Bill Phillis has spent years battling for the principle that public funds should go only to public schools. Rightwingers in the state have passed laws allowing charters, Cybercharters, and vouchers. Their appetite for public funds in insatiable. The charter lobby wrote the charter law. As Bill Phillis often reminds us, the funding of privately managed charters schools, private schools and religious schools directly contradicts the state constitution. But the school choice lobby ignores the state constitution. They think it doesn’t mean what it says.

Article VI, section 2:

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; but no religious or other sect, or sects, shall ever have any exclusive right to, or control of, any part of the school funds of this state.

Bill Phillis believes the state constitution means what it says.

He writes:

Education Savings Account (ESA), an Egregious Anti-Public School Scheme, Has Already Begun on a Small Scale in Ohio. The Privatization Crowd is Lobbying to Expand It.

The state’s two-year budget bill (HB110) provides for a $500 education savings account for certain K-12 students. Privatization gimmicks start small then grow into a tax-eating glutton. Privatizers are pushing for Ohio’s new education savings account to become a high dollar entitlement to students for education things such as laptops, tutoring, supplemental educational materials, or whatever. Whereas EdChoice vouchers can only be used at a private school, ESA’s can be used for whatever. Hence ESA’s fund parent-chosen education, not necessarily a private school. ESA’s are essentially public funds distributed to parents to purchase some kind of education for their children.

How is this scheme funded and how will the expanded version be funded? Right out of the K-12 public education budget line-items! Will it reduce funds for school districts? You bet!

How would this same type of funding scheme be used to fund Ohio’s physical infrastructure? Suppose, for example, each citizen would receive a proportionate amount of highway funds to purchase right of ways, aggregates, bituminous materials, etc., at their choosing? What chaos! The same applies to the social infrastructure. Without the public common school, the common good is diminished to a chaotic level.