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Bill would establish universal school choice in Florida

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Parents of school children would receive vouchers to pay for their students’ private school tuition under a measure now under review by the Florida State Senate. A companion bill, HB 1, was passed earlier this month by the Florida House of Representatives by an 83 to 27 vote.

Under SB 202, the measure would expand school choice in the state by allowing the parents of students in private schools and those who are homeschooled to use vouchers valued at $8,000 per student to pay tuition and related educational expenses such as tutoring, materials, and the costs of ACT and SAT standardized tests.

The majority of the total $646 million cost of the school choice expansion would be funded by $429 million from the Florida tax credit scholarship program, with the remaining $115 million and $101 million derived from the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES), Educational Opportunity scholarship, and the FES Unique Abilities scholarship.

In a statement on its website, the Florida Education Association said that public education would suffer if the legislation becomes law.
“Unfortunately, SB 202/HB 1 rip money away from public schools and give that money to unaccountable, private and religious voucher schools,” the organization’s statement said.

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SB 202 is pending in the Florida Senate.

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