Cleveland Voucher Program
The Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring program, enacted by the Ohio Legislature in 1995, was the nation's first publicly funded voucher plan that included religious schools. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the program. Approximately 5,264 students enrolled in the program in the 2010-2011 school year, with vouchers worth up to $3,450 per student for students entering grades K-8. The program diverts up to $19 million a year from a Cleveland public school fund aimed at educating disadvantaged students.
Research has indicated no overall differences in the academic achievement of public school students and voucher students, though recent evaluations have indicated that public school students made larger test score gains than voucher students who started out ahead of their public school counterparts. The research also has shown that African-American students and low-income students are underrepresented in the program compared to the city's public school population. Despite no credible evidence of academic achievement because of vouchers in Cleveland, the Ohio Legislature, in 2005, approved a statewide voucher program (EdChoice) that began in the 2006-07 school year.
In June 2011, Gov. John Kasich passed a budget that increases by $800-$1,550 per student in Cleveland vouchers and opened eligibility to high school grades.