BASIC Facts: School districts have the right to spend funds on litigation, as does the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding.
During the decade-long DeRolph school funding lawsuit in the 1990’s, school districts provided funds to the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding to pay the legal expenses to successfully challenge the constitutionality of the public school system. School Districts have always had the right to use funds to pay legal expenses.
The data regarding the amount of funds involved in the EdChoice voucher lawsuit is available. The Coalition treasurer logs each payment districts pay. State officials do not need to “survey” and “re-survey” all the boards of education in Ohio to secure the information. The information is available from one source.
Instead of requesting the information from the Coalition/Vouchers Hurt Ohio, state officials are using intimidation tactics, harassing each school district for the data. This is against the law.
The Press Release below puts this matter in perspective.
May 30, 2022
Vouchers Hurt Ohio to Matt Huffman
Have Auditor Rescind So-Called “Survey”and Apologize to Local Public School Districts
COLUMBUS – Vouchers Hurt Ohio and the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding today called on Senate President Matt Huffman to tell the state auditor to rescind his email surveying local public school districts and apologize for the ill-advised intimidation tactic.
“Matt Huffman is a bully and he wasted a whole lot of tax dollars engaging a lawyer, an auditor and staff to send out an intimidating “survey” of school districts when a simple phone call to Vouchers Hurt Ohio would have answered all of his questions,” said Dan Heintz, VHO Steering Committee Member and Cleveland Heights-University Heights board member. “We are asking Mr. Huffman to tell State Auditor Keith Faber to rescind the survey, and apologize for sending it in the first place.”
Heintz said the survey was a waste of local tax dollars and time because the Ohio Auditor of State released the official audit of the Ohio Coalition of Equity & Adequacy in School Funding and Vouchers Hurt Ohio on May 22, and if there was a genuine need for the voucher information then they could have simply asked for it.
Heintz also said the districts involved in the lawsuit are listed here on the Vouchers Hurt Ohio website with the costs to each district, $2 per pupil per year, explained here. District enrollment numbers are found here using a search.
“These three links provide everything one would need to assemble the information gathered by their survey. This information is public record. But Mr. Huffman wasn’t interested in information. He was interested in intimidation,” Heintz said.
Heintz said the state of Ohio spent $315,487,121 on EdChoice vouchers during the 2021-22 school year according to the most recent data from the Ohio Department of Education found here.
“Mr. Huffman said the survey was to address his concerns about transparency and how much public schools are spending on the lawsuit. Did Mr. Huffman have a similar survey sent to private schools asking how much money has been spent on the lobbying effort to expand vouchers in Ohio?,” Heintz said.
The Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding is working with Vouchers Hurt Ohio, a growing coalition of public school districts that have come together to sue the state over the unconstitutional and harmful private school voucher program.
For more information:
Dennis Willard
Learn about EdChoice Vouchers: An Existential Threat to Public Schools