Scott Signs Bill Increasing School Vouchers

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A measure that would raise the cap on the state’s voucher system, funded by tax credits to corporations who contribute to scholarship funds, was approved Friday by Gov. Rick Scott.

The bill (HB 859) would increase the amount of credits available for the 2012-13 school year to $229 million, up more than $50 million for the current school year and more than $10 million over a scheduled increase to just under $219 million.

The measure also loosens restrictions on which students can take advantage of the program, getting rid of the requirement that students in second through fifth grade have to have attended a public school the year before they accept a scholarship.

The bill will make it easier for parents to qualify for a voucher, and make the program available for more students.


The News Service of Florida contributed to this story.

  • labman57

    Many Republicans would love to see the public education system be financially gutted and instead have the private education system be government-subsidized. One reason: they regard any form of public education (k-12 or college) as part of a subversive left-wing plot to corrupt and brainwash our youth.

    Since private schools can select student admittance based on the family’s financial status and academic ability, this would create a further divide between the “haves” and “have nots” in our society. In addition, private schools would not be restricted from proselytizing religious ideology and promoting corporate-funded anti-environmental propaganda in the science classroom.

    Since vouchers only account for a portion of the cost of tuition at a private school, families in the lower third of the economic range would still be excluded from attending, resulting in the public school system being further saturated with the poorest students, the lowest achieving students (including ELD and learning disabled), and those that are least motivated to attain academic success.

    Vouchers are intended to allow students from highly motivated families attend costly private schools which they would otherwise not be able to attend. The funding for the vouchers comes from the state or federal government, i.e., the government is essentially subsidizing the private school industry.

    Comparing performance data from public vs. private schools is an inherently biased “apples to oranges” analysis. The public and private school systems are entirely different creatures, since the latter can select students for admission based on qualifications, and they can remove students from their programs based on poor conduct or academic performance. Therefore, the performance data becomes extremely skewed compared with public schools which legally must accept anyone who resides within its residency boundaries.

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