In the next few weeks, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jaiza Page (D) is poised to decide whether a lawsuit against Ohio’s private-school choice program will go forward.
Litigation against private school choice in the Buckeye State has been in the works since last year when dozens of school districts under the aegis of Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding posited that the state’s EdChoice program harms the state’s ability to properly fund its public schools. The districts suing the state, which now number more than 130, filed their action in January.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) insists that courts cannot throw out the state’s school-choice policy which was devised by the state’s elected lawmakers.
“Ohio’s Constitution allows educational choice, and this Court should say so,” a motion by the Attorney General’s Office stated this summer. Last month, state attorneys argued before Page for the lawsuit’s dismissal.
While the state Constitution does not mention school choice, school district officials and teachers unions argue that EdChoice runs afoul of the document’s Article VI, Section 2 which guarantees “a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state.”
In the current school year, the EdChoice Scholarship Program allows students from 81 districts throughout the state to receive publicly funded tuition for participating private schools. EdChoice also gives scholarships to many low-income students statewide.
Education reform advocates have lamented certain aspects of Ohio’s education system, particularly the fact that the state spends $16,251 per student on average annually yet has failed to see an impressive return on that investment in terms of student achievement. Nonetheless, many have praised its school choice efforts. The most recent Heritage Foundation Education Freedom Report Card ranks the Buckeye State seventh for school choice.
– – –