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Posted on: February 11, 2020

To:      School board members, superintendents, treasurers and other school business officials

From:  Will Schwartz, OSBA — (614) 540-4000

            Barbara Shaner, OASBO — (614) 325-9562
            Kevin Miller, BASA — (614) 846-4080

Re:      Tell Ohio Senate, Gov. DeWine to support SB 89, as passed by the House!

Over the past several weeks, both the Ohio House and Senate have negotiated to revise the Educational Choice Scholarship Program (EdChoice). To date, neither chamber can agree on a joint solution. Facing the prospect of 70% of the state’s districts having a voucher-eligible school on April 1 and under the cloud of a lawsuit filed by school choice groups, the General Assembly must act now to address the program. 

The House this week unveiled its plan in Senate Bill (SB) 89, which passed the House by a vote of 88-7. The bill phases out district-paid EdChoice vouchers, increases income-based voucher eligibility from 200% to 250% of the federal poverty level and requires the state to pay the voucher if a student is both income-eligible and building-eligible beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. The plan also dissolves the three academic distress commissions (ADCs), establishes a moratorium until 2024 for new ADCs and sunsets the school district territory transfer law on Sept. 1, 2020. 

We continue to fight for freezing the eligibility level at 200% of the federal poverty level; providing funding to offset losses due to exponential voucher growth; establishing meaningful accountability measures for private schools that accept vouchers; and immediately repealing the territory transfer law.

While the bill does not address all our concerns and has room for improvement, it is the best solution thus far. We support the House plan — SB 89.

We urge you to make contacts requesting support of SB 89! Contact your senator, including Senate President Larry Obhof; Gov. Mike DeWine; and DeWine’s regional representatives. Click here for their contact information.

A press conference that includes superintendents, board members, and treasurers from around the state will be held at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 11 a.m. Educational leaders also are making plans to conduct regional press conferences on Wednesday, Feb. 12. In addition, we will provide a sample Op-Ed and letter to the editor in the coming days. If you have not yet done so, please pass a resolution in opposition to Ohio’s EdChoice voucher program. Click here for a sample resolution.