Schools accepting voucher applications

Parents of students who are eligible for the EdChoice voucher program can apply now at participating private schools.

Six area private schools are accepting applications for the EdChoice program, which provides state-funded vouchers of $4,250 for elementary school students or $5,000 for high school students to use for tuition at participating private schools.

Students interested in attending a private school under EdChoice must apply by April 19 or the school’s deadline, whichever comes first. For more information, visit edchoice.ohio.gov.

Students who attend Fulton, Kenwood, Lincoln, Perrin Woods, Snyder Park and Warder Park-Wayne elementary schools and Keifer Academy are eligible for one of the up to 60,000 vouchers available statewide this year. The participating private schools are Catholic Central Schools, Emmanuel Christian Academy, Guiding Shepherd Christian School, Nightingale Montessori, Risen Christ Lutheran School and Springfield Christian.

“EdChoice gives a choice so people can weigh their public school or … open enrollment so they can weigh those choices against a private school that’s going to allow kids and families to hone in on their values and beliefs in terms of faith and Christianity,” said Dan Bragg, superintendent of Emmanuel Christian. “For some, they’re going to think that’s a great option.”

Gov. John Kasich has proposed expanding the program to include low-income students and students who fail or fail to make progress in reading. He wants to start with low-income kindergartners next year with limits on how many could participate but his plan hasn’t been approved by lawmakers.

In the 2011-12 school year, 15,403 students used EdChoice vouchers to attend private or parochial schools. School Choice Ohio reports 17,438 students have applied for an Ed-Choice voucher this school year.

Students are eligible for EdChoice if they attend a school rated in Academic Emergency or Academic Watch for two of the past three school years or ranked in the lowest 10 percent of public school buildings by their performance index rating, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

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