Proposed choice legislation for the state of Ohio includes SB 65 which would create the Special Education Scholarship Program to provide scholarships for handicapped children to attend alternative public or private special education programs. Under the bill, a child would be eligible for a special education scholarship if the child's resident school district has identified the child as handicapped and developed an IEP for the child. Also, the child must either have been enrolled in the district's public schools (K-12) prior to the year the scholarship is intended to be used, or simply enrolled in the district the same year the scholarship is used.
Additional proposed choice legislation in the state of Ohio includes the 100 Percent Solution, or Weighted Student Funding.
Weighted Student Funding
To solve the problems of inequity and antiquity plaguing our system of education financing and to ensure that all children receive a quality education, dramatic change is needed. Weighted student funding (WSF) is the best solution. We believe that five principles must be embraced to reform school financing and close the achievement gaps.
1. Funding should follow the child, on a per-student basis, to the public school that he/she attends.38
2. Per-student funding should vary according to a child?s need and other relevant circumstances.
3. The funds should arrive at the school as real dollars (i.e., not teaching positions, ratios, or staffing norms) that can be spent flexibly, with accountability gauged by results, not inputs, programs, or activities.
4. These principles for allocating money to schools should apply to all levels (e.g., federal funds going to states, state funds going to districts, districts to schools).
5. All funding systems should be simplified and made transparent.
Sidebar: Winners and Losers in Cincinnati
After the implementation of WSF in Cincinnati, there were changes in the funding of every school in the district. On average, schools gained or lost $266 per-pupil-4.2 percent of the average school budget. The largest gain was $730,881-a 16.8 percent increase in that school's original budget. The largest loss was $595,316-a 16.4 percent decrease in that school's original budget.* Significant losses were not confined only to schools with large percentage decreases in budgets. With the elimination of special-program funding, many long-treasured programs across the district-each with its supporters-lost funding.**