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'Backpack' bill would give every student in Ohio a voucher to attend private school

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Currently there are about 35,000 Ohio students who receive vouchers to attend private schools under the EdChoice program. Now a bill proposed by a pair of lawmakers would make every student in Ohio eligible for a voucher to pay for a private education.

House Bill 290, known as the "backpack bill," would give $5,500 to students in K-8 and $7,500 to students in 9-12. Right now, Ohio has five voucher programs. House Bill 290 would replace three of them. Current voucher programs require kids to live near certain schools or have certain family incomes. This bill would eliminate those requirements.

Opponents of the backpack bill argue it would siphon public dollars to private organizations, and the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy on School Funding plans on challenging the bill in court.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss House Bill 290 are Ohio State Representative for the 2nd House District Marilyn John, a sponsor of the bill; and Coalition of Equity & Adequacy of School Funding Executive Director Bill Phillis.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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