Institute to Defend Ohio Choice Program
Washington, D.C. –Those who would keep parents from exercising school choice in their children’s education are at it again. The Ohio Federation of Teachers went to court today to secure an injunction against the nation’s second school choice program, which is due to commence this fall in Cleveland. The program provides, among other features, vouchers of approximately $2,250 to enable about 1,500 low-income children entering kindergarten through third grade in the 1996-97 school year to attend private and religiously affiliated schools. The program has attracted more than 50 schools and 6,550 applications. A lottery was held last week to determine which families will be accepted to participate in the program. Parents will be notified next week.
The lawsuit, Gatton v. Goff, which was filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus, challenges the program on state and federal constitutional grounds. The primary focus is establishment of religion.
“We are making plans now to represent parents and children who desperately need school choice to escape Cleveland’s failing public schools,” declared Clint Bolick, the Institute’s vice president. The Institute for Justice worked closely with Governor Voinovich to develop the plan. It also represents low-income parents and children defending the Milwaukee parental choice program, which is presently before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“Ohio has developed a first-rate school choice program that should withstand any constitutional scrutiny,” Bolick said.