EdChoice List Amended by Ohio Legislature
Tasked with ensuring there are no last-minute changes to EdChoice in January or February of 2021, the Ohio Legislature addressed EdChoice for the 2021-2022 school year today. Senator Matt Huffman offered an amendment to Senate Bill 89 (career tech) that revises the EdChoice Scholarship program to stabilize the EdChoice designated schools list for the 2021-2022 school year and increases the income-based EdChoice Expansion threshold for families coming out of poverty.
The following statement is from Averel Meden, Executive Director of the Ohio Christian Education Network:
“Until every family in Ohio, regardless of income, zip code, and assignment, can freely choose the best education for their children, today’s changes to EdChoice takes a step forward, giving some of Ohio’s parents the freedom to choose a private school that best meets their students’ needs.”
With the passage of SB 89, an EdChoice district is determined by the number of students who reside in the district and generate Title I funds. If a public school district has at least 20% of students who generate Title I funds, then all students residing in that district are eligible with one exception: If the school they attend is in the top 80% of the Performance Index in the last two years, then that school building is exempted from EdChoice.
“SB 89 takes timely steps to ensure families can plan for the 2021-2022 school year. By using community poverty as a factor instead of Ohio’s often-questioned Report Card, resources are again targeted to areas where families need them most.”
The bill also includes an extension of House Bill 197 grandfathering in K-12 students who were eligible in the 19-20 school year, but for whatever reason did not take a scholarship.
Likewise, EdChoice Expansion is increased to 250% of the Federal Poverty Level. Below are the Federal Poverty guidelines for gross household income.
“Today, the legislature recognized the thousands of families coming out of poverty, who need better options for their students’ education, by increasing the Expansion program to 250% of federal poverty.”
Under this bill, the application window will move from February 1st to March 1st to be in line with the statutory bill effective date.
For private Christian schools, this bill simplifies the EdChoice program and will create a list of EdChoice schools that will be more manageable for families and schools.