Monday, October 24, 2011

Wellsville BOE Opposes Changes In Voucher Students Legislation

In spite of some Board members expressing that they “were truly disappointed” they “didn't have anyone present from the press” the Wellsville Board of Education emphatically and unanimously voted to adopt a resolution opposing Ohio House of Representatives House Bill 136. The Wellsville Board took that action at their monthly BOE meeting a week ago Monday, October 17. HB-136 is legislation being encouraged by Ohio Gov. Kasich to expand grant vouchers to any public school student in Ohio.

School Superintendent Rich Bereschik stated there has been another call to action for everyone to get in touch with their State Legislators asking that they oppose passage of this particular bill. Bereschik added the changes goes against public education. He added the bill is being opposed by the Ohio Education Association, the Ohio School Boards Association and list of other professional education organizations.

New to the voucher program is the inclusion of private schools such as cyber schools. It doesn't have to be “brick & mortar” private schools. HB-136 would significantly expand the availability of vouchers for students to attend private or parochial schools. It would grant vouchers to any public school student in Ohio provided their family income is $95,000 or less, without regard to the academic performance of the public school that student is assigned to attend. The bill would also cover students already enrolled in private or parochial schools.

State provided funding to the Wellsville school district is currently $6,900 per student for the academic school year. That is the amount the Wellsville School District's annual operating budget would be reduced for each voucher student. The proposed legislation would take dollars directly from already cash strapped local public school districts. “It will be a big blow to public education if it goes through” according to Bereschik. The resolution passed by the Wellsville BOE expresses their opposition to any legislation that would transfer public dollars to support private education. They directed the Treasurer to forward a copy of the resolution to members of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The next scheduled Wellsville BOE meeting is Monday, November 21, in the Superintendent's Office. That office is located at 929 Center St.

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