By Beth Lawson, Director of Media & Communications for School Choice Ohio
Ohio has become a national leader in educational options and school choice programs with the passage of HB 33 which included universal school choice for all Ohio students. One goal of this legislation was to put true educational choice into the hands of each family…not just those that have the ability and resources to pay tuition.
All students are different! While the majority of students and families are happy with their local public school district, there are other students who need a different environment, learning style or educational focus in order to truly shine.
Northwest Ohio offers a wide variety of educational options for families to choose from for student education.
Public school districts provide a tuition-free education that is available to all students who reside within the district. Many public-school districts offer additional educational options within their district such as open enrollment, career tech/vocational programs, and magnet schools which are schools with a specific educational focus.
Joint vocational school districts are tuition-free, public schools that primarily provide students with vocational and workforce related training programs.
Private schools are non-public schools that hold a charter from the state of Ohio and must maintain compliance with Ohio’s Operating Standards. Private schools are not directly supported by local or state tax dollars and require the family to pay tuition.
Community (charter) schools offer options for families seeking a non-traditional, K-12 public educational setting for their students. Community schools are tuition-free, public, non-profit, non-religious schools that receive state and federal funds but operate independently of traditional school districts.
Non-chartered, non-tax supported schools are schools that choose not to be chartered by the state of Ohio. Each NCNT school must certify in an annual report to its families that the school meets Ohio’s Operating Standards. Families are required to pay tuition.
Home education is an option for families who want to take on the responsibility and actively participate in their child’s education. There are several home education groups and resources available to families who choose home education for their students.
How does universal school choice work?
If a family chooses a private education for their student, Ohio provides a scholarship to help cover the cost of tuition. The full scholarship award is $6166 for K-8 and $8408 for high school annually. The scholarship is prorated for students whose family income is above 450% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The scholarship may not cover all the costs associated with a private education. Tuition assistance programs, low-income write-offs, parent volunteer programs and other resources may be available to further assist in covering the cost of tuition.
Special needs scholarships
Ohio offers two different scholarships to assist students with special needs: the Autism Scholarship and the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship (JPSN). Scholarship funding helps parents access resources and educational services specific to their child’s learning needs.
Celebrate National School Choice Week and learn more about all of the educational options in Northwest Ohio by attending the 2024 Northwest Ohio K-12 School Fair on Saturday, January 27 at the Toledo Zoo’s Malawi Event Center from 11am to 2pm.
The event will feature a wide variety of school options including public, charter, STEMM, private and home education groups and resources. It will be a fun day for the whole family to enjoy music, food, activities and prizes. To register to attend the FREE event, visit scohio.org/event/2024-nw-ohio-school-fair.