Q&A About Heritage and Ohio Ed Choice
Questions and Answers about the Ohio EdChoice Scholarship Program and Heritage Christian School
What is the Ohio EdChoice Scholarship Program?
Ohio EdChoice is a state-funded program which offers up to 60,000 scholarships (sometimes called vouchers) to students at designated under-performing public schools to attend a participating private school. Heritage Christian School is a participating private school for grades K-12.
What does this mean?
It means that students who are enrolled in under-performing public schools or students who would be assigned to these public schools are eligible to apply for an EdChoice Scholarship that pays their tuition to a participating private school. Some exceptions apply. The Heritage Christian School Board of Education has agreed to become part of this program, which became available in this area of Ohio in 2006. Families with eligible students must first be accepted at Heritage Christian School through our standard enrollment process; then they may apply to the state for an EdChoice Scholarship.
Why are we involved?
Ohio EdChoice provides public tax dollars to families whose students were assigned to, or would be assigned to under-performing public schools. These tax dollars allow families to choose a private school to attend. At Heritage, we view this as an opportunity for parents who desire a Christian education for their child, to now be able to consider an education at Heritage Christian School, which may not have been possible under normal financial circumstances.
Does everyone who applies get accepted at Heritage?
No, the application process for EdChoice applicants is the same application process for all incoming Heritage families. Families must be accepted for enrollment at Heritage through our standard enrollment application process. After a family is accepted, they may apply for an EdChoice Scholarship. We welcome families who desire to partner with us in giving their child a Christian education, families who regularly attend church and can provide a pastor’s reference, and families who agree to abide by biblical principles and guidelines. This information is outlined in our student handbook, enrollment packet, Parents’ Pledge and Student Code of Conduct.
Will we lower our academic standards to accommodate students who are coming in from under-performing schools?
No, our academic program will remain excellent. We accept students who come from under-performing schools, not students who are failing academically. We expect academic progress from every student and evaluate transcripts and records from every student, together with personal interviews and testing, to help determine if a student will thrive in our program. We have not decreased advanced classes; we work with the student, if needed, to bring them up to our academic standard.
How have students in the program adjusted to our academic program? The program began in grades 6-12 in the fall of 2006, expanded to K-12 in the fall of 2007 and has continued until today. Our students are adjusting well. Where there have been difficulties, we work with individuals, as we do across the board with all students. While we as a school choose to protect the privacy of any student receiving financial aid or scholarship, some students are very open about how they arrived at Heritage, whether through EdChoice or some other financial arrangement. A number of students – EdChoice and non-EdChoice students – shared publicly before their classmates that Heritage Christian School has had a positive impact on them, as they realize the depth of teachers’ care and concern for them, the quality of relationships among students and the desire teachers have to see every student realize his or her God-given potential. We’ve heard some encouraging reports from parents whose children are thriving in this environment.
What if students experience difficulty? Each student and family will be worked with individually. EdChoice scholarships are renewable annually for as long as the state program is in effect and as long as the family follows certain state guidelines for renewal. In addition, the private school always maintains the right to not accept a student’s re-enrollment the following year or to discontinue enrollment during a school year if needed. This applies to all Heritage students across the board if there is cause according to our school policies and agreements.
Will the state be able to make mandates that affect our curriculum, enrollment or behavioral standards? No. Families who apply for acceptance must agree to the standards we already have in place as outlined in our student handbook and enrollment materials. The EdChoice scholarship money from the state is able to be used by individual families to attend the school of their choice with the understanding that they must be accepted by a participating chartered nonpublic school.
You can find a listing of Frequently Asked Questions and information about participating school and family requirements at http://EdChoice.Ohio.gov. Or you may request specific information from our Main Office.
Does EdChoice cover all fees and fundraisers? No, EdChoice covers tuition costs, not registration fees, sports and other fees or fundraising requirements. These requirements are in effect for all Heritage families.
Please know that we are willing to talk with you about this or any other program at Heritage Christian School. We hope we have anticipated some of your questions and are happy to answer others, or clarify these. General EdChoice program information is available at http://EdChoice.Ohio.gov. Please feel free to call the Main Office at (330) 452-8271 anytime.