MCS Joins Other Districts for EdChoice Reforms

Mason Schools Joins OH Districts in Calling for EdChoice Reforms
Posted on 01/16/2020

Today, Mason City Schools Superintendent Jonathan Cooper joined education leaders from around the state in advocating for critical changes to Ohio’s EdChoice Voucher program.

EdChoice drains resources from high-performing public schools and diverts scarce education funding to private schools. Districts must make up the difference with property tax levies. The state is creating two separate education systems -- and asking local taxpayers to fund the expansion.

“In Mason, our residents and educators are very worried about the financial impact that the expansion of EdChoice has on our schools and community. We appreciate that Sen. Wilson has expressed his concerns about the extreme effects the voucher deductions are having on school districts - particularly those like Mason who have had flat state funding,” said Cooper. “We strongly believe that the state should directly fund new vouchers by providing a state appropriation to cover the full cost of these vouchers, and that the state’s criteria for deeming a school ‘failing’ needs overhauled.”

Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program started out as a way to provide an alternative education choice for students whose local public school was considered by the state to be a “failing school.” However, the program has expanded to include students from public schools that are doing a great job. Mason earned an “A” on this year’s report card and 100% of our third graders met the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee’s requirements. Yet its Early Childhood Center (which educates students in grades PK-2) is deemed underperforming. 

EdChoice families receive a $4,650 voucher for students in grades K-8 and $6,000 for grades 9-12 for the 2020-2021 school year. Interestingly, while the state pulls this amount from the district’s local funding, the state only gives Mason $3,300 in funding per student each year. 

A growing number of students who have never been enrolled in a public school (the students were already attending a private school) are qualifying for district-paid vouchers, yet the school district pays.  Once a student obtains a voucher, they can continue to receive vouchers throughout their education (K-12th grade), even if the school district’s report card improves. This is a cost of more than $65,000 over the student’s academic career. EdChoice

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