New EdChoice laws will make bad situation worse

During the extended closure, the CH-UH school district is providing free breakfast and lunch to children in the community.

To the Editor:

During the COVID-19 crisis and school closure, I've been proud of our educators' dedication to their students and community. Our district is providing virtual learning, thousands of free meals to children, Chromebooks for students, along with hosting Red Cross blood drives. It's amazing seeing Tiger Nation “band together,” all while physically apart.

But in the midst of this, our reality regarding EdChoice vouchers has only grown bleaker. The new voucher legislation that was slipped into the COVID-19 relief bill will only bring us more financial pain. We anticipate losing an additional $1 million next fiscal year, raising next year’s total estimated loss to $8.5 million due to EdChoice. Proportionally, our district is the hardest hit by EdChoice in the entire state; we lost a third of our state funding this year to EdChoice vouchers.

Further blurring our financial picture is the Election Day delay. We have a levy on the ballot, Issue 26 (on the ballot this year only because of the destruction EdChoice has already caused our district). We won’t know the results of the election for weeks. We are forced to make budget reductions within the parameters of worst-case scenarios.

I’m writing not to invoke pity, but because I want the community to understand some of our challenges. Please write to our lawmakers letting them know what a devastating impact these new laws will have on our community—a template and contact information can be found here. The state must stop deducting voucher payments from district funds. It is unsustainable and must end—or our district will find it increasingly harder to continue serving as a force for good.

Elizabeth Kirby

Elizabeth Kirby
Superintendent of the CH-UH City School District

Read More on Letters To The Editor
Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 2:06 PM, 04.20.2020