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Gov. DeWine Declines To Take Sides In School Voucher Debate

 Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Paul Vernon
Associated Press

Gov. Mike DeWine says he knows the House and Senate have different ideas about how to deal with changing the state’s Ed Choice school voucher program. He says he’s not taking sides on that, but DeWine says it’s important to think about why that program exists in the first place.

State lawmakers have delayed the EdChoice application process until April 1 while they try to deal with a huge expansion of the list of buildings where students are eligible. DeWine says it’s important to focus on the basic principle of the program.

“School Choice was designed originally to focus on poor children and poor families who are trapped in a school that is not performing well. And these children need the same opportunity that more affluent families have," DeWine said after the grand opening of the new Facebook Data Center in New Albany.

An EdChoice plan passed by the Senate would lower the number of buildings considered failing, but would also increase the number of income-based vouchers. A House-passed proposal would eliminate the EdChoice plan after next school year and go to an all income-based voucher system.

The EdChoice program would have put 1,227 schools on the low-performing list for the 2020-2021 school year – that would be twice as much as the current list of 517.

That increase was set to take place when the application period started on February 1. The House and Senate voted on January 31, to delay the application window to April 1.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.