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Ohio considers property tax credit for home schooling

By   /   June 12, 2013  /   18 Comments

By Maggie Thurber | For Ohio Watchdog

Since the beginning of the home-schooling trend, parents have noted that they pay double to educate their children — once for the education they’re providing at home and again in the property and other taxes they pay to the local school district for public education.

That double payment will stop if S.B. 127 is approved by the Ohio General Assembly.

“Home-school students are taught with no financial assistance from government,” said Sen. Kris JordanR-Ostrander, the bill’s sponsor. “I think that (it) is only right to allow these families to keep more of their hard-earned dollars to make up for the cost of educating their children.”

The Christian Home Educators of Ohio support the idea of a property tax credit but have some concerns about the pending legislation.

Under the terms of the legislation, a home-school parent would make application to the county auditor for a reduction equal to the school district property taxes that are levied on the parent’s home.  Reductions would begin in the 2014 tax year for taxes paid in 2015.

The applications would require information necessary to establish eligibility for the reduction, but must include a certified copy of the papers filed by school district superintendent showing the qualifications of the person conducting the home schooling.

If an application is denied, the reasons must be provided and the parent may appeal the denial to the county’s board of revision.

Jay Smith, a lobbyist with the Ohio School Board Association, said the OSBA does not support the bill.

“We see public education as a benefit for society and this just siphons away money that would be used for public education,” he said. “We will definitely participate if there is opponent testimony for the bill. We usually do when there is an issue that generates money for public education.”

Smith also said there were concerns about how such a provision would actually function.

“If there was lost revenue due to a tax credit — or any bill — we’d want to see that replaced,” he said.

Melanie Elsey, the legislative liaison for the nonprofit Christian Home Educators of Ohio, said her group supports the idea of a property tax reduction, but has some concerns about how the language is constructed.

“We’re working with Sen. Jordan and the Home School Legal Defense Association to address those concerns and expect that there will be some willingness to make changes to ensure there are no unintended consequences,” she said.

The bill is pending in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

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Maggie Thurber

  • Mark Stevenson

    Ohioans for Educational Freedom supports this bill. OEF is a statewide Political Action Committee for home schoolers and advocates for home school freedom in Ohio. the web site can be found at http://www.ohioansforfreedom.com

  • Maggie Thurber

    Thanks for adding your position!

  • Kim

    Whoa! This looks like a slippery slope to me (a FL homeschool mom). Once the government gets its claws into your homeschool (provide proof of qualifications, etc.), it is just a short jump to overseeing and meeting standards. I, for one, would strongly oppose this bill just so that the government STAYS OUT of my homeschool entirely. I also understand that the property tax that I pay that goes to the schools helps pay for my future doctors’ and plumbers’ education. IF the government wants to offer tax breaks for the greater good of a family, I’d rather see it go to stay-at-home moms, whether they homeschool or not, or toward earned tax credits for volunteer service.

  • thinkermom

    As an Ohio homeschool mom, my first notice of intent was sent back asking me to verify my qualifications as required by law. I did not have to provide “proof”, but I had to let them know my qualifications. While I understand your concerns and don’t want the government to have any more say in my homeschool, I live in a very modest house and still pay twice as much for public education (through property taxes) as I do to educate my own children at home. The property tax burden sometimes makes it difficult to provide the excellent curriculum and opportunities I would like to provide for my children.

  • Phil

    I’m an Ohio college student, and I think if you’re going to take money out of a public school for a homeschool tax break, you better make sure it’s still fully going towards educational benefits. Also, you can argue that good schools create good neighborhoods, or vice versa, but either way if you live in a neighborhood you should contribute at least somewhat to its public schools. It’s just part of the buy-in for living in a particular community.

  • Valerie Miller Buchanan

    I’m probably going to catch some flack about this but I do not agree with a tax break for home schooling. One reason is that home schooling is a personal choice that for various reasons are not available to every parent. Secondly I can see down the road where school taxes go up for those who are not home schooling their children to cover the losses incurred due the tax breaks for those that do home school. The fact that the larger portion of school taxes come from property owners has always been a sore spot for me primarily because I am a property owner but I have never had any children. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in getting a good education and am a supporter of home schooling because I am a college student who purposefully chose the online environment because it was more cost effective for me. I personally think the answer to the problem of funding public schools should be looked at from a different angle i. e. expanding the target base to include non-property owners as well.

  • Stephen Hopkins

    Very bad idea; this is a way for Ohio
    government to regulate homeschooling and actually kill it all together
    with regulations. No parent should be regulated to teach their children.
    Shame on Maggie Thurber for not reporting this in her article.

  • Stephen Hopkins

    Once again another Republican is showing what a
    boob they are. Is this Jordan a boob or trying to regulate home schooling out
    of existence, because if this law goes through and the statist in the ODE get
    their way, you’ll have home schooling regulations, which no parent under natural
    law can be regulated, teaching is the parents primary vocation, and will open
    up home inspections not only by ODE employees but social services. But in the
    end it will restrict and constrict home schooling…meaning it will kill it. What
    an Orwellian bill.

  • Mentor

    Kim,

    I agree with you that tax credits should be given to stay-at-home moms who are raising the next generation, a very high calling indeed!

  • Stephen Hopkins

    If we want to advance primary education in Ohio then start with no strings vouchers. The government has done a terrible job monopolizing education and it’s time competition set it free. Let Ohio be a laboratory of new ideas. We can still have government schools for those communities that want them, it’s their right, but we need to get big government out and the only way we can do this is through competition and that means vouchers. Stop all the stupid standards BS, let the market determine the standards.

  • Milton_Hayek

    How about the same credit for those whose kids attend a private school? My parents sent myself and 3 siblings to parochial grade school & high school, paying both tuition and school-property taxes for years.

  • Milton_Hayek

    Do you also feel the same way about private & parochial school support? One can argue they add more to a neighborhood than a public school, based upon tougher discipline & curriculum.

  • http://lisabrowndesign.blogspot.com/ LisaBrownDesign

    Homeschooling is a personal choice that IS available to almost every parent… just as long as they have a high school diploma, GED or proof of equivalency.

  • Valerie Miller Buchanan

    I understand and am not referencing the credentials required. However, this option is not a choice for some families. All but a couple of my friends who have children are also households where both of them work. Who will home school the children if both of them are working? This also applies to the single parent homes, there are a lot of them who also work outside the home, often long hours to compensate for the single income. I just don’t feel that it is right to ‘reward’ [provide a tax break] folks for something that is not available to everyone. I’m including myself and other non-parent home owners in that ‘not available to’ group. I don’t even have any children to home school to get a tax break on.

  • http://lisabrowndesign.blogspot.com/ LisaBrownDesign

    I know you weren’t referencing credentials. But, the simple fact is that that these credentials are the only thing that can really prevent someone from homeschooling their children. A family that wants to homeschool will find a way to make it happen. I left a successful career to raise & homeschool my children. Sure, not all families are willing to make sacrifices to homeschool… you’re right about that. But… Those who want to will find a way. There are plenty of single parents, dual-income families, disabled parents, low-income families, etc families who all choose to homeschool.

    Think of it not as a “reward” for homeschoolers, but rather something to compensate for the out-of-pocket expenses homeschooling families incur to educate their children. Since homeschoolers pay for public education AND their own personal homeschool, it can be seen an “paying twice” to educate your children. As you have no children, you certainly don’t pay twice to educate them… hence no refund.

  • Valerie Miller Buchanan

    Respectfully, neither one of us is going to change the mind of the other. I commend you for the sacrifices you have made to home school your children. However, the fact remains it was still YOUR choice to do so. One of the biggest reasons that some of the folks I’ve talked to about home schooling have decided against it is that there are not enough resources available in all areas to facilitate the necessity for proper socialization

    While I am not aware of it here in Ohio, in other states there are groups of parents that have formed sort of a community effort in that the children are taught different subjects by different parents at these other parents homes in order to provide some degree of socialization because this is equally important and cannot be taught from a book.

    Children can be taught and learn exceptionally well all the academic requirements, however it is my personal opinion based on meeting and dealing with a number of home schooled graduates that they lack the proper social skills to deal with the various types of negative personalities they encounter once they are out on their own.

  • Michelle

    So what you are saying @lisabrowndesign:disqus is that all single parents, low income families or disabled parents,are capable of giving up their income (if they’re willing to make sacrifices) to homeschool their child(ren). So would one choose to not put food on the table, have a car to transport their child/ren, or keep a roof over their head to homeschool? If you can’t afford to own a home you definitely wouldn’t receive the tax break. As far as paying twice for education, then so where would the tax break be for those who chose a private school education because that tax break would then help them with the funding of their child/ren’s education also. Homeschooling is as much a choice as sending ones children to private school. Don’t forget there are children with special needs who require someone who is specially educated to teach them.

  • Terri

    I would like to see all real property taxes in the State of Ohio abolished. As long as you are obligated to pay such taxes, you NEVER own your home. The government can take your home if your taxes become delinquent due to job loss, illness, etc…
    This should not be allowed to happen in the U.S.A.
    Of course, the Teachers unions will not support my suggestion, because it means the defunding of school systems plagued by substandard educators.
    We should attempt to place a state constitutional amendment on the ballot, so that the voters of Ohio can decide!!