A bill to revise the current EdChoice scholarship program is one step closer to passage after the Ohio House of Representatives Education Committee amended House Bill 200 (Koehler) on Tuesday. The bill, which would create the “Opportunity Scholarship Program,” expands scholarship eligibility to students using income based criteria while grandfathering in all students who are currently participating in the EdChoice program.
While the original bill raised the income eligibility cap for initial applicants from 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), to 400% (approximately $96,000 for a family of four), the amended bill lowered it to 300% of FPL. It also removed the Educational Savings Account component of the bill, which would have allowed parents to use any remaining funds above tuition for future education expenses. These changes, while unfortunate, indicate that the bill now has the necessary votes to pass out of the Education Committee for consideration by the the full House.
Agudath Israel will continue to work with its coalition partners and with the members of the General Assembly to move the bill forward and to make improvements to the proposed program. Rabbi Yitz Frank, Agudath Israel’s Ohio director, thanked the bill sponsor Rep. Kyle Koehler, the co-sponsors, and House Education Chairman Andrew Brenner for their persistence and support in advancing this bill.