North Royalton City Schools News Article

The Impact of EdChoice on our District

Know the FACTS: EdChoice Scholarship Program - 
The Impact on North Royalton City Schools
What is EdChoice?
The state of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship, or voucher program, began as a way to provide options for students whose local public schools were considered to be “failing” or “underperforming” by the state. However, the program has expanded to include students attending not only passing but thriving public schools. 

There are two parts to the EdChoice program:
  1. The EdChoice Expansion program provides a state-paid voucher for students whose family income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. They can use this money to attend a private school regardless of their public school’s performance. 
  2. The EdChoice Scholarship provides a voucher for students whose public school is considered a “failing school” by the state. This voucher is paid for by the local public school district.

Ohio went from fewer than 300 school buildings eligible for vouchers in the 2018-19 school year to more than 1,200 buildings for the 2020-21 school year. That’s a 300% increase in two years.

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.   Students entering kindergarten or high school do not need to have ever been a student in the public school district to qualify for an EdChoice scholarship, so long as their assigned public school is on the EdChoice list.

Does North Royalton City School District (NRCDS) have schools designated as “underperforming?” 
Yes. Beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, North Royalton High School is on the list.
What is the latest development in EdChoice legislation?
The EdChoice application status has been temporarily delayed for 60 days. You can read more about the delay and about EdChoice in this article in the Columbus Dispatch.

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 NRCS 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.  North Royalton High School had an F in Overall Progress/Value-Added.
- 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. 
- District Performance – No districts are eligible under this criterion.
- Academic Distress – The school’s public district has an academic distress commission. 
What is the amount of the EdChoice Scholarship?
$6,000 per year for students entering grades 9-12 in 2020-21 for their high school career if they remain at the private/parochial school.  The first application period begins February 1, 2020, and ends April 30, 2020.  The second 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 though they have never attended a public high school.

- Students attending a public school in their resident district who will be assigned to one of the designated public schools for the upcoming school year.

- 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?
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. 
How are private/parochial schools graded by the State?
They're not.  Private schools are not held to the same accountability as public schools.  Their students are not subjected to the same state testing as public school students, even though they are receiving public funds.

What will be the projected financial impact to NRCSD?
- The state will deduct from our public school district funding to cover the cost of scholarships awarded per student from our District.

-  state foundation aide is approximately $1,500 per student.  If $6,000 is being deducted from our funding, $4,500 of locally generated tax dollars will be used to pay for students to attend private/parochial schools.

- The projected impact will be financially devastating for the North Royalton City Schools and many other public school districts. It is difficult to predict the number of students who will leave the North Royalton City School District or who are already attending a private high school. We are projecting the financial impact to be $775,000 a year for a four-year impact of $3.1 million. 

What’s 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 of contact information to assist you. Thank you in advance for your help!

How to contact your legislators:

Governor Mike DeWine- 614-644-4357 https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/contact

Senator Matt Huffman-614-466-7584 [email protected] or https://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators/huffman-m/contact
Senator Larry Obhof - 614-466-7505 (President of the Senate) - https://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators/obhof/contact

Speaker of the House Larry Householder, (District 72) http://www.ohiohouse.gov/larry-householder/contact

Senator Matt Dolan (District 24) https://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators/dolan/contact

Representative Tom Patton (District 7) http://www.ohiohouse.gov/thomas-f-patton/contact

Representative Phil Robinson (District 6) http://www.ohiohouse.gov/phillip-m-robinson-jr/contact

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