The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Ohio - Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program

Enacted 2011 • Launched 2012 • Voucher

Ohio parents of children with special needs enrolled in public schools are able to receive vouchers to pay for private school tuition and additional services at private therapists and other service providers. Vouchers can be used at public providers (i.e., school districts) if the district chooses to accept voucher students. The number of vouchers available is capped at 5 percent of the students with special needs statewide.

Latest Stats (2013-14)

  • Students participating: 2,204
  • Service providers participating: 194 (2012-13)
  • Average voucher value: $8,543 (2012-13)

Program Details

Student Funding
Vouchers are worth the lesser of fees or tuition charged by the alternative public or private school, the amount of state aid otherwise provided to the public school district, or $20,000. The amount is reduced proportionately if the child is not enrolled in the alternative or private school for the entire school year. The Ohio Department of Education sets maximum funding amounts for different types of disabilities.

Student Eligibility
Children with disabilities must be between ages five and 21, and have at least an initial Individualized Education Plan (IEP) from the public school district. Vouchers will not be awarded if the IEP is still being developed or is in litigation. Parents must apply for eligibility. Their application must certify that they have received the following information from the alternative or private school: methods of instruction to be used with the child and qualifications of the teachers and instructors who will provide services.

Legal Developments
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: None
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
• Geographic Limit: Statewide
• Enrollment Cap: None
• Voucher Cap: $20,000
• Testing Mandates: None

Governing Statutes
Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3301-101-01-13

Friedman Contact
Leslie Hiner |

Related Research

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5/30/2014 Public Rules on Private Schools: Measuring the Regulatory Impact of State Statutes and School Choice Programs
6/5/2012 The Greenfield School Revolution and School Choice
10/26/2011 Lessons for Ohio from Florida’s K-12 Education Revolution

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