New bill would give every Ohio family access to K-12 school of their choice

New bill would give every Ohio family access to K-12 school of their choice

The proposed Education Savings Account program would mean access to more educational options for every Ohio family.

A new bill could empower every Ohio family to send their child to a school that best suits their needs.

Introduced by Reps. Riordan McClain, R-Upper Sandusky, and Marilyn John, R-Richland County, House Bill 290 intends to revise Ohio’s school funding formula to allow money to “follow the students” to both public and nonpublic schools. The bill does not include specifics on how the plan would be implemented or run, but rather seeks to ignite conversation and debate about universal Education Savings Accounts, or ESAs.

Should this bill pass, Ohio would join a growing number of states in rethinking education. This is only one school choice bill of 50 that have been introduced throughout 30 states this year alone, according to the national nonprofit Ed Choice. That means more bills on school choice have been submitted or expanded in one year than the last six years combined.

For example, New Hampshire lawmakers this year created an ESA program dubbed “Education Freedom Accounts.” For those eligible, the state deposits an average of $4,600 per student into an ESA and parents can choose how the money is spent on educational items such as tuition (at schools of their choosing), tutoring, online programs and supplies. Eligibility is generous at an income cap of 300% above the federal poverty line.

West Virginia lawmakers also passed an ESA bill that works almost exactly the same, except eligibility is universal – meaning every student of West Virginia is eligible. It is now the largest school choice program in the nation.

Each individual child learns differently. And these bills give power to parents – the people who know what suits their children best.

Ohio lawmakers like McClain and John are wise to put parents first.

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