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Lawmakers Unveil the Backpack Bill

By Katie Johnson posted 10-11-2021 01:25 PM


Last week, Ohio House Republicans unveiled , referred to as the Backpack Bill, which would establish a statewide universal voucher program.

HB 290, which is pending in the House Finance Committee, is sponsored by Reps. Marilyn John (R-Richland County) and Riordan McClain (R-Upper Sandusky) and would create the Backpack Scholarship Program under which all students in Ohio would be eligible for $5,550 or $7,500 to be deposited into an education savings account to be used for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks and other allowable uses. The bill would repeal the EdChoice and Cleveland voucher programs and retain the Autism and Jon Peterson Special Needs voucher programs. The impact of the legislation on the future of the Fair School Funding Plan is unknown, but it would no doubt be detrimental to further phase-in of the Plan.

The cost of the legislation is being analyzed, but HB 290 will likely cost several billion dollars annually depending on student participation rates. We will keep you informed of opportunities to testify. Please contact your legislator and the members of the House Finance Committee with your concerns about how this legislation would impact your school district. 

 .  distributed by a supportive advocacy organization in which several claims are made about school districts’ spending and academic performance.

Legislation like this highlights the urgency and importance of getting your legislators into your school buildings to see all the wonderful things you are doing for public school students and the communities you serve. Please reach out to your legislators to schedule a visit. The resources for the Hearts and Souls Project can be found on our respective websites (,  ).


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