Bethel-Tate Board of Education Passes Resolution in Opposition to HB290
Each board of education in Ohio should adopt a resolution in opposition to HB290—the Universal Voucher Bill.
The Board of Education of the Bethel-Tate Local School District, met in regular session at six o’clock p.m. on the 16th day of November, 2021, at the Bethel-Tate High School, with the following members present:
David Brannock
William Shula
Brandy Pryor
Tiffiany Riddle
Gary Shepherd
           moved the adoption of the following resolution:
WHEREAS, House Bill 290 has been introduced to the House of Representatives of the Ohio General Assembly and has been subsequently referred to the House Finance Committee; and
WHEREAS, HB 290, also referred to as the “Backpack Bill,” purports “To express the intent of the General Assembly to establish a school funding formula that allows families to choose the option for all computed funding amounts associated with students’ education to follow them to the public and nonpublic schools they attend.”; and
WHEREAS, the Bill would divert public tax dollars away from public schools to charter schools as well as private schools, which are not accountable to the taxpayer of Ohio; and
WHEREAS, the Bill ostensibly would provide a subsidy for parents whose children are already enrolled in private school; and
WHEREAS, evaluations of voucher systems in the past have determined that students who use such vouchers do not benefit from improved learning outcomes compared to similarly situated students attending public schools; and
WHEREAS, charter and private schools in Ohio are not subject to a plethora of laws governing education standards and teacher qualifications among other matters in public schools, and may not be held to the same standards for protecting against religious and disability discrimination; and
WHEREAS, Article VI, Section 2 of the Ohio Constitution provides in part that “The General Assembly shall make such provisions, by taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state.”; and
WHEREAS, the Ohio Supreme Court has held that the Ohio Constitution “calls for the upbuilding of a system of schools throughout the state”; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Education finds that directly funding students does not constitute the funding of a system of schools as required by the State Constitution; and
WHEREAS, for every child diverted to a charter or non-public school through a voucher program, the public school district does not achieve a savings as it still has the same number of staff, buildings and infrastructure costs; and
WHEREAS, because nearly all Ohio districts receive less state funds per pupil than their per pupil deductions for charter students, public schools must effectively divert local tax dollars that have been approved by local taxpayers for a particular purpose for school operations. Universal vouchers would only exacerbate this inequity by also diverting local tax dollars to private schools; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Education believes that every child has a fundamental right to a high-quality public education and that this should be the focus of the General Assembly.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Education as follows:
Section 1.        The Board of Education hereby states its opposition to the enactment of HB 290 or any other legislation which purports to institute a universal voucher system in the state of Ohio.
Section 2.        The Board of Education authorizes the Treasurer to forward a copy of this
resolution to the District’s representative in the House, Adam Bird, and Senate, Terry Johnson, as well as Governor Mike DeWine, and the Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction, Stephanie
K. Siddens, Ph.D.
Section 3.        The Board believes that the public school districts of the State of Ohio must together express their common opposition to this Bill and any similar legislation introduced in the future and therefore encourages other districts in Ohio to adopt a similar resolution of opposition.
Section 4.        This Board of Education hereby finds and determines that all formal actions relative to the adoption of this resolution were taken in an open meeting of this Board of Education; and that all deliberations of this Board of Education and of its committees, if any, which resulted in formal action, were taken in meetings open to the public, in full compliance with applicable legal requirements, including Section 121.22 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Section 5.        This Resolution shall be in full force and effect from and immediately after its adoption.
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