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70 school districts preparing to sue Ohio over private school vouchers

Laura Hancock, |

About 70 Ohio school districts plan to sue the state over the laws that allow vouchers for private school tuition, arguing that it results in an educational system that’s unconstitutional.

The coalition, Vouchers Hurt Ohio, includes many of the same districts and education advocates who were involved in the DeRolph v. Ohio case spanning 11 years in the 1990s and early 2000s that resulted in the Ohio Supreme Court declaring the state’s public school funding system unconstitutional.

They say that with the voucher case, they will similarly be committed for the long haul, if necessary.

The Cleveland law firm of Walter Haverfield is preparing the litigation, said William Phillis, executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Advocacy of School Funding, which is made up of 140 school districts that were involved in the DeRolph suit and are supporting the upcoming voucher case. The date when the suit will be filed isn’t yet known.

The case will focus on the same part of the Ohio Constitution as the DeRolph case: Article VI, Section 2, in particular, the first part: “The General Assembly shall make such provisions, by taxation, or otherwise, as, with the income arising from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state…”

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