Here’s How Ohio’s New Universal School Choice Education Vouchers Will Work

Cleveland, Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Cleveland’s Orthodox Jewish community has experienced explosive growth over the past decade as people discovered its excellent quality of life thanks to its low cost of living, warm and friendly community, safe suburban neighborhoods, excellent schools, short commute times with low traffic and plenty of parking, with a revitalized core on the water with several sports teams and world-class museums. The kosher restaurant scene is coming along nicely, and now even the ballpark has kosher food available, though an upscale dairy restaurant would be very welcome and do quite well here. Lots of these factors have been discussed over the years on the DansDeals Forums and many people have come over to me telling me how that thread opened their eyes and convinced them to make a move.

Yes, Winters here are rough, but the Spring, Summer, and Fall weather is among the best in the country. And frankly, it’s a lot easier for me to add layers than it is to remove them. Besides, when a city is prepared for inclement weather, winter weather just is not that big of a deal.

But perhaps the most obvious reason for the growth has been the private school tuition vouchers. For many years, most of the community lived within public school districts that were considered failing, and therefore qualified for vouchers towards any private school. That came to a partial end a couple of years ago as the schools were no longer considered failing, though once you received a voucher for living in a failing school district, all of your kids receive those vouchers until they reach 12th grade. Last year those vouchers were worth $5,500 for K-8 and $6,500 for high school.

While new vouchers weren’t available for failing school districts, vouchers were still available for families that qualified based on earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level, regardless of where they lived. Those vouchers had to be accepted by schools as full tuition and parents can’t be charged any additional tuition by the school.

I spoke with Rabbi Yitz Frank, the executive director of Agudath Israel of Ohio and Chairman Of The Board for School Choice Ohio, to learn more about the changes for the coming school year.

Ohio’s new EdChoice voucher will be available to every Ohio resident, though the amount will be based on income. Timing will be critical, as once you qualify at one level, you can maintain that level for all of your kids until they finish high school. However, if your income does go down, you can qualify for life at the lower income level.

Below is what kind of voucher Ohio residents will receive for each child for the 2023-2024 school year, based on their household AGI. Also included is the income threshold for a family of 4, though that will quickly grow for larger families. Just add the additional income allowed for each child to calculate the threshold for families larger than 4 members.

For example, a family with 6 kids would qualify for the 500% level with a household income up to $252,800 ($150,000 for a family of 4, plus $25,700 each for the additional 4 kids)

Federal Poverty LevelK-8th grade voucher9-12th grade voucherMax income level for family of 4Additional income allowed for each additional child
Up to 200%$6,165, and schools can't charge more.$8,407, and schools can't charge more.$60,000$10,280
751% or higher$650$950No limitNo limit

Rabbi Frank tells me that he expects in future years that larger vouchers will be greatly expanded to include even higher incomes.

He notes that people currently grandfathered into failing school district vouchers will get the new voucher amount of $6,165 for K-8 or $8,407 for 9-12th great, regardless of their income.

He has spoken to local private school boards, and they have committed to keeping tuition in line with the consumer price index, to keep tuition levels stable despite the influx of vouchers.

Rabbi Frank also points out that new families will qualify when their first child reaches Kindergarten. At that time, their income is often relatively low and they may already have several kids. That will help them lock them into a high voucher amount for all of their kids through 12th grade.

While housing prices in Cleveland are much higher than they used to be, he is hopeful that people will continue spreading out and growing the community. Perhaps these vouchers will be the impetus to start communities a little further away from the current saturated areas? Cheap housing is plentiful a little further out and those areas can still take advantage of local resources, but with highly affordable housing.

Have you moved to Cleveland over the last decade or are you considering moving? How has it been working out for you?

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127 Comments On "Here’s How Ohio’s New Universal School Choice Education Vouchers Will Work"

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Are the income amounts based on total income or adjusted gross income from form 1040? Or does EdChoice have their own way of measuring income?


The conservatives are pretty liberal about that one.


You do get taxed to death in Cleveland, both property and income, if you’re coming from a low tax area (Florida, Philly, Texas, etc). We were looking to move but our taxes would increase by over $100,000 a year.


sorry mate, but your math sounds overexaggerated considering the taxes of NY or Philly.
Get some perspective,


To everyone, including Banana, I would love for you to show me your calculations where my math is wrong instead of just saying “your math is wrong”? Also you mention NY. I specifically said low tax areas like Bala Cynwyd, FL, Texas, and did not include NY obviously.


Philly has low property tax but the income tax is higher.

You can compare tax rates for different cities or zip codes here


Philly the city is high, but the Jewish community is right outside the city, which I lived in, is 0% income tax Plus 3.09% state, so definitely lower than any areas of Cleveland.


@Dan, I agree Beachwood would be lower taxes than UH but most young, more religious, people live in UH. Every house we checked out in Beachwood was not nearly as”good” of a block as places in UH. Also still, even Beachwood was much higher than Florida. Beachwood you said you’re paying 6% income and 2% property. Also what about the municipality or county tax or whatever it’s called? I heard from a few friends there that is another 2% tax you have to pay. Also that 2% tax in Beachwood only applies if you work in beachwood. Once you work outside of Beachwood you’re paying even more. But even if you work in Beachwood I would be paying 6% extra income tax and 1% extra property tax which comes out to an extra $61,000 a year. That’s not including if you work outside of Beachwood or the extra 2% tax I was told about.


@dan is he referring to RITA tax?


Yes, I was talking about the RITA tax, I was told by a few UH friends that they also pay that on top of their UH income tax but they may have been mistaken. Additionally, as mentioned, that tax rate assumes we work and live in Beachwood. Once you don’t do both you pay an extra tax. I don’t see the HAC families leaving UH and moving to Beachwood so my kids wouldn’t have friends. We looked at a house in Larchmont and the realtor told us we would be the only ones basically with young kids. Same for other blocks except for Mizrachi families. @jonny i do agree Florida has got expensive. But of you bought a house 2 years ago it’s definitely cheaper. It’s also far cheaper for high income earners as I mentioned because of the tax rate. And definitely even now there’s many Jewish areas where you can buy three bedroom houses for $600,000 and your property tax is still lower than a 3 bed house in UH, but yes, you do get a basement in Ohio. Additionally if you play the credit card game even though food is more expensive in Florida we barely pay for food because we get so much free food from gopuff and grocery store points. Go puff doesn’t exist in Cleveland One reason for us to move to Cleveland even though we get shafted financially is because we have family and friends there because I grew up there. I remember Dan growing up.


Which blocks have young HAC kids in Beachwood with houses for sale? My friends in UH and CH told me they can’t move to Beachwood because half the class is CH and half UH with barely any Beachwood. We’re looking for a 4-6 bedroom house. Also I heard if you live in Beachwood and work outside you don’t pay double tax, you do get a credit, but it’s a partial credit so you pay over 2%. Is this not true? My friend in UH says he pays over 2.5% because his wife works in Beachwood. Also is there any extra business tax? I asked my Beachwood friend just now about the $250K limit and he wasn’t sure but says he pays a huge amount.


Interesting, maybe only UH you pay extra if you work outside UH? I probably need a good Cleveland accountant. I spoke to a realtor but she couldn’t find anything in Beachwood that she said would be as “good” of a block for our kids as UH :/ And with UH I would get shafted with the property taxes because the houses didn’t have an abatement.


Probably both. Or is it possible the HAC kids in Beachwood are older families with older kids? I identify as young 30’s since I got married late and my wife is 30. My oldest is 4 and my friends in Cleveland also have younger kids (8 and younger).


@Dan, what does runs the gamut mean?


I agree with Dan. For someone who claims they make $900k, how do you easily confuse city tax and minimalist tax? How do you mix up the local sales tax of Montgomery County, PA and the non-resident Philadelphia income tax for those working in city limits? Unless you are renting an apartment in Florida, how do you not mention the challenges and unaffordable costs of maintaining homeowners insurance in Florida. An 800 square foot Century Village apartment has an insurance rate of several thousand dollars annually. How are you not familiar with the value of deductions, or claiming primary residence in another location? I certainly don’t make more than $125k a year, and I only have grandparents in a Florida apartment, but with all respect and kindness I don’t believe you know what you are talking about. You’ll get an equal volume of my respect if you earn $90k or $900k, but I do value honesty and integrity.


@Dave, not sure what I confused? I spoke to multiple people who told me they pay a 2% RITA tax on top of local tax. Also as CitTownBin pointed out you can pay up to 4% local tax in UH if you work elsewhere. So that’s 4%+3.99% you’re paying 8% vs 0% Florida or 3.09% Philly. Also I said, I worked in Philly and lived outside and paid only 3.09%, as did most of my friends there or they worked locally and still paid 3.09% state and 0 local. I’m not confused what I did because I was remote. So I paid 0% local/city tax. Not sure where you think I misspoke? I also did mention insurance here is much higher but it’s still a wash compared to the $90,000 in extra income and property tax. So everything you are calling me out in is incorrect. My wife is in the highest paid specialty in her field and I also make a high income and have another business. Long term we will easily exceed a million dollars. Not sure where you see income correlates to knowledge of another city taxes I don’t live in and is all based on talking to friends. The highest paid people I know usually know far less than me about taxes and investing.


Yes, it is only if you live in UH that you pay an extra 1.5% on top of the city you work in. If you live in Beachwood you don’t pay this, and you will only pay 2% total.


It’s true that VERY GENERALLY there are more HAC kids in UH than Beachwood, but there are PLENTY of HAC families in Beachwood as well as Dan says. It’s also true that there are significantly more Mizrachi families in Beachwood than UH, so if you’re in Beachwood you will likely have a nice mix on your block. But that could also be a good thing. Either way, it’s not even close to true that if you’re in Beachwood there wouldn’t be HAC families.

Also, now that UH doesn’t get you higher vouchers (since it’s no longer a failing school district) than Beachwood for new people moving in (though if you’re already in UH then you are grandfathered in), these demographics might change. At least for people at a slightly higher income level, Beachwood makes more sense due to the lower municipal income tax (this wasn’t true before since the UH vouchers more than made up for that). So I suspect that more new HAC families moving in will try to move to Beachwood. The real problem is, there isn’t enough housing in Beachwood (at least the areas that currently have frum Jews) to meet the demand.


@Ctownbin I’ve seen plenty of houses in Beachwood near shul but every time I get told not to go on that block of wet want young HAC families, such as a recent house we checked out on Larchmont.


If my wife ever earns over 1 million a year, I sure hope I don’t spend my days worried about gopuff credits and school vouchers!


@Eric, my wife doesn’t earn that yet lol, maybe if she opens her own practice. But I still love my free $800 of go puff every month. I’ll chase deals all day with credit cards etc no matter my financial state. Much better to fly to Israel with the family for free even when you could afford it.


I don’t see how you can earn much with gopuff, except if you make pickup orders.
Minimum order has to be $13, or else you get charged a small order fee.
So for each order you have to pay at least $3. Take into consideration that everything on GP is extremely overpriced so your savings per order are max $3-4 after the $10 credit.


You have 80 chase cards?


Wow. Dan what have you created! We have here someone earning 900k a year between himself and his wife, and they barely spend on food because of gopuff and credit card points!


Is tuition ever one of the quarterly bonus spends on the chase cards?


We just moved to South Euclid and while we were not expecting to qualify for vouchers it is a nice bonus that we greatly appreciate.

We have already met our local mayor and one council person and got the traffic light on our corner to automatically display walk signal on shabbos to cross into Beachwood…. We have lovely neighbors and couldn’t be happier with our choice to move here.


So if you actually work or make a decent living is there any reason to move to Cleveland?


Milwaukee is a hidden gem. Vouchers are for 100% and the school can’t officially charge you any more. The amount just got increase to 9.9k for elementary and 12.3 for high school. 300% over qualifies you to get into the program and once a kid is in they are in through 12th grade. New kids need to qualify when they start. Taxes are relatively high but the free tuition is worth a lot more. We have 4 kosher restaurants now and top notch rabbinic leadership with the Twerski’s. Were 1.5 hours from Chicago and housing is very affordable.


When calculating amount of children, I’m assuming they do not count kids past 12th grade? Also assuming vouchers can only be used in Ohio- think boys in out of town yeshivas, should I assume they don’t get to take advantage of this?


got you all beat. Chicago property taxes are…. well…. umm…..and our income tax is also umm…. and tuition ha. tuition is ohhhhh. mmmmm.




is that in the jewish area? no offense I can find houses like that in chicago. just not close to the jewish area


I just moved with my family to Cleveland a few months ago. Best move of my life so far. So many boxes checked off by moving here. Very very affordable housing, coupled with great opportunity for work (clearly that’s based on your field of expertise). Add to the fact the absolutely fantastic schools that they boast here, the vouchers were not something we were counting on but are just a very sweet icing on the cake. Many more things we discovered are the amazing local amenities that every district offers, great (and growing) kosher options available, an amazingly warm community overall, and yes, the lack of traffic and quietness of the suburb living is a massive plus. Im in Chicago for the day (Florida has the exact same problem) and it’s impossible to get around as traffic is completely out of control. I mean, I can go on…. I’d choose Cleveland over Florida any day of the week…. Twice on a Sunday


Doesn’t compare to Phoenix, AZ 😀


what doesn’t compare? the heat?

Former Clevelander

Just seems odd to ignore every comment and make it like there is nothing wrong w Cleveland. Who ever says it’s easier to add layers than take off? That’s asinine. Winter is abt 6-8 months and is brutal w the lake effect, and the lack of sun leads to seasonal depression and many crazy horror stories. As well the community is not great for Chabad w no Chabad schools and contention amongst the Chabad community members. Lastly the city itself is just a slightly better version of Detroit and the Jewish community is horrible at supporting it’s kosher establishments. Rather pay more and have multiple choices and options and live in a city controlled by conservatives and good weather


I’ve lived in multiple cities on three continents, and barring EY, I don’t think there’s a better place to live and bring up children than Cleveland. Although I’ll admit that a lot of Clevelanders struggle to appreciate what they have here. I guess that applies to former Clevelanders as well.
And as an aside, global warming seems to be working in Cleveland’s favor – the last few years have seen a significant drop in snowfall.


We are moving to CLE next week!


Moving from Tucson?


I don’t begin to understand all the counter arguments!
What about the value of living near Dan and getting to ask him how to add something to subscribe and save and getting $2.35 off your order…….




I guess @exShoYoGuy has JJ in Florida so he’s ok too….


@Dan Cleveland is going to be a much tougher sell than Emirates shower class


@Dan What if you like to get a bagel after 11am? 🙂


You mentioned the hot weather for most of the year in south Florida, Tampa actually has nice weather from beg of October until mid June. Chofetz chaimish Community getting started there with a Kollel etc. not so many restaurants yet though they just opened a bakery called Crembo.


I would say October and June are semi-bearable, not very nice though.

CLE Rocks

I moved to CLE from New York about 8 years ago and we couldn’t be happier. Aside for all the pros that Dan mentioned, there is also no pressure and no keeping up with the Joneses. You don’t need to go broke from making a simcha in Cleveland. People don’t care.

There has also been significant improvement on the kosher food scene. Plus, if you like to travel then you should know that there are two options for priority pass in the airport!


Any information about whether edchoice could be used for online schooling? For a student who’s been getting it for years and is switching to online.

Dave Parker

Online charter schools are considered a public school and are free regardless.


Not a charter school, and not free, sadly. (There are tons of online options these days!)


Let’s get a counter article from JJ now 🙂

If it’s so great there how come all your brothers moved out…..


I just moved from University Heights to Beachwood 2 months ago after 11+ years in University Heights, and we thought we’d be giving up the vouchers for good as a result. It is great to see that we will at least get a partial voucher even in Beachwood. For people whose income is such that they will get a decent-sized voucher with this new rule, it changes the equation of University Heights vs. Beachwood- because now the difference in vouchers might not make up for the extra 1.5% income tax in UH that most people pay, and Beachwood looks more attractive.


Where do I apply to get the voucher?


just ask Dan to sign you up.


@DAN have rachmunis for us longtime Cle families though there is some benefit from the explosion in growth i kind of liked the way it was 10 years ago – where I knew almost everyone in UH/Beachwood. I know you can’t turn back the clock especially taking into account the myriad of new Shul options, but i am okay if stay the way we are 🙂


Has anyone tried to sign up for the voucher yet? I’ve been going through the steps and can’t get the income verification app to update properly on the DoE website