November 2011 Church & State | People & Events

A bill that would create a statewide school voucher plan has cleared a committee of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The voucher proposal, euphemistically dubbed the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program, would extend vouchers for private school tuition to families using a formula tied to the income standards for reduced-price lunches. Although supporters say it is aimed at disadvantaged families, the ceiling is an annual income of $95,000.

Under the scheme, vouchers would vary, ranging from $2,313 to $4,626.

Ohio already has a voucher plan aimed at Cleveland, but this bill would be statewide. To become law, the measure would have to pass the full Ohio House and Senate, as well as be signed by Gov. John Kasich.

In other news about vouchers:

• A committee of the Milwaukee School Board has voted unanimously to give taxpayers more information about how much of their money is supporting private schools.

The board’s Committee on Legislation, Rules and Policies voted 5-0 in September to list tax support for private schools separately on tax bills. Milwaukee has a voucher plan that has been in operation for two decades. Board member Larry Miller said the public school system has had to charge taxpayers $50 million in 2011 to pay for the private schools, reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

“This irrational arrangement, which forces the district to levy what has come to be known as the ‘voucher tax,’ results in a situation in which over 17 percent of the levy attributed to MPS [Milwaukee Public Schools] goes, in essence, to non-MPS schools,” Miller wrote in a proposal.