(The Center Square) – A new poll produced by a conservative Libertarian group shows most Ohioans support current legislation in the Ohio General Assembly that would expand school choice to all Ohio students.
In the Americans for Prosperity-Ohio poll, 53% of those surveyed supported the current Backpack Bill, which supporters say fund students rather than school districts.
“Our polling shows that Ohioans are clearly ready for a bold policy agenda,” said Donovan O’Neil, state director of AFP-Ohio. “It is our hope that the Ohio General Assembly can embrace commonsense reforms and come together to move the Buckeye State from middle in the Midwest to first in the nation on tax policy, education and healthcare solutions.”
As previously reported by The Center Square, the Backpack Bill failed to pass the General Assembly during the last session but was introduced again in March.
House Bill 11, which held its third hearing in front of the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee on Tuesday, would make all public, nonpublic and homeschool students in grades K-12 eligible for a state scholarship to attend a nonpublic school or be home-schooled.
An education savings account would fund the scholarships.
State funding for public school students taking the scholarship would follow the student to nonpublic schools. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, a nonpartisan state agency that provides General Assembly with drafting, research, budget and fiscal analysis, public school districts whose students take the scholarship would lose funding.
Money, either $5,000 for K-8 students or $7,500 for high school students, could be paid directly to a school or reimbursed to parents.
Opponents call the plan a $1 billion scam.
The Legislative Service Commission said the bill would cost taxpayers about $1.13 billion in fiscal year 2025 if all newly eligible students took the scholarship.
The fiscal note said for every 1% of newly eligible nonpublic students who do not take the scholarship, the costs would fall by about $11.3 million annually.
The AFP-Ohio poll surveyed 1,064 Ohio registered voters at the end of March.