Gov. Taft signed the Ohio Education Choice Scholarship Program into law on June 30, 2005 (and the law was slightly modified in the recent budget corrections bill HB 530). Under the program, students who attend a district or charter school that has been rated in Academic Emergency or Academic Watch categories, the state’s two lowest ratings, for three consecutive years are eligible for school vouchers in the following amounts:
- Kindergarten through 8th grade - $4,250 per academic year
- Ninth through 12th grade - $5,000 per academic year
There are 14,000 scholarships available. If more than 14,000 eligible students apply, the state will hold a lottery.
The program is the largest of its kind in the nation and raises many questions. Three players in the debate—Speaker of the House Jon Husted, executive director of School Choice Ohio Susan Zanner, and University of Dayton education professor Dr. Carolyn Ridenour—share their views with our readers.