U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is visiting Van Wert’s public schools on Thursday. As DeVos is one of the nation’s top proponents of school choice options like charter schools and vouchers, it is important for the people of the City and County of Van Wert to understand just how much these options have hurt the overwhelming percentage of children who attend the local public schools in Van Wert County.
Since the 2012-2013 school year, $3,744,988 in state funding originally meant for the children attending Van Wert County’s local public schools has instead gone to privately run brick and mortar and online charter schools, which generally perform worse on state metrics than Van Wert schools do.
Because the amount the state spend on charter schools is so much greater than the state provides to Van Wert’s local public schools, local taxpayers in Van Wert (which include income taxpayers in some of the districts), have had to subsidize these larger state payments to charter schools to the tune of $1.4 million – money that should have supplemented the larger state aid amount but is now being used to subsidize poorer performing, privately run charter schools.
Overall, the vast majority of funding to charters from Van Wert County schools comes from Van Wert City Schools. More than 3 out of 4 charter dollars sent from Van Wert County schools comes from its city schools. However, it remains significant that nearly $500,000 has gone to charters from Lincolnview and nearly $400,000 from Crestview.
As if on cue, local property taxpayers in Van Wert County schools are paying $3 million more in property taxes in 2015 (the most recent available data from the Ohio Department of Taxation) than they did in 2013, which is increasing those communities’ reliance on property taxes to pay for education – a result deemed unconstitutional four times by the Ohio Supreme Court.