The Coalition for Public Education plans to attack the good EdChoice in a new lawsuit
THROUGH: SUSAN TEBBEN
The education coalition behind the case which successfully argued that Ohio’s public school system was unconstitutional said it would go back to court to eliminate the EdChoice private school voucher system .
Bill Phillis, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding, said approval of the equitable school funding plan, even in its shortened two-year form, “provides at least some clue to the promise that we are heading in the right direction.
But maintaining and expanding the good EdChoice leaves education in the state as an unconstitutional and unattainable system, resulting in the need for a new trial, he said.
“I want the people of Ohio to know and internalize that the state legislature is responsible for a comprehensive and effective system of common schools throughout the state,” Phillis said during an appeal to the press Monday.
The phrase “thorough and effective” refers to the decision of the Ohio Supreme Court in DeRolph v. State of Ohio, which has repeatedly ruled that the state’s funding model for public schools relies too much on real estate wealth and does not allow equal access. to education.
The courts are expected to take an interest in the new case because of the potential “de facto” racial segregation issues that could arise as a result of increased funding for the private school voucher program, according to Stephen Dyer, director of government relations, communications and marketing for the Ohio Education Association.
“People who take the vouchers tend to reflect the demographics of the district less than they leave it,” Dyer said Monday. “Obviously, state-sanctioned racial segregation is not something the Supreme Court of the United States is fond of.”
Dyer used Lima city schools as an example, citing 2016-2017 data collected by the Ohio Education Association and thinktank Innovation Ohio. In the district, Lima Central Catholic has received over $ 686,000 in EdChoice transfers. Demographics from state report cards show the school has 71% white students and 29% non-white, based on data from the Ohio Department of Education.
Likewise, St. Charles Catholic School in Lima had over $ 653,000 in EdChoice transfers, with 82% white students and 18% non-white students recorded in state data.
The coalition and its supporters are challenging the arguments of legislative leaders, especially State Senate Speaker Matt Huffman (R-Lima), who has said the equitable school funding plan passed as part of the budget cannot be funded only for two years.
He said funding the full six-year introductory phase developed by the plan’s authors (including current House Speaker Bob Cupp) takes away the ability of future general assemblies to make spending decisions.
“No matter what we do with predictability, all spending decisions under our constitution are two-year decisions,” Huffman said in June during the Budget Plan rollout.
Dyer said new revenue projections showing a $ 3 billion surplus in state coffers over the next two years led him to believe the state could make the investment work if its executives make it work. wanted.
“It is terribly curious to me that legislatures have absolutely no problem crippling future legislatures with tax cuts that take away the jar revenue of future legislatures,” Dyer said. “And at the same time, they are expressing enormous concern about investing in students and children.”
Phillis said the coalition is still working with lawyers to set up a legal challenge against EdChoice similar to their challenge in DeRolph, and where that lawsuit will be filed.
This article was republished with permission from the Ohio Capital Journal. To learn more about Ohio’s new policies, visit www.ohiocapitaljournal.com.