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Meet the Ohio legislature’s ‘school voucher guy’ who could reshape the state’s education system

Anna Staver, The Columbus Dispatch |

Matt Huffman, the newly minted Senate President, spent a substantial chunk of his political career introducing education bills. And his counterpart in the Ohio House, Speaker Bob Cupp, has too. They’re both Republican attorneys from Lima. They have clear opinions on issues like the cost of educating economically disadvantaged students and school choice. 

And they have what advocates call the best chance in years to reshape Ohio’s K-12 education system in ways that could either be your wildest dream or worst nightmare depending on which side of the debate you fall. 

Huffman increased the income limits last year for the program that gives public scholarships for private schools. In 2019, he introduced a bill to give Ohioans tax credits if they donated towards private school scholarships, and he tried to combine the state’s income and performance-based vouchers into one big program back in 2017. 

“He’s really tried to ensure every family has access to a good school, whether that’s public or private,” Fordham Institute’s Ohio Policy Director Chad Aldis said. “It’s not always politically popular. People on both sides of the school choice debate are quick to impugn each other’s motives.”

And the Senate President is about to wield a lot of power.

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