How the common school system differs from charter and voucher schemes

The people of Ohio via the Constitution have imposed upon state officials three specific responsibilities regarding public education:

  • To secure by taxation a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout Ohio (Article VI, §2)

  • Provide for, by statute, the organization, administration and control of the public school system supported by public funds (Article VI, §3)

  • Prescribe by law the powers and duties of the state board of education and superintendent of public instruction (Article VI, §4)


Hence the state owns the obligation to ensure a thorough and efficient system and has no moral or legal duty to provide for any other education schemes.



Shamefully, the state has enacted schemes that erode funding and moral support from the common school.


Since the common school system does not meet the constitutional standard of thorough and efficient, the state cannot justify redirecting $1.2 billion or more annually from the common school system to charters and vouchers.


The common school system differs from the tax-supported charters and voucher schools in a variety of ways:


                                                                      Common schools         Charters/Vouchers

Required by the Constitution                                   yes                                 no

Have a geographic base                                         yes                                 no

Have local tax base                                                 yes                                 no

Publicly-governed                                                    yes                                 no

Open to all                                                               yes                                 no

Regulated fully                                                         yes                             minimal

State funding constitutionally-required                    yes                                 no

Assets publicly-owned                                            yes                                 no

Obligated to stay open                                            yes                                 no                                             

Charter lobbyists are campaigning for charters to be funded on par with real public schools. They say charters deserve as much funding as real public schools. Fact is that charters don’t fit the mold of the common schools; thus, the state has no obligation to provide any tax money to them.



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