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District News

Know the Facts: EdChoice Vouchers

Posted on: February 18, 2020
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EdChoice Scholarship Voucher Program: Know the Facts and Impact to Middletown Schools

What is EdChoice? 

The EdChoice Scholarship Program provides up to 60,000 scholarships (this number is increased by 5% annually with no cap starting 2020) to students who attend “underperforming” public school buildings, as defined by the Ohio Department of Education. These public school buildings have been designated as “underperforming” because of their building state report cards. The scholarship must be used to attend private/parochial schools that meet requirements for program participation. No private/parochial school is held to any academic accountability standard by the state of Ohio.  The EdChoice Program will result in public taxpayer dollars being used to fund tuition payments for students at private/parochial schools. 

What criteria is used to determine this designation?

The Ohio Department of Education is using data from the Ohio School Report Cards from 2013-2014, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 to designate a school or schools meeting one or more the following conditions (impacted MCSD schools are listed in bold):

  • Performance - If any of the following is true for two report cards from 2014, 2018, 2019:  If the school received a Performance Index grade of D or F and a Value-Added (overall) grade of D or F on the 2014 report card, the school received an overall grade of D or F or a Value-Added (overall) grade of F on the 2018 or 2019 report card. (High School, Middle School, Highview, Amanda, Central Academy, Creekview, Mayfield, Rosa Parks and Wildwood)
  • Graduation - The school serves grades 9-12 and received a Graduation Rate grade of D or F on any two report cards from 2014, 2018 and 2019.
  • Lowest 10% - The school(s) ranked in the lowest 10 percent of public school buildings on the Performance Index on the Ohio School Report Cards for any two Performance Index rankings from 2014, 2018 and 2019; the school did not receive an overall grade of A or B on the 2019 report card.
  • Literacy - The school received a grade of D or F for Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers on any two report cards from 2014, 2018 and 2019. (Creekview, Miller Ridge, Mayfield, Rosa Parks and Wildwood)
  • District Performance - No districts are eligible under this criterion.
  • Academic Distress - The school’s public district has an academic distress commission.

Does Middletown City School District have schools designated as “underperforming?”

Yes. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, MCSD has four (4) schools with this designation: Amanda Elementary, Creekview Elementary, Miller Ridge Elementary and Rosa Parks Elementary. Starting in 2020-2021 school year all of our remaining school buildings will also be designated as underperforming: Central Academy, Highview 6th Grade Center, Mayfield Elementary, Middletown High School, Middletown Middle School, and Wildwood Elementary.

What is the amount of the EdChoice Scholarship?

$4,650 for students entering grades K-8 in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, and $6,000 for students entering grades 9-12 in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.  The next application period begins February 1, 2020 and ends April 30, 2020.  Another application period begins July 1, 2020 and ends July 31, 2020.

Who is eligible to apply for a scholarship?

  • Students currently attending a private/parochial school in grades 9-11, even if they have never attended a public school.
  • Students attending a public school in their resident district grades 1st through 8th who will be assigned to one of the designated public schools for the upcoming school year and are attending that public school during the application period.
  • Students eligible to enter kindergarten for fall 2020 (and who will be five (5) years of age by January 1, 2021 who would be assigned to one of the designated public schools).
  • Students enrolling in an Ohio school for the first time who would be assigned to one of the designated public schools for the upcoming school year.

Will private/parochial schools be required to accept all students who are eligible for EdChoice Scholarship payment?

  • No. Private/parochial schools will continue to have a selective entrance process for enrollment of students.  It is at the discretion of the private/parochial school as to which students are accepted to attend. They do not have to accept any student if they do not want to enroll that student.

 What will be the projected financial impact to Middletown CSD?

  • The state will deduct from our public school district funding to cover the cost of scholarships awarded per student from our district.
  • The projected impact will be financially devastating for the FCSD and many other public school districts. It is difficult to predict the number of students who will leave the FCSD or who are already attending a private high school. We are projecting the financial impact to be:

For fiscal year 2018-2019:        $    598,489

For fiscal year 2019-2020:        $1,017,650

For fiscal year 2020-2021:        $2,751,711

For fiscal year 2021-2022:        $3,023,607

For fiscal year 2022-2023:        $3,497,186

For fiscal year 2023-2024:        $3,903,582

Total estimated loss from fiscal years 2019 – 2024:           $14,792,224

EdChoice Money Sheet

Other Important Facts about EdChoice and Middletown City Schools:

  • Out of the 125 vouchers from MCSD given to private school students in 2018-2019 school year, only three had ever attended Middletown CSD. Cost to the district was $598,489.
  • Out of the 214 vouchers from MCSD given to private school students in 2019-2020 school year, only 38 had ever attended Middletown CSD. Cost to the district is $1,017,650.
  • Out of the $1,616,139 spent last year and this year on private school vouchers, less than 11% of these funds ($181,350) was for students who had previously attend Middletown CSD.
  • Starting this 2019-2020 school year our district is flat funded this year and next year, meaning that we receive no new funds that can be used to pay for the EdChoice Scholarships. We currently have 214 scholarships this year and an estimated 519 next year, costing us $1,017,650 and $2,751,711 each of these two years respectfully.
  • School district were not notified until November 8, 2019 that all high school students already attending private schools who live in a EdChoice eligible area would automatically qualify for the $6000 vouchers next year.
  • This year there are 424 school buildings deemed as “failing” schools by our legislatures that are on the EdChoice list. Next there will 1227 schools “failing” and on the EdChoice list. Of these 1242 schools 47% of them have overall grades of A, B and C.
  • Short-term solutions that the Statewide EdChoice Steering Committee is making to law makers:
    • School district should be made whole with new additional voucher costs starting this year. The State should pay for this, not the districts;
    • Remove the K-3 Literacy measure from the criteria that makes a building EdChoice eligible;
    • Any school building receiving an A, B, or C overall on their report card should not be designated as EdChoice;
    • If building performance improved during the “safe harbor” years, ODE should be directed to utilize that data when determining EdChoice eligibility;
    • Require that performance be measured by “three consecutive years,” and;
    • Require ODE to re-compute the overall building grades for the school years that will affect EdChoice eligibility to match the legislature’s own conclusion that the old law was unfair as evidence in HB 166.

What is next?

The Ohio Legislature is currently considering the effects and possible amendment of this program. If you have concerns, contact your legislators IMMEDIATELY. We have included a list with contact information to assist you. Thank you in advance for your help!

Governor Mike Dewine                  614-644-4357

https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/contact

Senate President Larry Obhof         614-466-7505              Larry.Obhof@ohiosenate.gov

Senator Matt Huffman                    614-466-6247              Matt.Huffman@ohiosenate.gov  

Senator Bill Coley                           614-466-8072             Bill.Coley@ohiosenate.gov

Senator Steve Wilson                     614-466-9737              Steve.Wilson@ohiosenate.gov

Speaker Larry Householder             614-466-2500              Rep72@ohiohouse.gov

Rep. Candice Keller                        614-644-5094              Rep53@ohiohouse.gov

Rep. George Lang                           614-466-8550              Rep52@ohiohouse.gov

Rep. Paul Zeltwanger                      614-644-6027              Rep54@ohiohouse.gov

EdChoice Scholarship Calculator