By what authority does the state give tax money to private schools via direct payments and vouchers?

State government in Ohio is directed by the Ohio Constitution to secure, by taxation, a thorough and efficient system of common schools. (Article VI, section 2) Pursuant to this mandate, private schools had no part, nor lot in tax funding for more than 110 years after Article VI, section 2 became a part of the Constitution adopted by Ohioans in 1851.

On August 10, 1965, a law was signed by the governor to force public school districts to transport private school students at public expense. In the 1980’s two line-items were added to the state budget to appropriate tax funds to private schools–auxiliary services and non-public administrative cost reimbursement. Then in the 1990’s, the state started funding private school vouchers. These programs have diverted tens of billions in tax money to private education. Currently, in the range of a billion dollars annually will go to private schools via vouchers.

By what authority are taxpayers forced to fund private schools? Certainly not by the authority of the Ohio Constitution. So, by what authority? State officials since 1965 have, without any constitutional authority, been misusing tax funds for private school purposes. Article VI, section 2 specifically identifies the common school system as the education institution that is entitled to public funds.

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