Fact Sheets: The Truth About Vouchers

Cleveland, OH Voucher Program

  • The cost budgeted by the state legislature for the voucher program in 2000-2001 is $13.8 million, with proposed funding reaching $18 million by the 2002-2003 school year. The voucher program is funded through Cleveland's portion of the state's Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid (DPIA)19, thereby decreasing funds available for Cleveland programs for disadvantaged public school students.20
  • The state of Ohio has spent more tax money per pupil on the students in the voucher program than it has for the nearly 90% of Ohio's school children in public schools.21 Since 1991, the state appropriated more money for its private schools ($1.1 billion) than to refurbish its public schools ($1 billion).22 $140 million in the 1998-99 school year alone went to private schools for textbooks, reading and math specialists, science equipment, and more.23 All of Ohio's private schools already receive about $600 per pupil in cash, supplies and services from state taxpayers and local schools.24 In contrast, Ohio public schools have been found to have among the worst facilities and technology in the nation, and the state supreme court has ruled that inequitable funding for the public school system violates the state constitution.25
  • As in Milwaukee, money is subtracted from public schools in Cleveland for voucher students who were not attending public school. In the program's first year, $1.6 million-almost 25% of the Ohio taxpayer cost-went for tuition of students who were already enrolled in private schools. In the 1999-2000 school year, less than one-third of the voucher students came from public schools the year before.26
  • In its second year, the voucher program exceeded its budget by 41%. This shortfall was covered with funds earmarked for public schools.27 At the same time, several public schools had to borrow against future revenues to keep their doors open.28
  • As in Milwaukee, Cleveland public schools are not saving money due to the reduction of students. One study found that the district's operational costs continued to increase even though the number of students is reduced by the voucher program. The report found that students were drawn from throughout the large district, so that it "is not able to reduce administrative costs or eliminate a teaching position….[Instead, the district] is losing the DPIA [Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid] without a change in their overall operating costs."29
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