What is the state of Ohio paying for charters and vouchers? From state data and evaluations, we know that neither sector performs as well as the state’s public schools. The legislature likes to fund failure.

Bill Phillis, who retired as deputy state superintendent and is expert about school finance, has the answer:

Current Cost of School Choice

The cost of school choice borne by the state and school districts is enormous. Public school leaders and advocates should be alarmed.
Ohio has been private school-friendly beginning a half century ago. In HB 166, the state provides private schools with $139,995,470 for administrative cost reimbursement and $309,878,268 for auxiliary services, for a total of $449,873,738. One half billion!

Additional direct state subsidies for charter schools and vouchers in HB 166 for FY 21 and FY 22 include:   


Charter facilities                                                $40,000,000 
 Quality charter schools                                  $60,000,000               
Public charter schools                                     $14,000,000               
EdChoice expansion                                      $178,240,758              
Choice programs                                                $9,780,309                               Total                                                $302,021,067

Hence, the direct state appropriations for private schools, charters and vouchers in FY 21 and FY 22 total $751,894,805.

If the deductions from school districts in FY 22 are equal to the deductions in FY 21 for vouchers and charters, the total will be $2,352,881,306. Therefore, the grand total of tax dollars going to private schools and charters in FY 21 and FY 22 is $3,104,776,111.

Charter school deductions from school districts started with $10,784,924 in FY 99 and escalated each year to $929,884,915 in FY 15. Since FY 15, the total charter deduction has reduced slowly to $827,136,047 in the current school year. Vouchers started in 2008 with $42,355,792 in deductions and have escalated to $349,304,605 in the current year.

HB 166 is set to expand EdChoice vouchers exponentially. The legislature gave a one-year “freeze” in the expansion but the choice community will no doubt prevail in the expansion. 

The EdChoice litigation effort is designed to outlaw the EdChoice voucher scheme.
William L. Phillis | Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding | 614.228.6540 | ohioeanda@sbcglobal.netwww.ohiocoalition.org