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School voucher changes pass another hurdle

Plans takes hundreds of schools off the voucher list
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:05 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - School choice vouchers are a hot topic once again.

The Ohio Senate just approved a new list of what kids are voucher eligible.

Some public school administrators says this wasn’t necessary if legislators would actually address the larger issue of school funding.

Even though over 800 schools are no longer considered voucher eligible, Washington Local Superintendent Kadee Anstadt, Ph. D., sees an alarming trend.

“I think it’s another effort to derail fair school funding. I think it’s another effort to attack public schools,” said Dr. Anstadt.

The senate approved a plan saying kids living in the borders of 470 schools could get a voucher for a private school. That list was almost 1200 last year before that plan was halted.

“So we’re going to take money away from your kids who are already struggling and we’re going to send it to some kids who qualify and who the private schools will take and we’re going to send it to them. Why are we doing this? Why don’t we just look at fair funding for all kids in Ohio,” said Dr. Anstadt.

“I’m excited. I’m absolutely excited,” said Ann Riddle, Executive Director of the Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund.

Riddle and her team advocate for school choice and says this bill is fairer because the eligibility is now not only based on the school’s performance but income as well.

“In some respects, I think it levels the playing field because it provides opportunities across the board for families especially those families in low income households,” said Riddle.

There is a school funding bill working its way through the legislature, it’s called the Cupp-Patterson bill. Dr. Anstadt believes that’s where the focus should be - a total reworking of the system.

“It’s like I’ve got a flat tire and I’m going to put air in it even though there’s a gigantic hole in it I’m going to keep pumping air into it. How about we put a new tire on,” said Dr. Anstadt. “If we sit there and wait for them to come to an agreement as to how they are going to fund the schools, while these kids attend a failing school it’s really the kids that are losing.”

The Ohio House takes up the measure next. If it passes the House it will be headed to the Governor’s desk.

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