy Abrams
Rep. Bill Seitz