Sunday, July 03, 2005

School Vouchers On The Rise In The Buckeye State

A bill just signed into law will make Ohio's voucher program the largest in the nation. Essentially, it's an expansion of Cleveland's voucher program which has been in place since 1996:

The tuition aid, which has been available in Cleveland since 1996, will allow up to 14,000 additional students statewide to leave public schools that have persistently failed academic tests and move to private schools, beginning in fall 2006.

The state's $51-billion budget that Republican Gov. Robert A. Taft signed Thursday includes funding for 14,000 children. The state will pay $4,250 for students in kindergarten through eighth grade and $5,000 for high schoolers. A total figure for the funding was not available.

Supporters of school choice have worked to set up and expand programs since 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Cleveland's program — which includes religious schools — did not violate the separation of church and state.

Some 14000 pupils will be eligible to participate, which is triple the current number. According to the Ohio News Network, that'll bring the total number of students who may participate to approximately 20,000. Besides Ohio, only Wisconsin and Florida offer similar voucher programs.
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