"Parental Rights"

Which Students Qualify and How Many Participate

Enacted in 1995, the voucher law provides that any K-3 student residing within the boundaries of the Cleveland Municipal School District can apply for a "scholarship" to attend private or religious schools. Once admitted, students may continue to receive vouchers through the 8th grade. Vouchers are assigned through a random-selection lottery system. Cleveland’s voucher program was the first to include religious schools, and the program permits the participation of students already enrolled in private schools.3

The program provides vouchers of up to 90 percent of a religious or other private school’s tuition, or up to a maximum of $2,250 (whichever is less), for families earning at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The state pays 75 percent of a participating school’s tuition or a maximum of $1,875 for eligible families earning more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. In 1996, the first year of the program, 1,994 vouchers were granted to eligible students. For the current 2001-02 school year, 4,266 students are using vouchers.4

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