NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

How Much Do Cleveland Public Schools Make From Vouchers?

September 3, 1999

In the wake of federal Judge Salomon Oliver Jr.'s decision to halt the Cleveland voucher program, union officials have repeated their familiar claim that vouchers deplete money from public education.

Ohio Education Association President Michael Billirakis said the ruling is "good for public education" and that "our primary concern is that vouchers take away [money] from public schools."

However, a policy report from the Buckeye Institute shows that publicly-funded vouchers have been a boon to Cleveland's government schools.

  • The State of Ohio subsidizes city schools based on the number of students enrolled in the district.
  • Students enrolled in private schools are normally not included in the district's enrollment count; but in the case of the Cleveland voucher program, the State included 1,290 scholarship students in 1997 in Cleveland's public school enrollment count.
  • Thus, Cleveland public schools are subsidized for students they no longer teach, receiving a net surplus of $118,473 in 1997 because of the voucher program.

"Far from being a drain on Cleveland's government schools, vouchers have been a cash cow," said Buckeye Institute President Richard C. Leonardi.

Source: "Cleveland Schools Profit from Scholarship Program," Policy Note, August 26, 1999, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, 4100 N. High Street, Suite 200, Columbus, Ohio 43214, 614-262-1593.


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