BATH TWP.: The Revere Board of Education approved Tuesday a resolution opposed to a section of Gov. John Kasich’s biennial budget plan to expand part of the Educational Choice Scholarship Program. This expansion would increase significantly the number of publicly funded vouchers for students to attend private or parochial schools, according to Revere officials.
In one case, the proposed plan would provide vouchers to parents with a household income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level for any kindergarten student to attend any private or parochial school. The following year, the program would be expanded to include both kindergarten and first grade. The Ohio School Board Association estimates that this expansion would total $25 million over two years and would be granted regardless of the quality or academic performance of the student’s assigned public school.
The second part of the proposed plan would expand vouchers to students enrolled in schools that do not meet the Third Grade Reading Guarantee for two successive years.
“Our concern is that the voucher bill would move local money to a voucher program,” said Revere Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer David Forrest. “This opens the doors on vouchers.”
Additionally, Revere officials expressed dismay about a lack of accountability.
Superintendent Randy Boroff explained that this could allow parents to take a student from a school district ranked “Excellent,” such as Revere, along with the state portion of funding for that student – an amount that could range from $700 per student in Revere’s case to upwards of $4,000 in other districts – and place the child in a parochial or private school that would not have the same accountability measures as public schools.
“This is not a good thing for public education,” Boroff said, referencing the reduction in funds from “already beleaguered local public school districts,” as stated in the resolution.
This Revere-approved resolution will be forwarded to the governor and the Ohio General Assembly, joining similar resolutions from other districts around the state.