From Kings Royal Email Bag--
A letter from Ohio House of Representatives Speaker Jon Husted
RE: School Choice in Ohio
In his State of the State speech on March 14, 2007, Ohio’s new Governor, Ted Strickland vowed to strike a blow against school choice by placing a moratorium on charter schools, cutting funding to them and eliminating the Ed Choice Scholarship Program – a statewide voucher program for children trapped in chronically underperforming schools.
In a March 29 editorial, the Wall Street Journal noted, “New Governor Ted Strickland has decided that one of his first priorities should be an assault on public and private school choice.” Students, parents, educators and legislators, quickly rallied in order to respond to the policies set forth by the governor in his executive budget proposal that would have virtually eliminated the school choice options that were serving nearly 100,000 of our state’s children.
I write today to let you know we defeated the Governor’s proposals to eliminate school choice and actually advanced the school choice agenda in Ohio.
With the strong case that the advocates for school choice made during the months of debate, we were able to pass the budget in the House, restoring the school choice provisions, 97-0. The Senate followed with a 33-0 vote, and eventually the Governor signed the bill. However, it was not before he line-item vetoed the special needs voucher program – a new program we had included in the bill.
I want to reassure all, especially the parents and special needs students that we will not let the special needs issue die and will work to change the Governor’s mind and the law.
Overall, this was a success story, not just because we restored and advanced school choice, but because we have begun to change hearts and minds.
I thank you for the work you are doing to promote school choice. Your support is meaningful in this success story, and it is my hope that Ohio can serve as an example of why school choice is so important and the lives it touches everywhere. Be sure that I will continue to work to preserve and expand the opportunity for children to learn in a school of their choice.
Jon A. HustedSpeaker
Ohio House of Representatives