Ohio Raises K-12 Aid, Expands Vouchers
The following offers highlights of the final legislative action during 2005. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Ohio lawmakers used the 2005 legislative session to raise overall K-12 spending slightly for the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years, while also targeting spending increases to economically needy students and expanding the state’s voucher program beyond Cleveland.
Spending for K-12 education will rise to $6.9 billion in fiscal 2006, or 2.8 percent above fiscal 2005 levels. That spending will rise again by 2.8 percent, or to a total of $7.1 billion, in fiscal 2007, for a general-fund total of $14 billion over the biennium.
State aid for poverty-based assistance to school districts will rise by 16 percent to $381 million in fiscal 2006 for programs such as all-day kindergarten, academic intervention, professional development, and class-size reduction.
New aid totaling $200,000 in fiscal 2006 and $3.8 million in fiscal 2007 is included in the budget for creating and providing a system of “value-added specialists” to help local school systems measure individual student progress over time.
Lawmakers also added a new state voucher program beyond the one that had been available to students in Cleveland. Beginning in the 2006-07 school year, up to 14,000 students in persistently failing schools will be eligible for vouchers of $4,250 for kindergarten through 8th grade and $5,000 for 9th through 12th grades. ("Ohio OKs Vouchers for Pupils in Low-Rated Schools," July 13, 2005.)
Vol. 25, Issue 18, Page 18