By J.D. Davidson for The Center Square | Ohio
The Ohio Senate’s version of the state’s next two-year budget includes school choice for all students, removing the power from the State School Board and a flatter tax code than passed by the House earlier this year.
The House’s version, as previously reported by The Center Square, includes more options for school choice but stopped short of funding universal choice and did not include legislation that restructures the education department.
The Senate and the House must reach a budget agreement signed by Gov. Mike DeWine by the end of the month.
The Senate version keeps the current school funding plan and increases public school money over fiscal year 2023 by $1.3 billion. Republican leaders say all districts will receive at least the same amount of money they received this year.
The plan does eliminate $106.8 million going to 36 districts to pay for students who receive state money to attend private schools.
Families who earn 450% of the federal poverty level – $135,000 for a family of four – would qualify for a full school choice scholarship. Families above that threshold will be means-tested with scholarships adjusted based on income. Every student in Ohio would be eligible for at least 10% of the maximum scholarship.
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.