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Hope Doesn’t Harm Education

Editor, News-Register:

The May 21, 2022, article in The Intelligencer titled “Hope Scholarship Could Cost Ohio County Schools More Than $500,000” implies this legislation may result in “the eventual loss of enrollment and teachers.”

The numbers tell a different story.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education reports that total funding for Ohio County Public Schools in 2018-19 was $74,495,000, or $14,114 per student. Let’s repeat this fact: each school-aged child in Ohio County Schools represents $14,114. When a child leaves the public education setting for alternatives in education, Ohio County still receives the funding. If a family applies for the Hope Scholarship after being enrolled in public education, $4,600 leaves with that child (the state funding only).

The federal and local funding, $9,514, stays with Ohio County Schools even though they have no expense for that child.

That’s right.

The district still receives $9,514 in per-pupil funding even though the student is not using the district’s purchased books, school supplies, copy paper, transportation, lunch preparation, supervision, or receiving instruction.

I want teachers to know that this is not an us against them topic. The Hope Scholarship does not hurt our public-school teachers. According to the US News and World Report, 58% of Ohio County’s $74,495,000 is spent on instruction.

The public school will still receive revenue for this portion of the budget out of the local and federal tax revenue for any child that chooses alternative education.

Education Savings Account programs such as the Hope Scholarship are appealing to both sides due to the benefits to students, the alternative education program, and the public school system. Families still get to choose the education environment for their child while the alternative education program receives a portion of the funding. Instead of pitching that the Hope Scholarship may result in loss of enrollment and teachers, let us look at the positive outcome of our public-school classrooms becoming more manageable by lessening the student-teacher ratio while still collecting $9,514 per non-attending student.

As a long-time public-school teacher, and now a private school administrator that makes less than half of the average salary of a public-school teacher in Ohio County, it is not about the money in private education.

This is about every child being unique and deserving of the education their parents’ desire. At Cornerstone Christian Academy, parents seek small classrooms, a family-oriented structure, and a Christian approach to education. This is only one choice families can make when approved for the Hope Scholarship.

They can choose homeschooling or other educational alternatives.

School systems need to work together for the betterment of the children and for the betterment of education.

The public-school option is simply not a choice some parents want to make, and parents should have access to money that will help support that child and tailor their education to fit their needs.

Kathleen Miller, D.Ed.

Director

Cornerstone Christian Academy

Beech Bottom

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