April 22, 2010
HB136 - Costly to taxpayers & public schools! Please read this article!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 1, 2011
for more information, contact:
Michelle Francis Barbara Shaner
OSBA deputy director of legislative services OASBO associate executive director
(614) 370-9269 cell (614) 325-9562 cell
BASA director of governmental development
Expanding voucher system would prove costly to taxpayers, public schools
COLUMBUS — Three statewide education management associations, the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) and the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), today released an analysis estimating costs for implementing proposed House Bill (HB) 136. HB 136 would dramatically change Ohio’s school voucher policy, a program that uses public tax dollars to subsidize private and parochial school tuition.
The analysis, conducted by ETPI consultants William Driscoll and Howard Fleeter, determined that HB 136 could create approximately $480 million in NEW costs for Ohio’s education funding system as the bill’s provisions are phased in over a very short period of time. The additional costs would come as students who already attend private schools suddenly become eligible for taxpayer-subsidized vouchers.
A bill touted by supporters as another education “choice” option for parents and students, HB 136 provides subsidies for parents who will not be making any new choices. The analysis found that the $480 million in new costs would result from the current private school population (based on 2010-11 school year enrollment figures) that would qualify for vouchers and continue as students in a school they were going to attend anyway. So, even if no public school students moved to a different educational “choice” by using a voucher, the state would need to find a way to cover this potential new expenditure.
Expanding voucher system would prove costly 2/2/2/2/2
The ETPI analysis uses U.S. Census Bureau data on Ohio's distribution of family income to estimate how many current private school students could qualify and their voucher level. HB 136 has varying levels of voucher subsidies — from $2,313 to $4,626 — based on family income. Students from families with incomes of up to $95,000 would be eligible. The analysis breaks down the percentage of students that could qualify based on each income category. The $480 million estimate represents the total amount that private school students from all voucher levels could receive.
Ohio already has another statewide voucher/private school subsidy program for students based on the low performance of the public school building they would otherwise attend. About 15,000 students currently receive this subsidy, which costs taxpayers more than $71 million annually. (The $480 million cost is in addition to existing voucher expenses.) In July, the state dramatically increased the cap on how many of those vouchers it would subsidize to 60,000 for the 2012-2013 school year. The new program proposed in HB 136 would also be subject to the 60,000 cap, but the bill provides for that cap to be automatically increased based on student demand in any given year.
The analysis projects that by the 2016-2017 school year the cap could increase enough to include the nearly 140,000 private school students that ETPI estimates would be eligible for a subsidy.
The $480 million figure does not account for any additional students leaving public schools to attend private and parochial schools with the proposed new voucher subsidy, though the bill would allow students in any school district — regardless of the district’s academic performance — to attend a private or parochial school with taxpayer money.
Driscoll and Fleeter indicated that there is no way to predict the exact costs of implementing HB 136 and the actual number of students who would qualify. However, they are confident that their assumptions could closely resemble the effects of the bill if it passes. With the phase-in that allows current private school students to receive vouchers, it is clear there will be significant new costs. If a family’s income qualifies, the assumption must be that it will seek the voucher/subsidy.
With current economic conditions, Ohio’s scarce resources and recent state school-funding cuts, OSBA, OASBO and BASA are concerned about where the additional hundreds of millions of dollars would come from. The state would either need to find revenue to cover the new costs for students not currently in the funding system or pass the costs along to school districts. The associations said that neither of those options bodes well for Ohio’s public education system and its remaining students.
The three organizations have worked hard to mobilize their members around the state in advocacy efforts against HB 136. They have received copies of board of education resolutions and letters opposing HB 136 from nearly 200 school districts, with more coming in every day. The information in the ETPI analysis was commissioned to help school district leaders educate their own legislators about the negative effects HB 136 would have on Ohio public education.
BASA is a nonprofit professional organization of school system leaders, specifically, superintendents, central office administrators, building-level administrators, higher education administrators and faculty, graduate students and other educational personnel.
OASBO is a not-for-profit educational management organization dedicated to learning, using and sharing the best methods and technology of school business administration.
OSBA leads the way to educational excellence by serving Ohio’s public school board members and the diverse districts they represent through superior service and creative solutions.