By Aimee Hancock
Miami Valley Sunday News
PIQUA — The Piqua Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday authorizing the district to join the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding.
This coalition, organized in 1990 to challenge the constitutionality of the Ohio school funding system, is set up as a council of governments, pursuant to Chapter 167 of the Ohio Revised Code, and is governed by a Steering Committee of 90 school district representatives.
According to the resolution, the district is taking this action in support of the coalition’s opposition to the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Educational Choice voucher program.
“The deduction of funds from the school district by ODE and payment of those funds to private schools (Ed. Choice, voucher funds) diminishes the amount of funding and the levels of educational opportunity for the education of the pupils in the district,” the resolution reads.
The deduction of school voucher funds from the district, the resolution claims, further reduces the funding available to support the additional needs of district minority students, students in poverty, and those with disabilities.
“The deduction of school voucher funds from the school district can result in the involuntary transfer of district local tax revenue, approved by the voters of the district for the support of the district’s operating expenses, to private religious schools for the support of those schools’ programs in violation of the rights of the district taxpayers,” the resolution states.
The resolution also authorized the district to pay coalition dues for the 2021 school year, which for Education Service Center boards of education are 20 cents per pupil or $3,000, whichever is less.
Dues are to be allocated by the coalition as follows: 50 cents per pupil shall be initially allocated to the payment of coalition operating expenses, and $1.50 per pupil shall be allocated to the support of the coalition’s efforts in opposition to the deduction of school voucher funds from Piqua and other school districts.
Additionally, during Thursday’s meeting, the board:
• Accepted a list of donations to the district, in the amount of $2,612.10, to be used in various departments.
• Approved the suspension of senior service hours for the PHS class of 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
• Approved a quote from Rush Truck Centers of Ohio for the purchase of two buses at the cost of $96,922 each. The district will sell two used buses on GovDeals to get a better price than a trade-in.
The next regular board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 25, at the PHS library.