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How Does The Ohio House Propose Changes To EdChoice Voucher Effect Barberton Students? Is the House Bill Socializing Education?

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BarbertonJournal.com is a news and entertainment provider with content by local writers, experts, and Community Leaders. Opinions are the writers.

Follow the money. The Ohio House wants to give it to the Public Schools and the low-income Ohio students. And the Ohio Senate wants to give it to the parents to decide where their child goes to school.

The Performance-based vouchers system called EdChoice is over. It was an expanded performance-based system where the State money followed the student. The House proposed a change to this program, which was to start Feb 17th., of an income-based State-funded scholarship called Buckeye Opportunity Scholarships. The Senate must still vote to accept the Buckeye Opportunity Scholarships. This changed from all Barberton students eligible for a voucher to only low-income Barberton High School students who still must pay $6,000 of the tuition. Let me explain.

Note: Both 44203 High Schools are on the list as Norton joins Barberton High School.

Norton High School is on the failing school list eligible for low-income vouchers under the proposed Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship.

The Buckeye Opportunity Bill, which passed the Ohio House 88-7, would immediately eliminate the recently passed EdChoice program, which awards $4,600 annually for K-8 vouchers and $6,000 for high school vouchers based on how a school ranks on Ohio‘s school report cards. Republicans and Democrats agree that the current grading system for the school performance is flawed. It does not reflect how well a school is educating its students, and it needs to be fixed. Students who currently get performance-based vouchers would continue to receive them, and certain school-age siblings could apply. But for everyone else in Ohio, the expanded EdChoice voucher program would be over before it started.

Ohio would replace the system with Buckeye Opportunity Scholarships, an income-based program that‘s funded entirely by the state and puts the poorest kids at the front of the line. Buckeye scholarships would be fully funded up to 250% of the federal poverty level (a little more than $65,000 annually for a family of four) and partially funded at 300% if there was enough money.

The EdChioce Voucher program of the Money Follows the Student was recently passed would have started applications Feb. 17. It would have allowed ALL students in a School District with one failing school to apply for a voucher. No income was used. The failing school district would lose $4600 for K-8 grades and $6,000 for High School in State aid, which would fund the program. The public schools expected a large loss of funds and complained to the Ohio House for a change.

School voucher advocates sued the state Monday, asking the Supreme Court to throw out the House-Senate 60 day delay of Ed Choice deal. They claim the delay harms Ohio children and families and “impacts hundreds of Ohio’s public and private schools.” The group asked the high court to order the state “to immediately begin accepting, processing, and awarding EdChoice Scholarship applications” as previously agreed upon.

Barberton High School is on the Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship list making low income students eligible to apply for a State Scholarship funded by $10 million of Ohio general funds.

Summary of the three programs. (All three use the same amount, K-8= 4,600, high School= $6,000. Hoban and St.V are about $12,000/year.

  • Orginal EdChoice, which is current this school year, based on failing schools and State-run failing school Districts. About 400 schools are eligible. Any student at the school or attending a State-run failing school district can get a voucher. The school district funds the program by losing state funds. The State-Run Failing School Disricts , like Cleveland, are subsidized by Ohio General Funds. Barberton students are not eligible.
  • Feb. 17th expanded Ed Choice: Money Follow The Student Law (now on a 60-day hold): 1 failing school in a district makes all the district students eligible for a voucher. About 4,000 schools. The school district funds the program by losing state funds. All Barberton students are eligible because 1 school, the High School, is failing.
  • Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship- only students in a failing school are eligible for vouchers. Ohio funds this with $10 million in state taxpayer funds. About 1200 schools are affected. The School district keeps the state fund for the transferring student. The scholarships are based on income with the lowest income first, no matter when they apply, and continues until the funds run out. Low income Barberton High School students are eligible, but $6000 only covers about 1/2 of the tuition.
  • Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship has one other feature. It would return all School Districts the State Education Dept took over as a failing system by June 1st to the local School Board. There are currently 4 in NorthEast Ohio including Cleveland City School District. The Senate agrees with this idea so it should go through.
  • The Ohio House and Ohio Senate still must agree. If the Ohio Senate does nothing, the Feb,17 Money Follows The Student law would start applications in 60 days. Therefore, the Ohio Senate controls any changes.

But does Buckeye Opportunity Scholarship sound goofy to anyone else? How does a family of 4 making 65,000 or less afford the $6,000 per student for a private Catholic High School? And the High School still applies their academic standards. (editor: it seems unless you are an outstanding athlete.) There will not be a lot of movement with this program which is why the Public Schools and House Democrats fought for the changes.

It does help Catholic Elementary Schools as the tuition is about $6000. But Barberton elementary students are not eligible. The Catholic High Schools are helped a little, as a low-income recruit would receive $6,000 with the School only needing to match the other $6,000. But this is not a large group.

It seems the current EdChoice Program is the best. The Income Follows The Student program is punishing for a district like Barberton and Norton, improving in the lower grades. Eventually, the improved students will become High Schoolers pulling up the rating. Why change to a watered-down income first program, which again hurts the working middle class? —-The rich can afford it. —The lower-income is given it. —The working middle-class is forgotten.

(OPINION)-It seems the Ohio House has responded to the Public Schools money loss under EdChoice. It is focusing on helping low-income students who are less likely to change schools. It forces the working middle-class to stay.

The Senate is focusing on the parent’s right to give their child the best education when a system is failing. It is trying to help the working middle class afford a change to a private school. The problem is the performance grading system focuses on the worst students in a school district regardless of income level which has shown to be a direct factor is a child’s performance. (There are always exceptions).

Maybe it is time to let the money follow the student where ever the parents choose. The current system of exempting state aid to private schools dates back to 1880. A leading Senator and Presidential candidate, Blaine of Maine, tried to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have prohibited direct government aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation preventing these new Catholic Schools for the new Catholic Immigrant, mostly Irish and Italian from starting. Blaine dislike and distrusted Catholics and the Pope. ( Source: National Review)

However, Thirty-eight of the fifty states later adopted provisions of the Blaine amendment in their state constitutions. The intent was Anti-Catholic. The separation of church and state was never the reason. It was an excuse.

The Supreme Court agrees. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last summer in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia vs Comer. In that case, the Court stated that excluding qualified institutions—like schools—from public benefit programs solely because of their religious affiliation is “odious to our Constitution . . . and cannot stand.” Religious freedom means you get to choose your religion. The U.S Government can not have a State Church like in Europe. Today’s Democratic liberal version of separation of church and state in an attempt to eliminate religion, which our constitution never intended.

The Supreme Court’s decision to examine these laws once more in the case of  Espinoza vs Montana Dept. of Revenue offers the chance to take a closer look at the bias that underwrote these laws — a bias still impacting religious people and institutions and racial minorities today. The South also passed the Blaine Amendment to prevent children of slaves from attending Christian schools instead of public schools. The Southern States had to enroll these children in a school before hey could rejoin the Union and elect representation to Congress.

The Espinoza case involves a Montana school-choice tax-credit initiative. The state legislature passed a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to private scholarship programs. But the state’s tax office excluded religious schools from receiving program scholarships again under the so-called church vs state argument The Montana Dept of Revenue office and the state’s highest court point to a provision in the Montana Constitution that broadly prohibits public funds “for any sectarian purpose or to aid any church, school, academy . . . controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination.” Montana chose to discontinue the program when Trinity challenged the State in court. The Supreme Court agreed with Trinity that the discontinuation was also potentially a religious bias. The case decision is expected by June.

Ohio may be forced by law to let the money follow the child. And the Constitution is not always what the politicians want you to believe. Read it. It is an amazing, god influenced, piece of writing.

Is our great Constitution is under attack again?

List of Summit, Stark, Portage, and Medina County Schools affected; (LINK BELOW FOR THE REST OF THE STATE SCHOOLS) Akron and Canton School Districts have problems. And Akron gave their Superintendent a large raise?

SummitAkron CityAkron Alternative Academy
SummitAkron CityBarber Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityBuchtel High School
SummitAkron CityCase Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityCrouse Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityEast Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityEllet High School
SummitAkron CityFindley Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityFirestone Park Elementary School
SummitAkron CityForest Hill Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityGlover Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityHarris/Jackson Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityHatton CLC
SummitAkron CityHelen Arnold Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityHill Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityHyre Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityInnes Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityJennings Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityKenmore/Garfield High School
SummitAkron CityKing Elementary School
SummitAkron CityLeggett Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityLitchfield Middle School
SummitAkron CityMason Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityMcEbright Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityMiller-South Visual Performing Arts
SummitAkron CityNorth High School
SummitAkron CityPfeiffer Elementary School
SummitAkron CityPortage Path Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityRitzman Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CityRobinson Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CitySam Salem Community Learning Center
SummitAkron CitySchumacher Community Learning Cent
SummitAkron CitySeiberling CLC
SummitAkron CityVoris Community Learning Center
SummitBarberton CityBarberton High School
SummitCopley-Fairlawn CityHerberich Primary Elementary School
SummitCoventry LocalCoventry High School
SummitCoventry LocalCoventry Middle School
SummitCuyahoga Falls CityCuyahoga Falls High School
SummitCuyahoga Falls CityElizabeth Price Elementary School
SummitCuyahoga Falls CityLincoln Elementary School
SummitCuyahoga Falls CityPreston Elementary School
SummitCuyahoga Falls CityRichardson Elementary School
SummitManchester LocalManchester High School
SummitMogadore LocalMogadore Junior High School
SummitNordonia Hills CityLedgeview Elementary School
SummitNorton CityNorton High School
SummitSpringfield LocalSpring Hill Elementary
SummitSpringfield LocalYoung Elementary School
SummitStow-Munroe Falls City SchoolFishcreek Elementary School
SummitStow-Munroe Falls City SchoolKimpton Middle School
SummitStow-Munroe Falls City SchoolLakeview Elementary School
SummitStow-Munroe Falls City SchoolStow-Munroe Falls High School
SummitTallmadge CityDunbar Elementary School
PortageCrestwood LocalCrestwood Intermediate School
PortageCrestwood LocalCrestwood Middle School
PortageField LocalBrimfield Elementary School
PortageField LocalField High School
PortageJames A Garfield LocalJames A Garfield Elementary School
PortageKent CityDavey Elementary School
PortageKent CityHolden Elementary School
PortageKent CityLongcoy Elementary School
PortageKent CityWalls Elementary School
PortageRavenna CityBrown Middle School
PortageRavenna CityCarlin Elementary School
PortageRavenna CityRavenna High School
PortageRavenna CityWest Main Elementary School
PortageRavenna CityWest Park Elementary School
PortageRavenna CityWillyard Elementary School
PortageRootstown LocalRootstown Elementary School
PortageSoutheast LocalSoutheast Intermediate Elementary School
PortageWindham Exempted VillageKatherine Thomas Elementary School
PrebleNational Trail LocalNational Trail Elementary School
MedinaBlack River Local*Black River Education Center Elementary
MedinaBrunswick CityBrunswick High School
MedinaBrunswick CityBrunswick Memorial Elementary School
MedinaBrunswick CityC R Towslee Elementary School
MedinaBrunswick CityHuntington Elementary School
MedinaBrunswick CityWalter Kidder Elementary School
MedinaBuckeye LocalBuckeye High School
MedinaBuckeye LocalBuckeye Junior High School
MedinaHighland LocalSharon Elementary School
MedinaMedina City SDEliza Northrop Elementary
MedinaMedina City SDEvolve Academy
MedinaMedina City SDGarfield Elementary School
StarkCanton CityAllen Elementary School
StarkCanton CityBarbara F Schreiber Elementary School
StarkCanton CityBelden Elementary School
StarkCanton CityBelle Stone Elementary School
StarkCanton CityCanton City Digital Academy
StarkCanton CityCanton Early College Academy at Crenshaw
StarkCanton CityCedar Elementary School
StarkCanton CityChoices Alternative School
StarkCanton CityClarendon Elementary School
StarkCanton CityDueber Elementary School
StarkCanton CityGibbs Elementary School
StarkCanton CityHarter Elementary School
StarkCanton CityHartford Middle School
StarkCanton CityLehman Middle School
StarkCanton CityMason Elementary School
StarkCanton CityMcGregor Elementary School
StarkCanton CityMcKinley High School
StarkCanton CityWorley Elementary School
StarkCanton CityYoutz Elementary School
StarkFairless LocalFairless Elementary School

‘Underperforming’ school: Is your school on the list?

1 COMMENT

  1. The schools have been aware of the failure to educate for years, by the bad report cards. The state stepped in to insure the students got the education the public schools did not provide. Are you concerned with the schools loss of money or are you concerned with the education of the students.

    No one should get paid for failure to educate.

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Mike Bodnar
Mike Bodnar
Admin of BarbertonJournal.com Ed: Barberton 1972. Ohio Northern University 1977 BS in Pharmacy. Retired Pharmacist. Grew up on the Northend and Crissman Park. I love Barberton and always will.

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