The state legislature may soon send 30 million more state dollars to
private schools. The increase comes as public schools are facing
cutbacks. the teachers union is crying foul.
20 thousand kids in Florida are now attending private schools paid for
by money that is being diverted from the state’s bank account. The cost:
80 million dollars.
The corporate scholarship program allows companies to make donations to scholarships instead of paying their corporate taxes to the state. Sponsors, LIKE State Representative Trey Traviesa of Tampa, want to allow another 30 million to be diverted to the program this year.
“You’ve got a lot of poor kids who are struggling in school and they’re
the toughest kids we have to get the learning gains that they need. And
what some of their parents want is to give them options.”
The bill would also allow corporate tax diversions to grow up to a
quarter billion dollars over the next five years.
School budgets are already tight. And Ron Meyer, the Florida Education Association attorney, is seeing red.
“At a time like this, this economy being so bad, to advocate leaving a
quarter of a billion dollars of uncollected tax revenue, just doesn’t
Governor Charlie Crist sounds inclined to approve the increase if the
plan makes it to his desk.
“And give more choice and more opportunity and more education? Everyday.”
The teachers successfully challenged the voucher program that was
centered around failing schools. They’ve turned a blind eye to the
corporate voucher program, but they say if it’s to triple over the next
five years, they may go to court.
Supporters argue the state actually saves money by sending
kids to private schools. The tuition voucher is $3750, but school
districts are paid 67 hundred dollars for the same student. Opponents
say that doesn’t take into consideration the constant costs of buildings