File-Ohio school choice rally

More than 1,000 supporters of education choice, including charter, voucher and online schools, rally Wednesday, May 9, 2007, outside the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, seeking to solidify the Legislature's support for keeping their programs in the state budget.

(The Center Square) – Legislation to expand Ohio’s school choice eligibility was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday.

Senate Bill 89 will expand the state’s EdChoice Program, which allows students to apply for vouchers for private schools if they are in low-performing schools or low-income districts. Supporters say this bill provides more opportunities for students and parents, but opponents say it diverts potential public resources away from public schools and toward private schools.

Under the bill, sponsored by Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, parents can apply for the vouchers if their students are enrolled in schools ranked in the bottom 30% according to the performance index rankings. It also expands eligibility for all students who are in districts that have 20% or more low-income students.

The legislation also increases the income-based voucher program so students are eligible if they are at 250% of the poverty level. Previous law only provided eligibility to students at 200% of the poverty level.

“Thank you to [Gov. Mike DeWine]!,” School Choice Ohio Tweeted on Friday. “The [governor] just signed SB 89 expanding EdChoice Scholarships for low-income students. Performance-based EdChoice will now focus on the lowest-achieving 20% of schools.”

Both chambers of the Ohio legislature passed an agreed-upon version of the legislation last week after adopting compromise language through a conference committee.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.