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Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

EdChoice Action: CH-UH Needs Your Help

A message sent from Superintendent Kirby to District families on December 10, 2019.
 

Dear CH-UH Families,

As you may be aware, our district is significantly, disproportionately affected by the Ohio EdChoice Scholarship program, which allows families living in the boundaries of designated schools to receive a voucher to attend a private school.

People mistakenly believe the voucher program doesn’t affect us financially. The amount for elementary and middle school vouchers is $4,650 per student and high school vouchers are $6,000 per student. We lose that $6,000 per new high school student and that $4,650 per new elementary school student using EdChoice due to a freeze in state funding for the next two years. 

Approximately 1,300 students, most of whom have never attended our public schools, are taking scholarships to attend private schools, and we are footing much of that bill. This amounts to an actual loss of $4.2 million for us last fiscal year and an estimated loss of $6.8 million this fiscal year.

But there’s even more on the line than money. Unless major changes are made soon, the EdChoice program will continue to undermine excellent, well-rounded, high-performing public education institutions such as ours. Private schools can pick and choose which students they will accept. Public schools - like the ones in CH-UH - are for all.

Time is running short for the state legislature to take action on EdChoice. The General Assembly must make changes prior to its holiday break for them to go into effect before the next voucher application period begins in February. Our school board has been working with legislators and lobbyists in Columbus to initiate change, but it is crucial that lawmakers and the governor’s office hear from you today. One simple, short term solution we encourage you to ask: 

Stop deducting voucher payments from school district funds. Instead fund new vouchers from state funds directly.

Click here for a list of further points that can be used to explain how EdChoice vouchers are affecting CH-UH and other Ohio districts. On January 9, we will host a community meeting on the topic of EdChoice and how it affects school funding. This will begin at 7 p.m. at Heights High.

EdChoice is a complex topic that’s subject to much debate, but what it comes down to is this: We need your voice in finding a fair solution that is best for students. Please take a few moments to contact the following elected officials:

Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) Chair, Senate Education Committee

(614) 466-4538 | Email Senator Lehner

Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) Vice Chair, Senate Education Committee

(614) 466-7584 | Email Senator Huffman 

Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) Ranking Minority Member, Senate Education Committee

(614) 466-5204 | Email Senator Fedor

Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights)

(614) 466-4583 | Email Senator Yuko 

Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) 

(614) 466-4857 | Email Senator Williams

Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights)

Phone (614) 644-5079 | Email Representative Boyd

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder

Phone (614) 466-2500 | Email Representative Householder

Governor Mike DeWine

(614) 644-4357 | Email Governor DeWine

 

Sincerely,

CH-UH City Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby

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