Dear Friend of Shaker Heights Schools,
Several weeks ago, I wrote to inform you that two of our elementary schools, Onaway and Woodbury, had been placed on the state’s EdChoice list. They joined Mercer, which was placed on the list last school year and remains there this year.
These three Shaker schools are among the more than 1,200 public schools in more than 400 districts that have been placed on this list. Many of these schools, like ours that are on the list, are among the best schools in their regions and are in some of the top-performing districts in our state.There is more at stake here than reputation. The EdChoice program allows families living in the attendance zones of these schools to receive a voucher to attend a participating private or religious school. That means local tax dollars are taken away from public school districts and sent to private schools. As it now stands, EdChoice may financially cripple some school districts, leading to cuts in programs and curriculum.
Since I wrote you, I have traveled twice to Columbus. During my first trip I met with other superintendents and public education advocates about strategies to fix the state’s EdChoice program. Several days later, I testified before the State Board of Education about the flaws in the program and its impact on our District and districts throughout the state. You can read my remarks here and watch my testimony (please scroll to 1:53:00).
I will return to Columbus next week as part of a steering committee dedicated to persuading lawmakers to consider specific changes in EdChoice and in the way the state evaluates our public schools.
I am gratified that many of you have called or emailed me and expressed your support for these efforts. Some have asked how you, as citizens and taxpayers, can help advocate for change. Below are some action steps that you can take to help in this effort.
At this juncture, I recommend contacting key elected officials (see contacts at the end of this message) throughout our state and tell them they need to:
- Provide immediate financial relief to districts disproportionately impacted by EdChoice vouchers.
- Stop deducting voucher payments from school district funds and directly fund some or all of the new vouchers added to the program this year.
- Make the state, rather than local districts, pay for vouchers going to students who did not attend the district the previous year.
- Place a cap on either the number of students getting a voucher or on the amount of money that a district can lose in any given year.
Unless we act, EdChoice will undermine excellent public education options in our region and across the state. Working together, superintendents, teachers, parents and other supporters of public education can make a positive difference.
Dr. David Glasner, Superintendent
Shaker Heights City School District
Contact Your Elected Officials:
Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) Chair, Senate Education Committee
Email Senator Lehner
Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) Ranking Minority Member, Senate Education Committee
Email Senator Fedor
Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls)
Email Senator Dolan
Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland)
Email Senator Williams
Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights)
Phone (614) 644-5079
Email Representative Boyd
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder
Phone (614) 466-2500
Email Representative Householder
Governor Mike DeWine
Email Governor DeWine