GALLIPOLIS — Ohio families will continue to have more opportunities to choose their education with the EdChoice scholarship expansion.
The Edchoice scholarship is issued to families who live at or above 200 percent of the poverty level that apply to go to a non-public charter school in Ohio.
Ohio Valley Christian School is the only institution that is offering Edchoice in Gallia County. They have offered the program for the last two years and will continue to do so with the new expansion from Ohio House Bill 59.
“House Bill 59 mandates that one grade each year be added to the scholarship until K-12 is covered by 2025. So once a student is enrolled in the scholarship, it may be renewed each successive year so long as the family meets financial eligibility,” said Chief Administrator of OVCS Patrick O’Donnell.
While charter schools have been able to offer the scholarship to students up to fifth grade, they will be expanding that annually until all 13 grades are covered.
In order for a school to participate in the program, a school must be a non-public charter school that has applied for the program and is operating according to their charter agreement with the state. According to O’donnell, schools have to verify with the state that they are in compliance with their charter through the Ohio Department of Education.
“We are able to extend the education that we offer to families that might not otherwise be able to afford our tuition. I think the Christian education is an excellent response to poverty in our area and we are able to reach out to families who may not otherwise be able to come to our school and benefit from the Christian education that we are offering,” said O’Donnell. “We just want to offer the kids in the county a choice, our public schools in the area do a good job. Some students benefit from the education that is offered in our public schools here, some are better suited for our smaller school with smaller class sizes, and that’s part of the whole Edchoice piece, is to give families choices as to how they will educate their children.”
The project is funded from the Ohio general budget and is different from a similar program for students who reside in school districts that are in the bottom 10 percent in the state regarding academic performance. Each scholarship is worth $4,650 and families must use the money for tuition costs.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.