Funding for EdChoice vouchers is deducted from the state aid available to the school district where the voucher user resides. This dilutes resources for public school students in those districts. If state aid per pupil is less than the value of a voucher, the difference comes directly out of the funds that were generated by the public school students. Public school students receive less aid so that other students can attend a private school. Almost every voucher is used for a religious school.
EdChoice Vouchers are available in districts with at least one low-performing school. They were justified as a way to help students “escape” their failing school. Students had to live in the attendance area of the EdChoice school, and, except for new students to Ohio or kindergarteners, they had to attend a public school before receiving a voucher.
EdChoice Expansion Vouchers are available to students across the state without regard to the local public school report card. They are available to families with income that is up to 200% of poverty. They are funded as a separate budget item, not a deduction from local district aid. Until this year, the program has been phased in over the last six years, adding one grade level each year. The legislature expanded to K-12 in this budget cycle.
Vouchers ignore the requirements of the DeRolph school funding case that called for both adequate and equitable funding of public schools.