Private School Vouchers Costing Ohio’s Public Schools $330 Million

COLUMBUS – As the American Legislative Exchange Council opens its annual policy summit today, one of ALEC’s major agenda items — diverting public school dollars to private school vouchers — is having a big impact in Ohio, with $330 million being drained from public schools for vouchers this year.

“For years, Ohio Republicans — with the backing of big-money donors like Betsy DeVos — have been pushing a privatization agenda, designed to take away resources from our public schools to fund private school vouchers and for-profit charter schools like the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which scammed taxpayers out of millions,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Led by privatization cheerleader Matt Huffman, the Ohio GOP included a provision in this year’s budget that put the state voucher program on steroids, leading to a huge expansion in spending on private schools, at the expense of our public schools. In Parma, that has led to $2 million being taken away from the district’s schools. In Wilmington schools in Clinton County, they’re spending nearly $400,000 more on private school vouchers. In North College Hill in Hamilton County, the public schools are losing more than $500,ooo more to vouchers. This hurts our public schools — and there is little evidence it helps students because research has found in state after state, including in Ohio, that voucher recipients often underperform on standardized tests.

In the wake of the ECOT scandal, as Ohio taxpayers are still waiting for the scam online charter school to repay more than $100 million they owe, we should not be wasting more money on dubious education schemes.”

Under President Donald Trump, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has waged an all-out war on public schools, continuing her decades-long agenda of promoting privatization schemes and for-profit charter schools.

Huffman has pushed for a statewide expansion of vouchers in every school district, no matter how well the local schools perform.