Catholic Conference of Ohio
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

News & Press - Catholic Conference of Ohio

CCO Testifies in Support of House's Budget Bill

Advocating for Catholic Schools

The Catholic Conference of Ohio testified this week on HB33, affirming the Governor’s proposal to expand the threshold for a family to receive an Ed Choice Income-Based Scholarship to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. As a long-standing champion for school choice and advocate for the largest system of nonpublic schools in Ohio with 374 Catholic schools and over 109,000 students, CCO stressed the need to address issues in school transportation as well as necessary increases to auxiliary service funds, nonpublic administrative cost reimbursement, funding levels in the categories of disabilities, and tax credit for giving to scholarship granting organizations.

CCO Commends Governor DeWine for Proposed Significant Investments in Children and Families

The Governor Released His Executive Budget on January 31, 2023

The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends Governor DeWine for proposing significant investments in Ohio’s children and families through his Executive Budget. The budget proposes a $2,500 per child state tax deduction. For several years, the CCO and USCCB have advocated for a child tax credit on the state and national levels. Further, Governor DeWine’s proposal eliminates the state sales tax for vital infant supplies, such as diapers, strollers, and car seats. In education, the budget calls for expanding Ohio’s EdChoice scholarship program to families at or below 400% of the federal poverty level. If enacted, more Ohio families can access the school of their choice, including Catholic schools. The budget also provides funding for school safety resource officers and increases past budget line items for public and private school students. Other measures that the CCO supports include the expansion of Ohio’s Bold Beginning Initiative and incentives to create more affordable housing options.

With these proposals, the Governor’s budget affirms the Catholic Church’s teaching that the family must be supported and strengthened through just public policies. The Catholic Conference of Ohio looks forward to advocating for these proposals in the months ahead, along with other measures that assist families with children in Catholic schools and programs that help poor and vulnerable Ohioans. 

Ohio Legislature Passes State Budget

Adds further school choice provisions and provisions helpful to children and families.

The Ohio legislature passed a bipartisan supported budget bill (HB 110).  The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends the diligent and thoughtful efforts by the administration and the General Assembly.  

The bill provides unprecedented support for both public and private school students.  Many Catholic school students, parents and administrators will receive needed assistance due to increases in voucher payments, supportive services, and the ability to participate in the newly created After-School Child Enrichment Savings Account Program to name just a few.

The bill strengthened the Governor's budget proposals that focused on children, families and persons in need.  Special funding for multi-system youth and the OhioRise program was maintained. Provisions were removed that could have hindered access to the SNAP program, other public assistance programs, and affordable housing.

Increased funding was provided for the Parenting and Pregnancy Program which provides funding for pregnancy centers.  Provisions further protecting conscience rights, and provisions addressing transfer agreements for abortion clinics also were passed.

Catholic Conference Advocates on the State Budget Bill

Senate school choice provisions especially helpful to Catholic school students and families.

In a letter sent to public officials regarding the state budget bill, HB 110, the Catholic Conference of Ohio offered areas of support and concern. It states:

"Thank you for your careful consideration of this important legislation. We appreciate how each version of this bill built upon the excellent frameworks of the others. Overall, we find the versions before you to be child-friendly and family-friendly. We especially appreciate the additions in the Senate that enhance care for both the unborn and newly born, provide further conscience protections, and incorporate school choice provisions within the broader framework of school funding reforms. 

We offer several recommendations to the Conference Committee..."

Ohio Senate Unveils Their Version of State Budget

Provides Unprecedented Support for Catholic Students and Parents

The Ohio Senate unveiled their version of the State Budget (HB 110). It builds upon the Governor's and House proposals that promote children, families and persons in need. The Senate added additional provisions that further promotes school choice.  The Conference commends such additions and especially recognizes the excellent leadership that Senate President, Matt Huffman, provided in this area. 

Highlights in the Education line items include:

  • Increases max scholarship awards for students receiving an Ed Choice or Cleveland Scholarship to $5,500 (grades K-8) and $7,500 (grades 9-12);
  • Extends eligibility for traditional EdChoice scholarships, including provisions for siblings, foster children and incoming 9th graders; gradually phases out the requirement for a student first to be enrolled in a public school;
  • Provides helpful improvements to the EdChoice scholarship eligibility, notification, funding and administrative procedures;
  • Directly funds 100% of the scholarship cost for students who receive EdChoice, Cleveland, Autism, or Jon Peterson scholarships, rather than funding these students in their districts of residence and then deducting funds to pay for the students at their schools of choice;
  • Extends eligibility for Cleveland scholarships to K-8 nonpublic schools located within 5 miles of the Cleveland School District;
  • Allows a nonpublic school that elects to receive Auxiliary Services directly to designate an organization (e.g., a diocese) to receive the funds on its behalf;
  • Removes the statutory per-pupil cap on Administrative Cost Reimbursement;
  • Eliminates the requirement that an early childhood education program meet the 3rd highest tier of Step Up to Quality in order to qualify for state funding;
  • Creates a $1,000 tax credit for those who donate to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) providing scholarships, primarily to low income students, to attend a non-public school;
  • Increases the formula amount for determining Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship awards and increases the appropriation for the Peterson program;
  • Increases the maximum scholarship amount of the Autism Scholarship Program to $31,500 in FY22 and $32,455 in FY23;
  • Maintains helpful House passed provisions related to Auxiliary Services, Administrative Cost Reimbursement, College Credit Plus, and school busing, and increases the payment in lieu of transportation to 50% of the local cost of transporting the student, up to $2,500..

A full Senate vote is expected on Thursday, June 10, 2021. A Conference Committee will meet shortly afterwards to reconcile differences between the Executive, House and Senate versions.  A balanced budget must be enacted by July 1, 2021.

Conference Testifies on Pending State Legislation

Public Assistance, Immigration, and Education Issues Addressed

The Conference testified on the following legislation:

Sub SB 17: Placing additional requirements for receiving public assistance benefits.  Testimony

HB 75: Possible amendment denying workers' compensation to undocumented workers.  Testimony  

HB 110: Education provisions in the budget impacting Catholic schools and students.  Testimony

Ohio House Adds Additional Funding for Programs Helping Catholic School Students

Auxiliary Services and Administrative Cost Reimbursement Programs Increased

The Ohio House Finance Committee added additional support for two programs helping Catholic school students. The House Ominbus Amendment increased GRF appropriation for nonpublic administrative cost reimbursement by $816,000 in FY22 and $1.6 million in FY23. It also increased the maximum per-pupil amount of administrative cost reimbursement payments to nonpublic schools for each of FY22 and FY23 from $466 to $475.

The amendment also increased GRF appropriation to Auxiliary Services  by $1.8 million in FY22 and $3.65 million in FY23. 

The full House is expected to pass this substitute version of the budget bill (HB 110).  Action and advacacy will now occur in the Ohio Senate.  Emphasis will be upon maintaining gains made in the House version, while encouraging improvements in the EdChoice programs, school transportation, and funding for housing and hunger programs. A balanced budget must be enacted by July 1, 2021.

Catholic Conference Issues Letter to Ohio House Members Regarding the Proposed State Budget

HB 110 Under Consideration in House Finance Committee

The Ohio House is finalizing their version of the state budget, HB 110. The Ohio Senate has begun their hearings.  A balanced budget must be enacted by July 1, 2021.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio issued a letter to all House members supporting features in the current version and recommending areas for improvement. The letter called attention to the Church's strong support for programs that assist people who are poor and vulnerable, and the Church's strong support for programs that help Catholic school students.

Education Action Alert 4-16-21

Health & Human Services Recommendations
Education Recommendations

Governor Signs Budget Bill

Bill Supports At- Risk Children & Families, Expands School Choice Programs, Increases Support for Hunger, Housing, and Crisis Pregnancy Programs

The Catholic Conference of Ohio commends Governor DeWine, Speaker Householder, President Obhof, House Minority Leader Sykes, Senate Minority Leader Yuko, OBM Director Murnieks, Senate Finance Chairman Dolan, House Finance Chairman Oelslager and all the legislators and staff for passing a responsible and compassionate state budget.

We commend this legislation’s focus on children; foster care; multi-system youth; interventions for at-risk infants, youth, families, victims of human trafficking, and seniors; education and early learning; clean water; lead abatements; hunger and housing responses; disaster assistance; jobs, and tax reductions to name a few.

HB 166 Summary Documents

Governor's Veto Message

Education Provisions Helpful to Catholic Schools and Students

Human Services Provisions Helpful to Persons in Need

Consensus Unable to be Reached before July 1 Deadline

Budget Remains in Conference Committee; Action expected by July 16

The State budget remains in gridlock.  Senate and House leaders were unable to find consensus prior to the July 1 constitutional deadline.  A temporary budget was passed expanding the deadline to July 16, 2019.  

The Catholic Conference of Ohio encourages leaders to find "common good" compromises. Both the Senate and House passed versions contain many commendable features. Such features include a focus on children; foster care; multi-system youth; interventions for at-risk infants, youth, families, victims of human trafficking, and seniors; education and early learning; clean water; lead abatements; hunger and housing responses; disaster assistance; jobs, and tax reductions to name a few. 

Catholic Conference of Ohio's Budget Recommendations
HB 166 Comparison Document