Valerie Bonham Moon recently wrote a post, Public school administrator wants newspaper exposé of homeschooling in response to an Ohio newspaper article, In defense of home schooling.
It was reported locally that the administrator’s comments followed a remark about the loss of funding to private schools and home educators. Perhaps the local public school administrator is confusing those enrolled in a public virtual school with home educators? He or she wouldn’t be the first. Except for tax dollars paid by the parents of home educated children, Ohio home educators do not bring money into a district, nor do they take money away from it. They simply happen to live in the district. However, public e-schoolers who live in the district and are enrolled in a statewide e-school that originates somewhere else in the state or country do require local funds to leave a district.
I visited the Ohio Department of Education’s website to document the amount of money the Hillsboro district did pay out to statewide e-schools. The latest payment listed is for July 2008. Here is how it breaks down:
Alternative Education Academy (OHDELA) – $39,400.53
Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) – $152,337.16
Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) – $20,409.42
Ohio Virtual Academy – $83,023.17
Virtual Community School of Ohio (VCS) – $54,115.30
This is a total of $349,285.58 that is paid to the e-schools from Hillsboro School’s local funding. It really does make me wonder if the public administrator is not erroneously confusing homeschoolers, those following the Ohio Administrative Code- Chapter 3301-34 Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education and take NO state or local funding with those who are enrolled in public e-schools and comply with the ORC Chapter 3314:Community Schools and do use government funding.
If I were living in the Hillsboro district, I think I would attend the next school board meeting and ask the administrator in question if he understands the seven different school options in our state and bring a list of the citations for each.
There is a big difference between homeschooling, private schools and public e-schools. Homeschoolers do NOT take money away from districts. I do not object to options that do, they are simply caught in the Ohio unconstitutional school funding dilemma, but I think it is a mistake for districts to accuse homeschoolers of causing them to lose money when indeed they do not.