1,700 using private-school vouchers in Montgomery County

Twenty-three private schools in the county are registered to participate in the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, commonly known as EdChoice.

Ohio Department of Education spokesman Patrick Gallaway said about 12,500 current EdChoice scholarship recipients have the opportunity to re-enroll.

The school voucher program, which began in 2006, almost reached its student enrollment cap during the 2010-11 school year. It is expected to reach the mandated 14,000 enrollment cap with the latest enrollment period for the 2011-12 school year that began Tuesday and runs through April 15.

Trotwood’s Mother Brunner Catholic School, the result of a merger last year between Precious Blood School and St. Rita School, which closed in June after years of declining enrollment and growing financial pressures, tops the list with 250 voucher-users.

Chaminade-Julienne High School has at least 92 EdChoice users.

Tina Wagoner, communications coordinator, said CJ has an admissions process that evaluates a student’s academic record and standardized test scores, community service, leadership and school recommendation. Once a student has been accepted, his or her parents/guardians choose the way to pay tuition.

“EdChoice is just one of the scholarship programs available to our students,” she said.

Ohio Sen. Gary Cates, R-West Chester, plans to introduce legislation next week to remove the state-mandated 14,000 enrollment cap on the voucher program to allow more students the opportunity to leave consistently underperforming public schools to attend private schools of their choice.

State Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, said she expects the Education Committee she chairs will take up the proposed legislation “very soon.”

To apply for the vouchers, which are worth up to $5,000 per year, parents must apply for their children to attend the private school of their choice. After the child is accepted, the private school will complete the process by sending the application to the Ohio Department of Education.

A complete list of private schools eligible to accept EdChoice scholarship recipients and a list of the chronically underperforming public schools can be found online at www.scohio.org.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2094 or mkissell@Dayton DailyNews.com.

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