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Thumbs down: Plan would undermine Ohio schools further

Jul. 17, 2013 @ 12:05 AM

A proposal that would further hurt the financial underpinnings of public education in Ohio is being floated by a lawmaker from the Buckeye State.

Sen. Kris Jordan, a Republican who represents a district north of Columbus, is proposing that parents who home-school their children receive a property-tax reduction equal to what they pay for school levies in their local districts. Under his plan, those who own property and choose to home-school their children would be the winners, some to the tune of a couple thousand dollars or more a year.

Losing out would be the public school districts, who would no longer receive those property taxes. The state's Department of Education says more than 10,000 children are educated at home, although how many are in owner-occupied residences is unknown. So the financial impact on school districts is hard to gauge, but it no doubt would run into millions of dollars.

That may not seem like a huge impact, but it would be another setback for the public school system. The state already has various voucher programs that pay for more than 26,000 children to attend private or charter schools, with that money being taken away from their home school districts. The motivation for those programs is to allow parents to take their children out of low-performing schools. Yet the state does not grade the private schools on their performance, so it's not clear whether those students are receiving a better education.

Meanwhile, the state has cut funding for many public school districts, including some in Lawrence County.

Ohio's public school system has taken enough hits on resources in recent years. It doesn't need to take another one. The home-school proposal should be rejected.

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