Poll finds large opposition to voucher plan

There is a large and growing level of opposition to the plan to effectively privatize public education in Ohio via HB136.

A new poll (see below) just released finds the public overwhelmingly does not support more vouchers. The BASA, OASBO and OSBA poll found Sixty percent of voters polled said they do not think Ohio tax dollars should be used for private school tuition subsidies. The poll also found

Another topic of the survey addressed the accountability of private schools receiving tax subsidies. The survey asked whether private schools accepting voucher students should be required to maintain the same standards of testing and assessment of overall student performance as their public school counterparts. More than 85% of respondents strongly favor common assessment practices for students in all schools — whether public, private or parochial.

Following on from that, the Time-Reporter has an article titled "Superintendents blast voucher bill"

Some superintendents in the Tuscarawas Valley think a proposal to expand Ohio’s school voucher program would have a negative impact on public education in the state.

Ryan Delaney, superintendent of Claymont City Schools in Uhrichsville, termed the bill a “disaster.”

“I hope it fails,” he said.
“I’ve been watching this bill because it will have an impact — directly or indirectly — on this area and public education,” said Jeff Staggs, superintendent of Newcomerstown Exempted Village Schools.
Vouchers were originally put in place to help students coming from failing school districts, said Bob Alsept, superintendent of New Philadelphia City Schools.

“I understand that,” he said. “Now they’re looking at extending that. I don’t see how that’s not taking money away from public education.”

It isn't just Superintendents, who some might argue would naturally oppose this plan, it is also organizations that might be expected to strongly support it

While the Catholic Conference of Ohio testified in favor of HB 136, it has reservations about the legislation that was approved by the House Education Committee.

Keough said the Catholic Conference hopes the bill can be amended so it can be fair to public schools and public school students while also benefiting scholarship students.

“We want to champion school choice that can benefit the working poor and lower middle-income families without undermining the public school system,” he said.

Coupled with the initial massive expansion, over time, students whose parents would have normally paid for their children's private education will be able to take advantage of this scheme, and the money sucked from the public education system will have disasterous effects. Greg Mild at Plunderbund crunched some numbers and the results are shocking. You should check out the full analysis, but here's some snippets

  • 538 out of 612 (88%) school districts have a voucher ratio greater than 1.0, meaning that the voucher amount deducted from the district and given to the private school is greater than the per pupil amount allocated to the public school district.
  • 185 school districts have a voucher ratio of 2.0 or higher, resulting in a voucher payment of more than double the public funding amount.
  • Of the 185 school districts with a voucher ratio of higher than 2.0, 142 achieved a rating of Excellent or Excellent with Distinction from the Ohio Department of Education for the 2010-2011 school year.
  • School districts with an Excellent with Distinction, the highest rating obtainable in Ohio and a demonstration of sustained excellence, have an average voucher ratio of 2.35. This means that HB136 would make the statement that private school students in these districts should receive 2.35 times as much funding as these high-performing public schools
  • The Upper Arlington City SD is reported as having a negative state school funding dollar amount, resulting in a situation where no student would have access to the voucher funding proposed in HB136
  • Some of the highest performing districts will have to pay over 10x the amount they receive from the state in private school tuition
  1. Rocky River City SD – 12.88 x per pupil funding
  2. Olentangy Local SD – 10.47 x per pupil funding
  3. Sycamore Community SD – 11.20 x per pupil funding

Ohio Survey shows voters donʼt support government subsidies for private schools

HB 136 presents a grave and present danger to the contiuned viability of public education in Ohio. You should contact your legislator immediately and strongly urge them to oppose this radical legislation.