New Florida law removes income requirement to be eligible for school vouchers

New Florida Law Removes Income Requirement To Be Eligible For School Vouchers

Miami- The governor of Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis, signed a law on Monday that extends the school voucher program to all students in the state and that had generated criticism from Democrats and a teachers’ organization for considering that it harms schools. public.

Passed by the Florida House and Senate, both Republican-majority, HB 1 eliminates income qualification requirements, which were substantial in previous programs, and makes all students in the state eligible to receive taxpayer-funded school vouchers.

“Florida is number one when it comes to educational freedom and choice, and today’s bill signing represents the largest expansion of educational choice in American history,” DeSantis said during the ceremony held in a Miami high school.


The governor, re-elected in 2022 and possibly a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, noted that, “When you combine private scholarships, charter schools, and district choice programs, Florida already has 1.3 million students attending their home school. choice”.

Under the expanded rule, all students are eligible to receive vouchers if they can prove they are a “resident of this state” and “eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12” in a public school.

“This is a monumental day in the history of Florida,” said the state’s Education Commissioner, Manny Diaz, Jr., for whom, with the new program, Florida fulfills the “promise to ensure that all children have access to a top level education.

DeSantis said the law continues to prioritize scholarships for students with family incomes that do not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level, or approximately $51,000 per year for a family of four.

In this tiered “priority” system, students whose family income ranges from 185% to 400% of the poverty level would go next, which works out to about $111,000 annually for a family of four.

The law passed last week by the Republican-controlled Senate also allows homeschooling students to receive voucher funds, albeit with certain requirements.

Opponents of the bill, mostly Democrats, argue that the measure diverts money from public schools and subsidizes private education, essentially helping the wealthy even more.

In a statement, the Florida Education Association (FEA) teachers’ union criticized the move, calling it a “terrible idea.”

“By choosing to pass a universal voucher bill, certain legislators have chosen to drain money from public schools that educate nearly 90% of our state’s students,” the statement reads.

According to the organization, “Florida already ranks 44th in the nation in spending per student on our neighborhood public schools. The state has a critical and growing shortage of teachers and staff, including bus drivers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and mental health counselors.”

But supporters of the law nonetheless contend the measure boosts competition among schools, gives parents choice and ultimately improves the quality of education.



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