- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -

« News Home

Expansion of school vouchers in Ohio fails on many fronts

Published: Tue, October 4, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Just as many public school districts in the Mahoning Valley and throughout Ohio are vigilantly trying to slay the dollar-slashing demons of stinging cuts in state subsidies, falling local revenue and weakened federal support, along comes a bevy of Republican state lawmakers who want to agitate an already out-of-control fiscal monster.

Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, sponsor of House Bill 136, and his cohorts plan a massive expansion in the state’s voucher program that would translate into an exodus of students – and millions of dollars in state support – from public school districts large and small, rich and poor in every nook and cranny of Ohio.

The proposal flunks the common-sense test on a multitude of platforms: It could propel some school districts to the precipice of fiscal collapse. It could reverse ongoing gains in public-school student achievement. And it could raise serious constitutional challenges to the state’s commitment to separation of church and state.

All told, school boards throughout the region have legitimate objections to the legislation. Some have adopted resolutions of firm opposition to it. Others should follow suit, and all Ohioans concerned about preserving quality public education should tell legislators to torpedo this ill-conceived and potentially destructive plan.


In its current form, approved by committee and heading for a full House vote, HB 136 would deduct about $5,800 from a school district’s state aid for each student who receives a voucher.

Considering the mammoth expansion HB 136 proposes in student eligibility, many public schools would be squeezed into a deeper fiscal abyss. That’s because the legislation would allow any student in any district whose family makes less than $95,000 a year to get a voucher to cover the cost of tuition at a private or parochial school. The current voucher program essentially is reserved for students from low-income (at or near poverty levels) families.

What’s worse, the new vouchers would be available to students in districts of all achievement levels. The current program restricts vouchers to those in districts that are ranked as poor or failing. That means an expansion from only six districts in the state – including Youngstown and Warren – to all 600-plus districts, even the 350 rated excellent and excellent with distinction.

Mark Schare, a school-choice proponent and president of the Granville Board of Education near Columbus, recognizes the sleight-of-hand machinations in the proposal. “The issue is the diversion of local property-tax dollars to a cause other than what it was intended to do,” said Schare. “It would be as if the Legislature took dollars from a local library levy and used those dollars to fund gift certificates for Barnes & Noble.”

The bill also represents a gigantic erosion in the widely valued principle of separation of church and state. Many of the tax dollars taken away from public school districts administered by publicly-elected school boards with publicly-funded tax dollars would be channeled toward competing religious schools.

As Samuel Rabinove, former legal director of the American Jewish Committee, points out: “In fact, the primary beneficiaries of any voucher legislation would be religious schools, which comprise 87 percent of nonpublic schools.”

If Ohio Republicans succeed in steamrolling this misguided, constitutionally anemic, public-schools-be-damned legislation through the General Assembly, we would count on a popular initiative to repeal it. But to avoid such time and turmoil, the legislation ought to be quashed post haste at the Statehouse. Local school leaders do not deserve the additional havoc such an unbridled expansion of vouchers would wreak on their already distressed districts.


1kathyfalk(2 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

There is no doubt that we should better build schoolrooms for “ the boy,” than cells and gibbets for “the Man” learn to get a degree from "High Speed Universities" article in few months and get a job

Suggest removal:

2valleyred(1103 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I support this bill wholeheartedly. Finally parents in the suburbs will have the extra financial resources to send their children to the best schools in the area, aka the Catholic Schools and other private religious schools.

This, coupled with the anticipated economic boom from the utica shale fracking in the Valley, will help preserve the standing of the Catholic and other private religous schools in the Valley that have struggled to keep their doors open due to declining enrollment and rising tuition costs.

I just wish parents would think twice before sending their children to some of the charter schools in the Valley. Many are just as bad as the Youngstown City Schools and they should NOT be able to receive voucher money if they continue to fail.

Just remember Vindicator, the top schools for academics in the past few decades locally have been Ursuline, Mooney, and JFK. People never want to mention that, but their graduation results and test scores trump the Poland's, Boardman's, and Canfield's of the area.

YES ON HB 136!

Suggest removal:

3jmagaratz(189 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Call HB 136 for what it is....an all out assault on "local control."

Suggest removal:

4jmagaratz(189 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

note to valleyred.....

comment of achievements of Catholic schools vs public schools somewhat partisan and narrow-minded....those schools have large numbers of Catholic students that could attend Ursuline and Mooney but aren't....do those parents know something?

Suggest removal:

5AnotherAverageCitizen(1193 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

So he wants to take money from the public schools and give our taxmoney to private schools. Its still our taxmoney going to schools. All it will do is send the same students to different schools. now, Catholic schools will have a lot more noncatholic students in them. It won't be long when someone complains they are teaching religion at Mooney.

Suggest removal:

6meagain(85 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

This is wrong on so many levels I’m not even sure where to begin. First off public schools are required to take any student within their attendance borders regardless of race, creed, gender, family morals, behavior or ability. While I can appreciate that our local parochial schools do a super job of educating the students who select to attend there, the bottom line is they can reject any student they do not wish to educate. Public schools accept and educate everyone including those with limited IQ and improper behavior. Comparing public schools with private schools or even schools from other countries is not an equal comparison. It’s apples to oranges. Until they accept and educate everyone you can't even begin to compare.

Secondly, to give everyone a voucher for $5,800 to take to the school of their choosing is unacceptable. I don’t pay close to $5,800 in taxes thus the difference between what I pay and the $5,800 voucher is being made up for by someone else’s tax dollars. How is it right for your tax dollars or my tax dollars to support anything other than a public school? What if I ethically do not believe in the mission of your school? Why should you be allowed to take my tax dollars to support your school and thus your mission? This just opens a can of worms I am not willing to open.

All of this is just another attempt to destroy public education. Of course the bigger question you should be asking yourself is why. It almost certainly has to do with the money. Those in power see this as a cash cow opportunity for themselves or their buddies to get rich off of you. Follow the money. Who owns charter schools? Who are their buddies? Who are they in bed with? This isn’t about making anything better or more affordable for you. Think segregation was bad? Just wait until they can legally create school groups based on any bias they want and use your tax dollars to do it!

Suggest removal:

7Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

" How is it right for your tax dollars or my tax dollars to support anything other than a public school? What if I ethically do not believe in the mission of your school? Why should you be allowed to take my tax dollars to support your school and thus your mission?"

Ah yes life was much simpler living an the banks of Walden Pond. Refusing to support the vast injustices inflicted upon me by the evil Government.
This idiotic thought process would lend itself to the entire tax paying population to refuse, or protest every last cent of tax revenue from being collected.

Suggest removal:

8Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

"It almost certainly has to do with the money. Those in power see this as a cash cow opportunity for themselves or their buddies to get rich off of you"
Ah , we might be on to something. It can be viewed that it is the Teacher's Unions as the one's being in power, and they are the Cows that are trying to prevent the people from having a choice.
There is not a doubt in my mind that you are a Union Rep. for a local Teachers Union, just admit it.
Like Dimebag stated so eloquently ,"Boy, That competition thing really sucks, don't it !!!".

Suggest removal:

9Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

"This isn’t about making anything better or more affordable for you. Think segregation was bad? Just wait until they can legally create school groups based on any bias they want and use your tax dollars to do it!
Ah , yes , and when all else fails, cry RACISM.
Strait from the Democrat party handbook.
How pathetic.

Suggest removal:

10meagain(85 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Being idiotic and of course pathetic I'll respond just to clear up your assumptions:

"Union Rep local teacher's union" - wrong!
"democrat" - wrong!

As for crying racism - wrong again! Simply trying to point out that people could begin to create schools along any biased divide they prefer. Race may only be one of the choices. They could make schools for any reason and purpose of their choosing at tax payer cost. It is a slippery slope I am not willing to tread down. Just saying we need to be careful and not take anything at surface level and of course look at far reaching ramifications. Hey maybe I'll start a school for pathetic idiots and you can start one for sensationalized name callers.

Suggest removal:

11Education_Voter(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Bad News ValleyRed.
The state actually publishes the scores that parochial kids with vouchers get on the state tests.
Math Scores of Voucher Students in state:
3rd grade 55% passed
4th - 37.7%
5th - 20.5%
6th - 40.9 %
7th - 41.1%
8th - 42.8%

Science was tested twice: 5th grade 31.8% passed in voucher schools;
8th grade 35.8%
It gives local scores too. The maligned Youngstown City Schools beat them out.

Suggest removal:

12momdelawder(1 comment)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

I think the vouchers are a great idea. If GOD had not been taken out of the public schools, then my children wouldn't have to be in a private school.

Suggest removal:

13jmagaratz(189 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

memo to momdelawder:

God has not been taken out of the public schools because God can never be taken from anything!

What has been taken out is STATE REQUIRED PRAYERS. My personal preference is that all public schools should be required to have students recite the prayers of the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH....

Suggest removal:

14countryboymark(25 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Competition leads to success. Giving people more say in their tax dollars is a right. Public schools are funded unconstitutionally in Ohio!

Vote Yes on HB 136!

P.S. Why would they only quote a representative from the Jewish community about separation of state? I am pretty sure people can open a school based in Jewish beliefs if they wanted to...

Suggest removal:

15peacelover(838 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Doesn't a taxpayer funded voucher for a religious school violate separation of church and state?

Suggest removal:

16Education_Voter(1167 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

See my post above. The one with the parochial scores.

Suggest removal:


HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2016 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes