District to host Jan. 9 community meeting on vouchers
On Jan. 9, CH-UH City School District will host a community meeting on the topic of EdChoice and how it affects school funding. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Heights High, and the public is invited.
At the meeting, the district will outline the adverse effects on public schools of the Ohio EdChoice Scholarship program, which allows families living within the boundaries of designated schools to receive a voucher to attend a private school. It will also suggest actions to take, to work toward changes in how the state funds school districts; and provide information on the proposed 7.9-mill operating levy—set to be on the ballot on March 17—and school financing in general.
“People mistakenly believe the voucher program does not affect the CH-UH school district financially,” said Superintendent Liz Kirby, in a recent open letter. “Unless major changes are made soon, the EdChoice program will continue to undermine excellent, well-rounded, high-performing public education institutions such as the Heights public schools and increase the frequency and millage of future operating levies."
The amount for elementary and middle school vouchers is $4,650 per student, and high school vouchers are $6,000 per student. Due to a freeze in state funding for the next two years, the CH-UH district loses, from local funds, $6,000 per new high school student and $4,650 per new elementary school student using EdChoice.
Approximately 1,300 students who live in the CH-UH district are taking scholarships to attend private schools. This amounted to an actual loss of $4.2 million for Heights schools last fiscal year, and will amount to an estimated loss of $6.8 million this fiscal year.
Cathan Cavanaugh is the supervisor of communications for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.