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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

State representatives urged to oppose special education scholarship

Monday, Nov. 24, 2008

In a letter to central Ohio's delegation to the Ohio House of Representatives sent today, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus opposed Sub. SB 57.

The legislation, which has already passed the state Senate, would create the Special Education Scholarship Pilot Program. The letter was sent to:

The letter was sent in response to an action alert issued by the League of Women Voters of Ohio. The full text of the letter follows:

On behalf of the board of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus and our members across central Ohio, I urge you to vote against Sub. SB 57. The League supports the use of public funds only for schools that are accountable to the public, and believes that all schools receiving public funds should comply with uniform state standards. This is not the case with Sub. SB 57 because public funds would be distributed to private schools and entities that are not accountable to elected boards of education or public oversight.

Furthermore, the bill lacks any specific language regarding fiscal accountability and monitoring the use of the public funds tied to implementation of a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). The provider may, with the permission of the applicant, modify the student’s IEP and still receive funding based on the implementation of the negotiated IEP. The school district of record will be required to review and update the student’s IEP without any additional funds.

Sub. SB 57 establishes a new five-year pilot voucher program for students with special needs, the Special Education Scholarship Pilot Program. The pilot program will divert public funds to programs and entities that will be exempt from state performance standards, federal laws regarding the education of children with disabilities, and the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, it will operate under laws and rules that are less rigorous than those public school districts are required to follow. 

The legislature should focus on supporting public schools in a fair and accountable manner rather than creating separate scholarship programs. We ask you to oppose Sub. SB 57. Thank you for your consideration of the League’s request, and for your service to the citizens of central Ohio.