Last week, Agudath Israel’s Ohio Director, Rabbi Yitz Frank provided testimony to the Ohio House Education Committee on House Bill 200, sponsored by Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield).

Rabbi Frank meeting with Senator Bill Coley (R - Liberty Township)

Rabbi Frank meeting with Senator Bill Coley (R – Liberty Township)

The bill will expand school choice in a significant way to Ohio students and families. The bill is a companion bill to Senate Bill 85, sponsored by Senate Matt Huffman (R-Lima). Agudath Israel looks forward to working with House and Senate leadership to continue making progress toward the passage of these important bills.

In bigger news, the Ohio General assembly wrapped up Ohio’s biennial budget this past Wednesday. The bill awaits Governor Kasich’s signature as well as potential vetoes on certain items. Despite over one billion dollars in budget cuts, Agudath Israel, working with members of the Ohio House, Senate, and the administration, was fortunate to see many of its initiatives included in the final version of the budget (see budget testimony here)

Some of the provisions included:

  • Continued expansion of the EdChoice Income-based program, which received funding increases to enable an additional two grades of students to access school choice.
  • Increases in funding to Auxiliary Services Funding for nonpublic schools (providing approximately $860 per pupil).
  • Permits nonpublic schools to use Auxiliary Services Funding to pay for security personnel.
  • Increases in funding for the Administrative Cost Reimbursement (providing approximately $405 per pupil).
  • Allows students with special needs to access the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship upon completion of their IEP, instead of current law which has enrollment deadlines.
  • Requires the Ohio Department of Education to provide written tests for state testing instead of mandating that they be given by on a computer. (High potential for a veto.)
  • Additional funding for security personnel.
  • Increased scholarship amounts for the Cleveland Scholarship Program.

Agudath Israel thanks its coalition partners and the members of the Ohio General Assembly for working together to create a budget that continues to advance educational opportunity in Ohio.