The legislators are still debating the EdChoice issues. There are committee meetings being held for Senate Bill 89. Superintendents, Board Members and Parents are being asked to contact their legislators and speak up. I am asking that you participate.
Senate Bill 89 is not the whole answer but is a start in the right direction and gives us room to work out the rest. Because of this, the superintendent and Board Member state organizations along with many others are promoting this bill. I have included some talking points and a sample letter to send to legislators. There is a link to find the contact information for your legislators.
Another call to action right now is to go to Columbus to testify in front of the legislators. As superintendents we are being asked to tell the story of our districts. We need to tell how EdChoice will affect our district if things are not modified. We are also being asked to invite students who have graduated and done well or their parents so they can tell the story of Finneytown successes. Parents are being asked to testify that they did not vote for tax levies to pay for private schools.
The organizations who are in favor of expanding EdChoice (private/parochial school parents and champions) are turning out in droves to testify to the committee. We need to let the legislators know that we are just as passionate about public schools. We want to make sure all children get a good education, not just the few that are handpicked.
I plan to go up next Monday to testify. If anyone wants to go with me, I will take a school van. Let me know and I can send you the form that we must submit to the committee to be approved to testify. I know Monday is a holiday but they are holding the meeting and listening to testimony. I can also share some information about writing your testimony. Even if you do not want to testify but want to stand by me as I do, I can add your voice to the message. I will leave the secondary campus parking lot at 6 am Monday, February 17th to head to Columbus. Numbers are important.
PLEASE, PLEASE take a few minutes to send an email or make a phone call! If at all possible, please consider going to the Statehouse in Columbus with me Monday. Or, go Friday, Saturday, Tuesday or Wednesday to testify on your own or with a group. This is the posted schedule for testifying:
The committee will meet in Room 313 of
the Ohio Statehouse at the following times:
• Friday, Feb. 14, 9 a.m. to noon
• Saturday, Feb. 15, 9 a.m. to noon
• Monday, Feb. 17, 9 a.m. to noon
• Tuesday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m.
• Wednesday, Feb. 19, 5 p.m.
• Thursday, Feb. 20, 5 p.m.
Thank you as always for your support of the schools.
This group of educators from Southwest Ohio supports Senate Bill 89 as the first step of reform for school vouchers. Senate Bill 89 represents a fundamental shift in our voucher system, from a failing schools approach to an income-based approach. The plan ends laws that force public school districts and their taxpayers from having to pay for private school tuition. A recent poll conducted by the National School Boards Action Center found that 73% of voters oppose public funding being used for private, religious and home-schooled education.
Although a first step we all agree any final legislation should include the following key aspects.
1. We support any plan that ends the failed schools model, (based on a flawed report card system), for vouchers and moves to an income-based approach that prioritizes low-income kids, with the neediest kids getting top priority. This was the original intent of School Choice in Ohio. The failed schools model has produced inaccurate system that says more than 40 percent of our school buildings are underperforming. This shows our accountability system is failed.
2) We support a plan that is a direct funding model from the State which would not reduce the amount of dollars allocated to public schools. If the legislature determines that vouchers are good public policy, although 73% of the population disagrees, then we would simply ask that the legislature pay for them and end the shell game of diverting locally-voted property tax dollars and/or state dollars allocated to public K-12 schools to school vouchers. Community members who supported local tax levies for their school districts were not told their property taxes would be used to subsidize private school tuition.
3. We support a plan that requires all schools who accept school vouchers or scholarships be held to the same accountabilities standards as public schools across and cannot discriminate against any students who apply
4. We support a plan that moves Ohio closer to real reform of our school testing and the present report card system, which is broken and really at the heart of this issue. Our students and teachers are spending too much time on state- and federally-mandated testing.
DRAFT EdChoice Parent Letter
February 14, 2020
Dear <Legislator Name>:
As a concerned parent and taxpayer, I am writing to share my opposition to the expansion of the EdChoice Voucher program. Senate Bill 89 is a move in the right direction away from a performance-based approach to only an income-based approach.
I also support the following changes:
A voucher program that does not reduce the amount of dollars allocated to Ohio’s public schools. I support the local tax levies for my school district. It is not right that part of my property taxes could be used to subsidize private school tuition.
A plan that requires all schools who accept school vouchers or scholarships to be held to the same accountabilities standards as public schools across Ohio. In addition, a school who accepts vouchers should not be permitted to discriminate against any students who apply.
A plan that moves Ohio closer to real reform of our school testing and current report card system. Our students and teachers are spending too much time on state- and federally-mandated testing. We need better accountability measures and a report card that provides a more complete story of each district and school.
Thank you for your consideration.
<Insert Name, Contact Information>
Link to contact information for legislators: