Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida is close to making it easier for students to attend private schools.

READ MORE: Big 7 Travel Ranks Le Chick’s Burger 3rd Best In US

A bill that would create a new voucher program allowing more Florida students to attend private schools at taxpayer expense has begun moving in the state Senate.

The Senate Education Committee voted 5-3 Wednesday for the measure creating the new Family Empowerment Scholarship.

It’s aimed at tackling a waiting list of thousands of lower-income students for an existing private school voucher program.

READ MORE: Have You Seen Ashley Espinoza-Sanchez? Missing Woman Last Seen At Hard Rock Stadium

Unlike that program, the new one would use money spent on public schools based on district enrollment.

It’s a top priority for Republican leaders who favor school choice, but opponents say it could siphon away money from traditional public schools.

Under the bill, teachers’ past SAT and ACT test scores would no longer be considered for recruitment and retention bonuses.

MORE NEWS: NASA, Boeing Scrub Scheduled Starliner OFT-2 Launch

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)