Ohio to Triple Size of Program for Private School Vouchers

From Associated Press

Ohio is more than tripling the size of its school voucher program, making it the nation’s largest since the practice of using public money for private school tuition was found constitutional three years ago.

The tuition aid, which has been available in Cleveland since 1996, will allow up to 14,000 additional students statewide to leave public schools that have persistently failed academic tests and move to private schools, beginning in fall 2006.

The state’s $51-billion budget that Republican Gov. Robert A. Taft signed Thursday includes funding for 14,000 children. The state will pay $4,250 for students in kindergarten through eighth grade and $5,000 for high schoolers. A total figure for the funding was not available.

Supporters of school choice have worked to set up and expand programs since 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Cleveland’s program -- which includes religious schools -- did not violate the separation of church and state.