Yesterday, School Choice Ohio hosted its first Legislative Candidates’ Night at DePaul Cristo Rey High School in Cincinnati. Nearly 30 parents, candidates and school leaders came out to learn more about school choice in Ohio.
After opening remarks from SCO’s Cincinnati Mobilization and Outreach Coordinator Roni Craft, Sister Jeanne Bessette, the president of DePaul Cristo Rey, told those gathered about her school and the exciting opportunities that it presents to students in southwest Ohio, many of whom are attending the school with the help of an EdChoice scholarship.
Following Sister Bessette’s remarks, SCO Legislative Director Jason Warner spoke about our work on behalf of parents and students and presented information about the three scholarship programs available to families in southwest Ohio – the EdChoice Scholarship Program, the Autism Scholarship Program, and the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program. He also introduced four parents who spoke about their personal experiences with the scholarship programs and explained why they decided to take advantage of the scholarship programs.
Holli, the mother of two students who receive EdChoice scholarships, spoke about her personal experiences saying that her son used to struggle academically, but now he excels in school. He plans to go on to college and become a lawyer or a public servant.
Shawna and Carol each have a son with Autism. Shawna home schools her son, and Carol’s son attends Linden Grove School. Both of these moms shared their personal experiences with the Autism Scholarship and discussed how it is changing their lives.
Another parent, Havilah, who applied to be among the first to receive the new Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship, spoke about why she decided to apply for the scholarship to provide the services that her son requires to succeed.
Jason closed the program with a preview of some of the legislative issues that SCO will continue to advocate for during the next year, including the expansion of existing scholarship programs and the creation of a new, statewide income-based scholarship program, as well as continued advocacy for student-centered funding and greater availability of information to families about the existing scholarship programs.
The night was a great opportunity for parents to interact with Ohio’s present and future leaders and share their personal stories about how school choice has had a positive impact on their lives. Jason said it best in his closing statement at the event: “By working together, we can achieve the ultimate goal of ensuring that every child in the state receives the best education from the best schools.”
We are planning additional candidate events in Columbus and Akron in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more information about when these events will be coming to your area.