State of the States
Cleveland Voucher Program Would Expand Under Taft Plan
Gov. Bob Taft proposed expanding the state’s voucher program beyond Cleveland in the budget he released Feb. 10.
In his State of the State Address a day earlier, Mr. Taft, a Republican, noted that his budget would “include new choices for students trapped in persistently failing schools.”
His two-year education budget for the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years recommends $6.9 billion in general fund spending for K-12 schools for fiscal 2006, up just over 2 percent from the current year.
The budget also recommends spending $9 million to offer new vouchers worth up to $3,500 to 2,600 public school students in schools outside Cleveland with low test scores.
Currently, some 4,000 students in Cleveland receive vouchers worth up to $2,700 to attend private secular or parochial schools.
Mr. Taft also said he wanted to establish a statewide education partnership to “engage educators, employers, and legislators in building a continuous learning system for students, preschool through college.”
That partnership would take on three tasks: align high school graduation requirements with college-readiness standards, increase the number of high school students who take a rigorous curriculum, and create incentives for colleges and universities to improve their graduation rates.
“Enrolling students is not enough,” Mr. Taft said. “We must do more to help them graduate.”
Vol. 24, Issue 23, Page 31