School funding bill opposed by Woodmore board

Larry Limpf

The Woodmore school board has approved a resolution opposing a bill pending in the state legislature that would amend the state foundation funding formula for public education.
House Bill 290 has been referred to the finance committee of the House of Representatives but, as of last week, the committee hadn’t held any hearings on the bill.
“If passed, the bill would express a clear intent to develop further legislation that would expand the use of vouchers in Ohio public schools,” the Woodmore resolution says. “Such as expansion would harm our public school system in Ohio and would erode communities across the state whose identities are grounded in the rich history and quality educational contributions of their public schools.”
The bill was introduced in May by Rep. Riordan McClain, R- Upper Sandusky, and Rep. Marilyn John, R – Shelby.
If passed into law, any Ohio student would be eligible for a voucher to cover a portion of their cost of their private school tuition.
The bill itself is only 19 lines long and doesn’t put forth a specific plan but was written to initiate discussion, according to McClain, who, when he introduced it, described it as a “legislative intent bill.”
According to the Ohio Department of Education, the EdChoice scholarship amount is currently $5,500 for grades K-8 and $7,500 for grades 9-12. EdChoice will pay either the scholarship amount or the private school’s actual tuition, whichever is less.
Some call the voucher system the “backpack” method of school funding because the money follows the student to the school he or she attends.
The bill reads as follows:
“It is the General Assembly’s intent that sections of the Ohio Revised Code be amended, enacted, or repealed to create a thorough and efficient statewide foundation funding formula for the education of all students in this state, including students enrolled in city, local, and exempted village school districts, community schools established under Chapter 3314 of the Revised Code, STEM schools established under Chapter 3326 of the Revised Code, and nonpublic schools, that allows families to choose the option for all computed funding amounts associated with students’ education to follow them to the schools they attend.
“This formula will ensure Ohio maintains strong funding for public and nonpublic schools while cultivating innovation and opportunity for all children.”
As of last week the House Finance Committee hadn’t scheduled a hearing on the bill, which has 16 co-


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