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The League of Women Voters, Legal Aid, and others file an amicus brief in a suit regarding the unconstitutionality of EdChoice vouchers


Posted July 6, 2022
5:00 pm


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

COLUMBUS — The League of Women Voters of Ohio and several advocacy and legal services organizations have joined together to file an amicus brief in a lawsuit regarding the unconstitutionality of EdChoice vouchers brought by more than 100 school districts.

The Amici Curiae parties include Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Community Legal Aid Services Inc., Advocates for Basic Legal Equality Inc., and Legal Aid of Western Ohio Inc., Disability Rights Ohio, Ohio Poverty Law Center, as well as the League of Women Voters of Ohio.

As Franklin County Court of Common Pleas considers whether to grant the State of Ohio’s motion to dismiss Columbus City School District, et al v. State of Ohio, the organizations felt compelled to file an amicus brief because every child in Ohio deserves a high-quality education. The EdChoice Voucher Program not only hinders the states’ ability to provide a high-quality education to all its students, it exacerbates long standing systemic issues. By continuing to operate the EdChoice Voucher Program as it currently stands, Ohio’s most vulnerable children will continue to be failed by the very institutions that are supposed to help them achieve success.

As the amicus brief details, Ohio’s EdChoice Voucher Program harms Ohio’s most vulnerable students. EdChoice exacerbates the underfunding of the public schools in Ohio, harming Ohio’s most economically disadvantaged students.  Data shows that EdChoice is promoting racial segregation, undoing years of difficult work desegregating our public schools.  EdChoice directly harms students with disabilities by removing crucial protections that students receive in public schools.  Finally, EdChoice subjects LGBTQIA+ students and other students in protected classes to publicly funded discrimination

Recently, the League of Women Voters of Ohio (League) affirmed that our communities and our democracy depend on an education system that is predictable, reliable, accountable, and inclusive. Iris Meltzer, President of League of Women Voters of Ohio, stated, “The League has strong positions on both the national and state level supporting both programs and financing of a strong public school system that offers ‘a general education of high quality’ for all Ohio’s children. That means, all students need to attend schools that afford them the resources needed to provide an equal opportunity.

“The League of Women Voters believes that educated and informed voters are critical to making democracy work. Public education is critical to accomplishing that goal. This lawsuit fights for the right of every student to receive a fair and equitable education.”

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The Civil Legal Aid Amici Curiae parties have a particular interest in this case as its outcome directly affects the rights and opportunities of low-income Ohio families. Civil legal aid organizations provide legal help in a broad range of civil matters to low-income Ohioans, including assistance in K-12 education law matters. Disability Rights Ohio is a non-profit corporation with a mission to advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of people with disabilities in Ohio. The Ohio Poverty Law Center advocates for policies for people living, working and raising their families in poverty.

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