HB 136 could create a financial crisis for Granville Schools; will you please help me tell our legislators?
Posted by Jeff Brown, Superintendent
September 26, 2011
Families and Friends of Granville schools, I want to draw your attention to some important pending legislation that could have a very negative impact on our school district! House Bill 136 would require public schools to send your public tax dollars, along with those provided by the state, to private and parochial schools when students leave our schools. This could result in a significant financial crisis for our school district.
Currently, the Granville Schools must pay $5,782 for each student who leaves our district on open enrollment, which includes other public schools, digital or online schools, and charter schools. Of the $5,782 price tag, only $2,162 comes from the state of Ohio, and the balance comes from local tax revenue. Yet, this legislation proposes expanding this voucher program to include all private and parochial schools.
I understand and support that choice is necessary for parents and students in areas that have consistently low performing schools. I am opposed however, to giving tax dollars to private institutions that will financially penalize successful, high performing school districts such as Granville.
Here are some of the projected negative effects of this proposed legislation:
- The private and parochial schools that would get money under the voucher program created in the bill do not have to comply with all the same regulations as traditional public school districts.
- Private schools are not required to take all students, as traditional public schools do. Therefore, high-performing voucher students from well-rated schools could end up crowding out students from lower-ranked schools.
- There is little-to-no evidence that current voucher programs have increased academic achievement.
- The bill could interfere with the connection between the viability of a community and the strength of its schools.
HB 136, sponsored by State Representative Matt Huffman (R), created the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship (voucher) Program (PACT), a new statewide program allowing K-12 students to use a voucher to attend private schools. Click here for a copy of the latest version of the bill.
- Expands vouchers to students in all school districts, regardless of the academic report card rating of the school building or school district. The only qualifier for eligibility is household income. Students whose family income is less than $95,000 would qualify.
- Allows a phase-in period for students currently enrolled in private schools to be eligible for the voucher.
- If the private school tuition is less than the voucher amount, it allows parents to bank the excess dollars for college tuition and textbooks at any private school or college in Ohio.
- Deducts funding for the voucher from the resident school district’s funding.
During recent house testimony, Marc Schare, president of the Worthington Board of Education said funding the vouchers would upend the premised under which (local) residents approved the taxes, and he likened the program to taking local library levy money to buy residents gift certificates to Barnes & Noble.
I believe this is not a “choice” bill; it is an attack on public education.
The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO), the Ohio PTA, Ohio School Psychologists Association, and the Alliance for a High Quality Education are united in their opposition to this bill, stating…
“We are strongly opposed to this legislation and believe the voucher would be turning the state’s obligation to provide a thorough and efficient ‘system’ of public education into a private benefit, resulting in an unprecedented level of voucher expansion that could impact every school district in the state!”
I hope you will consider the effects of this proposed legislation on our schools and consider writing to our state lawmakers to express your concern regarding HB 136:
If you have questions regarding this legislation, please feel free to contact me via email or phone 740-587-8111. I appreciate your consideration of this important issue.