Ohio Governor John Kasich Unveils Expanded Statewide Voucher Plan

Jan 31, 2013, 17:13 ET from American Federation for Children

New program, announced as part of Governor's education plan, would significantly expand educational choice eligibility to Ohio families

WASHINGTON, Jan.  31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Federation for Children—the nation's voice for educational choice—today praised Ohio Governor John Kasich for his inclusion of a new private school choice proposal in his newly-unveiled education plan.

Included in the proposal are several provisions that dramatically increase the availability for school vouchers in the state, including a statewide income-based scholarship for families earning less than 200 percent of federal poverty (roughly $46,000 for a family of four) and a literacy-based scholarship for students who consistently fail the state's third grade reading test.

"We applaud Governor Kasich for the proposal he outlined today for providing increased educational options to more families," said Betsy DeVos, chairman of American Federation for Children.  "Ohio has a long track record of proven success with its current educational choice options, and it's fantastic to see the prospect of even more students having access to a high-quality education."

Governor Kasich's plan calls for qualifying students entering kindergarten to be eligible to receive a scholarship worth up to $4,250 per year to use at the school of their parent's choice.  The following year, vouchers would be extended to eligible students in kindergarten and first grade.

The Governor's plan would provide $8.5 million for vouchers in the 2013-14 school year, an amount that would increase to $17 million for the 2014-15 school year.

Nearly half of the 1.8 million students in Ohio's primary and secondary schools come from families that would meet the income level requirement for the proposed voucher program.

There are currently four school voucher programs operating in Ohio, serving more than 27,000 students. The largest of those programs, the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, is benefiting more than 17,000 students statewide.   

"Every child has unique educational needs, and their families deserve to have access to the best environment for those needs," said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children.  "The Governor is right to deliver educational options to all students in the Buckeye State, and I encourage leaders across the country to do the same thing in their own states."

The Governor's education plan will be included in the state budget, which will be released on Monday.

SOURCE American Federation for Children