Teach Florida Applauds State Legislature for Expanding K-12 Scholarships to Working Class Floridians

27 Apr 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Teach Florida, a nonpartisan organization advocating for educational funding opportunities for Florida nonpublic schools, thanks the state’s legislature for passing SB48/HB7045, a bill that will significantly increase the state’s income-based and special needs scholarships for nonpublic school students. As of July 1, students from working- and middle-class families with income up to 375-percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for scholarships to attend nonpublic schools at the same funding level as per student public school students receive from the state – approximately $7,500 per student. The bill is now set to go to Governor DeSantis, a strong school choice supporter, for his expected approval.

Longtime school choice champion Rep. Randy Fine (R- Palm Bay) sponsored the legislation in the House, “I’m really proud we passed the school choice legislation. Every child deserves to go to the school best for them regardless of income or zip code. Today, we have created historic expansion in the number of children who can participate in the program, whether they have special needs or come from lower to middle income families. We are going to make it possible for many more kids to attend the school that is best for them.”

“Right now, more than 40% of Jewish day school students attend school with the help of state scholarships. Thousands more still need help, and with this legislation, the assistance for many is here,” said Daniel Aqua, Executive Director of Teach Florida. “The strong advocacy of our community for this bill through our petition drive, calls and meetings was critical, along with the work of our partners and the legislators who worked hard to put Florida’s children first.”

Increasing and expanding the scholarship program for nonpublic school students has been a multi-year project for Teach Florida and the school choice coalition, which includes Step Up for Students, Foundation for Florida’s Future, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, Agudath Israel of America, Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools, Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, and Florida Council of Independent Schools. They worked extensively with legislators in both houses who championed the legislation including Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Spring Hill), House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R- Clearwater), Sen. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah), Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland), Rep. Randy Fine (R- Palm Bay) and Rep. Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City).

Teach Florida, a member of Teach Coalition and a project of the Orthodox Union, is a growing grassroots movement that advocates for government funding of Florida nonpublic schools. It has helped deliver more than $150 million in expanded state scholarships and school security funding. For more information, visit www.teachcoalition.org.