The Ohio EdChoice Scholarship Program allows students living in the boundaries of designated schools to receive vouchers to attend private schools. It started as a way to provide education options for students whose local schools were considered "failing" by the Ohio State Report Card grading system.
However, the program has expanded to the point of unsustainability for CH-UH City Schools. The of EdChoice students within the CH-UH City School District boundaries have never attended our public schools. This means that they were never factored into our budget to begin with. Furthermore, we lose $6,000 per new high school student and $4,650 per new elementary school student using EdChoice due to a freeze in state funding for the next two years. This has amounted to an approximate loss of $7.2 million this fiscal year.
“Cleveland Heights isn’t losing any students. They are just losing money.” -Economist and school finance consultant Howard Fleeter,
It's also wrong to call many of the buildings on the EdChoice list "underperforming." Ohio currently has buildings that are considered high performing (overall grade of A, B or C) on the list of buildings whose students qualify for EdChoice vouchers due to inconsistencies in the report card grading system.1
When the Ohio General Assembly passed its biennial budget in July 2019, it froze receipts at 2018-2019 levels. This means that for every new voucher used, none of the cost would be offset by state aid. They also quietly and suddenly removed the provision that required high school students to attend a public school prior to using the voucher. Unable to prepare financially for the change, the District was forced the following month to negotiate one-year contracts with the teachers union, as opposed to multi-year contracts.
1Ohio School Boards Association