Ohio bill calls for voucher eligibility for every student News, Sports, Jobs

COLUMBUS (AP) – All Ohio schoolchildren would be eligible for state vouchers for tuition in private schools under a new bill backed by the GOP at the General Assembly of the State.

The legislation was inspired in part by the coronavirus pandemic and the experience of parents who have seen some schools stop learning in person to slow the spread of COVID-19, said Rep. Marilyn John, a Republican from Shelby, to the Gongwer News Service.

“The vision is really to provide more choice for students and parents,” she said of the concept known as “backpack” funding, because money follows kids, what whatever school they attend.

The legislation would significantly expand the Ohio voucher system, which currently targets children in poorly performing schools and provides vouchers of around $ 4,500 for elementary and middle school children and $ 6,000 for high school students.

The two-page legislation introduced by John and Rep. Riordan McClain, an Upper Sandusky Republican, was meant to spark discussion, its sponsors said.

The proposal comes as Ohio lawmakers plan to change the way the state funds education to address disparities between poor and wealthy districts.

Ohio groups supporting the vouchers, such as the Center for Christian Virtue, praised the proposal. But defenders of public schools oppose it.

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