During the last BOE meeting, the board discussed and approved a letter that will be delivered to Governor John Kasich and the members of the Ohio General Assembly. In the letter, Bellbrook –Sugarcreek BOE states that they, “Oppose the provisions of House Bill 59 and any legislation that seeks to transfer public dollars to support private education. They also oppose the taking of dollars from the already financially struggling public school district resulting in fewer resources for remaining students.”
In February, Gov. Kasich introduced a $63 billion proposal as House Bill 59. It is a proposal that consists of over 4,000 pages and can be read in its entirety on- line.
Kasich’s proposal is to addresses efforts to reform school funding. During Kasich’s State of the State address on February 19, Kasich said, “Education unlocks the future.” The plan contained in the HB 59 is designed to help more students obtain and have access to higher quality of education that is not necessarily in the district they live.
Currently, Ohio offers scholarship programs for students. The Ohio Autism and Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship provides funds to the disabled. The Ohio EdChoice Scholarship provides funding to students who are assigned or attend underachieving public schools. In addition to the scholarships available, Ohio offers open enrollment, career-technical magnet schools, lottery schools, home schooling, on-line learning. Students have a wide range of choices regarding their education needs.
In Gov. Kasich’s new proposal, he proposes an expansion of the Ohio EdChoice Scholarship program that will include an income-based scholarship for low income families. This expansion will allow funding to students to attend private or parochial schools. The program is designed to help families with a household income less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Should a student qualify, a tuition voucher will be provided $4,250 to any entering kindergartner. Parents will have a choice of participating private schools. The vouchers will continue through the first grade. The program will total $25.5 M over the biennium.
During the reading of the BOE’s letter, Mary Frantz read, “Schools that fail to make adequate progress on the 3rd grade reading program for two consecutive years, fund would be deducted from the resident district in the amount of $4,250 for each student K-8 and $5,000 for each student 8-12.”
The letter to the government officials was signed during the BOE meeting and will be mailed this week.