Ohio Senate Republicans want to know how much money schools have put toward voucher lawsuit
Republicans in the Ohio Senate have asked the state auditor to find out how much money public school districts have put toward a lawsuit over taxpayer-paid private school vouchers.
The inquiry, titled a "public resources survey," came from Republican Auditor Keith Faber's office at the request of the Ohio Senate's chief legal counsel, and was sent to fiscal officers with public schools, charter schools and other K-12 educational institutions. It asks them to disclose by June 2 how much money they've provided over the last two years to support the lawsuit over the EdChoice voucher program filed by the group Vouchers Hurt Ohio.
That lawsuit was filed in 2022 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. More than 130 districts have joined the lawsuit over EdChoice vouchers, saying providing taxpayer-paid vouchers for students to go to private schools unconstitutionally takes away funds from public schools.
It's unclear how the results of the survey will be used, but the request notes the Senate is currently considering its version of the state budget. Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) is a strong supporter of vouchers, and has expressed an interest in expanding vouchers beyond the expansion already in the House version of the budget.
The Auditor's Office issued a statement saying the surveys were sent on Monday, May 22, to more than 1,000 fiscal officers at public school districts, educational service centers, joint vocational schools, STEM schools, and community schools, asking them to "provide transparency on the use of public funds."
The statements concludes: "The Auditor of State's Office is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local agencies, ensuring public funds have been spent lawfully. Ohioans expect public expenditures at all levels of government to be transparent. This effort is in part to increase the transparency in the use of these public dollars."