Agudath Israel Lauds Plan to Overhaul and Expand Ohio’s Voucher Programs

Today, Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima), vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee, unveiled a ground-breaking bill to improve upon Ohio’s existing private school choice programs and provide opportunities to many more students.

Agudath Israel of Ohio Director Rabbi Yitz Frank with Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima)

Agudath Israel of Ohio Director Rabbi Yitz Frank with Ohio State Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima)

Currently, Ohio has five separate scholarship programs. Two of them are for students with special needs while each of the other three programs has its own set of eligibility rules that vary based on income, geography, and assigned public school. Senator Huffman’s bill proposes to simplify eligibility by combining those three programs into one and increasing the scholarship amounts. Eligibility would be open to all families across the state earning an income at, or below 400% of the federal poverty level. Current scholarship recipients will remain eligible.

“More than 30,000 students across Ohio are currently receiving scholarships worth up to $6000 to attend the private school of their choice, with many parents choosing Jewish day schools” said Agudath Israel’s Ohio director, Rabbi Yitz Frank. “The new program, if passed, will significantly expand eligibility to many more students across Ohio.”

“Agudath Israel has had the pleasure of working with Senator Huffman for the last decade,” said Agudath Israel’s national director of state relations, Rabbi A. D. Motzen. “In 2013, then-Speaker Pro Tempore Huffman received the Public Service Award at Agudath Israel’s Midwest banquet. Within weeks of returning to the General Assembly, Senator Huffman has wasted no time in trying to help all Ohio families choose the school that works best for their children.”

Agudath Israel looks forward to continuing to work with Senator Huffman and the Ohio General Assembly to enact this important bill into law, and thereby strengthen our education system for all Ohioans.

For over 60 years, Agudath Israel has served as a liaison between government and the entire spectrum of Orthodox Jewish educational institutions in the United States. Agudath Israel has been a prominent voice in the school choice movement in Ohio and across the country as it believes that one of the keys to educational excellence is parental involvement – and that there is no better way to encourage such involvement, and to ensure educational accountability, than to allow parents to choose the school that is best suited for their children, whether public or nonpublic, secular or sectarian.