Five Big Changes Coming to Ohio Education Laws in the 2023-24 School Year that Parents Should Know

On July 1, 2023, the Ohio House and Senate approved a new 2-year state budget, which was signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on July 5, 2023. Here are the most important provisions impacting education for Ohio parents and students:

PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS (aka EdChoice Scholarship): All Ohio school children will be eligible for a school “voucher” to help cover the cost of tuition participating private schools. Children whose families earn up to 450% of the federal poverty level (~$135,000/year for a family of four) will be eligible to receive a full EdChoice Scholarship in the amount of $6,165 (k-8) and $8,407 (high school). Higher earning families are still eligibile, but may receive reduced scholarship amounts. This does not affect families receiving the Autism Scholarship or Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship.

SIGNIFICANT FUNDING FOR PHONICS-BASED READING: The reconciled bill includes a significant investment in childhood literacy, particularly for phonics-based reading programs (a.k.a. the “Science of Reading”). The bill moves to eliminate “cueing” reading programs that have been used by school districts and educators for decades, but considered ineffective by many literacy experts. The funding in the new law includes allocations for training of teachers and district implementation over the next two years.

TOP 5% SCHOLARSHIPS FOR GRADUATES: Ohio high school students who graduate in the top 5% of their classes will be eligible for $5,000 scholarships to attend Ohio colleges and universities.

PARENTAL CONSENT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA: Children younger than 16 must get parental consent when they create new social media accounts starting Jan. 15, 2024. While not directly related to education funding, this budget item was initially requested by the Governor in an effort to protect the mental health of Ohio teenagers. It was included in the final bill.

NEW TEACHER PAY: The minimum annual salary for new public school teachers was increased modestly from $30,000 to $35,000. Many districts already have adopted salary schedules above this amount for first-year teachers. A proposal to increase the minimum salary to $40,000 was ultimately rejected.

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