It gives details for the expansion of the school voucher program included in the budget bill signed Sunday night by Gov. John Kasich. Because the numbers are limited, it's important to apply now.
When Governor Kasich signed the new biennial budget Sunday night, Ohio joined only Indiana, the District of Columbia, and Wisconsin as jurisdictions with an income-based scholarship or voucher program that empowers parents to make the best possible educational decisions for their children. The new $4,250 scholarship will be open to 2,000 kindergarten students (who live at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines) in the 2013-14 school year. The scholarship is slated to grow by one grade per year for the next 13 years--until current kindergarteners become high school seniors.
Ohio already had several school voucher programs including EdChoice (for students attending failing schools), Jon Peterson (for students with special needs), Cleveland, and Autism scholarship programs.
This new legislation marks a significant positive step on the path toward ultimately allowing state money to follow the individual child, so that parents--not bureaucrats--choose where their children will learn best.
The program becomes effective immediately. Applications could be submitted beginning July 1 and are now available on the Ohio's Department of Education website. For more details, visit a website designed by School Choice Ohio, www.scohio.org/scholarship. The deadline for submitting an application is July 31.
This is a great victory for parents and others looking to expand educational choices in Ohio, but there remains much to be done to achieve complete educational choice in Ohio. Despite the advent of charter schools and vouchers, thousands of students remain mired in failing school districts that are often beholden to special interests rather than accountable to parents. Until the day arrives when school funding fully follows each of Ohio's children, preparation for the next round of policy battles must begin. But for today, please join us in celebrating the exciting new school choice policy and spreading the word to those who may benefit from it before the fast-approaching deadline passes.