The Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education met on Tuesday morning to pass a resolution opposing the State of Ohio EdChoice Scholarship (voucher) Program.
On the education.ohio.gov website, it states that the Educational Choice Scholarship Program (EdChoice) provides students from designated public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The program also provides low-income students who are entering kindergarten through 12th grade scholarship opportunities. Eligibility for the program is based on if the district they are in is deemed “underperforming,” by the state.
According to a resolution provided by WCHCS Superintendent Tom Bailey, the members of the board oppose this program for multiple reasons. The first of which is that it hurts public schools by diverting funding toward private schools. A second reason stated in the resolution is that the private schools — despite receiving funding from the state — are not required to accept all students but would be permitted to retain their selective admission policies.
Additionally, these schools — according to the resolution — are not subject to the testing standards required by public school students so the actual performance of these private/parochial schools subsidized with public tax dollars will not be known relative to equivalent public school evaluation standards. It is because of these reasons, and more stated in the resolution, that the board opposes this legislation.
“EdChoice is a big deal in the state, if you follow state politics and education statewide, it is a main topic of debate right now,” Bailey said in an email Wednesday. “While WCHCS is not overly affected by this legislative change, we must be mindful of the overall implications which include the weakening of public schools in the state of Ohio.”
The board members unanimously approved the resolution Tuesday stating that the WCHCS Board of Education reaffirms its commitment to free accessible public schools which are adequately and equitably funded to guarantee a comparable education for all children. Therefore, they opposed and “respectfully request” the repeal of the “ill-conceived” EdChoice voucher program for the State of Ohio. Further, the board members said in the resolution that they oppose any funding programs, vouchers or otherwise, that have the effect of diverting public tax dollars from public to private/parochial schools.
Also within the school district, administrators announced Wednesday morning that there were would be bus delays “due to a large number of drivers with illnesses.”
“While I cannot comment on specific illnesses of individual drivers, I can say that it was varying issues (for the delays Wednesday),” WCHCS Director of Marketing and Communications Trevor Patton said. “The bus delays were a result of the lack of drivers available this morning, however we do not foresee it to be a continued issue. As we are in the middle of winter, it is expected that our illness rate is a little high at this time, however it is due to various types of sickness. While our flu cases have not reached an alarming rate, we are monitoring the health of all of our students closely and taking all necessary precautions to prevent an outbreak. Our custodial crews are working very hard to ensure that our schools remain clean and sanitized during the season.”
Patton additionally shared a letter circulated in the district last week encouraging parents and guardians to keep students home who have showed symptoms of the flu, including fever, coughing, sore throats, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, head aches, fatigue as well as vomiting and diarrhea (though these last two are more common in children than adults).
“Students should be free of these symptoms for 24 hours or more without the assistance of medication,” the letter read. “Any student returning to school with the above symptom(s) will be promptly sent home. We are encouraging anyone who has not gotten vaccinated to do so.”
Patton said the district is also always in need of additional bus and van drivers, as well as substitutes in the transportation department. For anyone interested in applying or learning the benefits of driving with WCHCS call (740) 335-6620.
The information in this article was provided by WCHCS Superintendent Tom Bailey and Director of Marketing and Communication Trevor Patton. Stay with the Record-Herald for more updates from the WCHCS Board of Education in future editions of the paper and online at www.recordherald.com.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.