Dear CHEO friend,
In an effort to keep our families and friends informed of business in the state house, we are bringing this update to you. This is an UPDATE…not an immediate/emergency call to action. We hope this information will be helpful as we watch and pray for our state legislative body. We also want you to know that this bill, as introduced, could definitely have a negative affect for Ohio Home Educators.
CHEO Legislative Liaison
Disclaimer: This information is provided for your consideration and as a public service
Introduced February 28, 2023, this legislation is intended to expand state funding for all forms of educational options in Ohio to give parents the freedom to choose where and how their children will be educated. Public schools receive operational funding from federal, state, and local resources.
HB 11 focuses on what is referred to as state core “foundation funding”. It does not affect federal or local resources. It simply allows the state funds to “follow the child”.
Currently Ohio offers scholarship funds for students to attend chartered nonpublic schools through the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program, the traditional Education Choice Scholarship, and the expanded Education Choice Scholarship Programs. Normally, to receive one of these scholarships the student either has to live in the Cleveland Municipal School District, live in a “failing” school district, or have a family income that is less than 250% of the federal poverty level.
HB11 dissolves all of these scholarship programs and then creates a new scholarship concept using “education savings accounts” under a program entitled, the Backpack Scholarship Program.
This program has no income requirement barriers or connection to failing public school districts. It also provides the opportunity for home educating families to utilize these savings accounts through the proposed Backpack Scholarship Program.
The funds available per student per year would be as follows:
• $5,500 for students in grades K-8
• $7,500 for students in grades 9-12
Details are Important:
CHEO is firmly opposed to HB 11 as introduced – not because we oppose opportunities for parents to have the freedom to make educational decisions for their children – but because the details in the proposed statutory language provide conflicting terms for home educators. More importantly, the flow of state foundation funds to home educating families will absolutely invite restrictive oversight of home educators and erode the freedom we have experienced for the past 33 years.
To explain some of the issues with this bill, let me provide some examples.
Each of the following sections, as introduced, provide a description of a home educated student as being “enrolled”, “excused”, or “exempt” from compulsory attendance. This is not possible in statutory law. All these terms have different meanings and usage, and they fail to harmonize with the many other sections of law that would be affected by the change.
• Sec. 3310.21(C)(2)
Eligible student = student who is excused from compulsory attendance for the purpose of home instruction under RC 3321.04 (lines 40-42)
• Sec. 3310.22
The purpose of the program is to permit students to enroll in the educational environment that they and their parents determine is the best fit for them. (lines 60-62)
• Sec. 3310.23(B)
When an application is submitted for an Educations Savings Account (ESA) the State Treasurer shall approve it and establish the ESA for that student if the student is enrolled in a participating school or is excused from compulsory attendance for the purpose of home instruction for the equivalent of any grade kindergarten through twelve. (Lines 114, 121-124)
• Sec. 3317.02(K)(8)
“Enrolled ADM” means students with BP ESAs (lines 596, 655-659) NOTE: This definition includes home educated students.
• Sec. 3321.042
Redefines a home educated student as one who is exempt from compulsory school attendance. (lines 2334 – 2351)
In this example below, the protections provided for chartered/non-charted schools are not provided to home educated students in this specific section.
The Treasurer shall not regulate the educational or instructional programs of participating chartered / non chartered nonpublic schools. The Treasurer is prohibited from imposing additional requirements on participating chartered / non chartered nonpublic schools. Participating chartered / non chartered nonpublic schools shall be given maximum freedom to provide for the educational needs of their students. (lines 293-309)
In another example:
If the new definition in RC 3321.042 is enacted there are many other provisions in the Revised Code that will need to be amended to conform. (e.g. the diploma statute, college credit plus, extracurricular sports / clubs, etc.)
• RC 3313.6110:
If this is not amended to conform to the new definition, home educated students could LOSE their diploma guarantee.
• RC 33313.5312
If this is not amended to conform to the new definition, home educated students could LOSE their capacity to participate in extracurricular activities through the public school.
These are just a couple of examples of the importance of thinking through other statutory policies that would be affected by changing the definition of home education in the Revised Code.
Funding for HB11:
Here is the proposed computation and distribution of state core foundation funding:
The funding amount in the first year is –
$5,500 grades K-8
$7,500 grades 9-12
Conceptually this funding will cover tuition for school enrollment, which includes expenses to operate a school (teacher salaries, building maintenance, materials, other operational expenses that home educating families do not have)
• Sec. 3317.022 (lines 1056-1057, 1062)
• Sec. 3317.022(A)(14)(a) (lines 1436 – 1441)
Hypothetically a home educating family with 6 school age children could have access to $37,000 in state funds per year.
Example: Family with 6 children…
$22,000 ( 4 kids @ $5500/each)
+$15,000 ( 2 kids @ $7500/each)
$37,000 (total funds for 1 school year
This type of funding will definitely put a target on Ohio’s home education regulations!
STATUS OF HB 11
HB 11 has had two hearings – sponsor testimony and proponent testimony. If additional hearings are scheduled, the next hearing will likely be for opponent witnesses. The General Assembly is expected to be on break the first two weeks of April. When they reconvene, it will be up to the Chairman Adam Bird (Primary and Secondary Education Committee) as to when the next hearing will be scheduled. This committee usually meets on Tuesdays.
We will let you know as soon as the next hearing is posted.
In the meantime, if you wish to engage on this issue you can contact your own State Representative. Please ask for a NO vote on HB 11, unless it is amended to remove the home education provisions.
Here is a link to find out who represents you: Click Here
Over the next two weeks, you can also email the members of the Ohio House Primary and Secondary Education Committee. Ask them to oppose HB 11 unless it is amended to remove the home education provisions.
Here is a link to the Ohio House Primary and Secondary Education Committee members: Click Here
Everyone is busy but if we don’t speak up on behalf of our families, who else will? As always, please be respectful and kind when communicating with our elected officials and their staff.
If you have any questions please email us at email@example.com.
Here is a link to the HB 11 text and the Legislative Service Center (LSC) analysis: Click Here