BACKPACK BILL SUMMARY
This legislation creates a Backpack Scholarship Account in the form of an Educational Savings Account managed by the Ohio Treasurer of State for eligible students. The Backpack Scholarship will be funded by the Ohio Department of Education in the amounts of $5,000 for K-8 and $7,500 for 9-12 and adjusted by the same percentage that the base cost per pupil increases.
An Educational Savings Account (ESA) will be funded and distributed to eligible students. Eligible students are those whose parents opt in to the program. If the student attends a chartered nonpublic, nonchartered nonpublic, or is homeschooled the ESA is funded. If the student attends a public or community school the money is sent directly to their school.
The funding for the Backpack Scholarship is calculated based on the state base cost per pupil. Any district specific state add-ons, local dollars and the federal dollars allocated for a student’s education will remain with the public schools.
ESAs can be used for any of the following expenses: tuition and fees at a participating school, tuition and fees for a nonpublic online learning program, tutoring or interventions services, fees for standardized tests or other examination for college admission and prep courses, tuition and fees for workforce education, educational services for therapies, curriculum, textbooks, instructional materials, supplies, and fees for after school and summer programs.
The Senate version of the bill is similar to the ESA House version. But instead of using ESAs, this bill would expand EdChoice scholarship eligibility to every student in Ohio.