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Politics

Ohio Republicans Propose Universal School Voucher Program

A student uses an iPad in a Hilliard classroom.
Columbus Neighborhoods
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All Ohio students could be eligible for vouchers to go to any private school in the state under a bill being proposed by House Republicans.

The two-page bill isn’t complete, right now it just says the school funding formula will allow state education aid to follow students to the public or private school their families choose. It would create what's known as universal vouchers or "backpack funding."

The bill has 16 Republican co-sponsors.

“We want to create a program that will better allow money from the state to flow to the education of each individual student and expand the educational opportunities for parents and for students," said Rep. Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky), one of the two main sponsors of the bill.

But McClain said the details are still being worked out.

“We've done a lot of work with the school funding bill that's in the budget and we really want to partner with that, how best to use the dollars. So as of right now, we don't have the final answer of what this is going to look like," McClain said.

The bill is backed by school choice supporters such as the Center for Christian Virtue, formerly known as Citizens for Community Values. It had supported the expansion of the EdChoice voucher program last year.

But Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima), a strong supporter of vouchers, said he’s not sure how universal vouchers would work in a state that already has several voucher programs.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.