Private School Voucher Program

A Florida appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit that tried to end the state’s largest private school voucher program.

The Florida Education Association and others filed the brief arguing the method of funding the program was unconstitutional and they claimed that the program diverted monies from public schools.

The vouchers for the program are funded by corporations, which in turn receive tax credits on money they owe to the state.

The teacher’s union argued that funding process violates the state’s constitution because it directs tax money to religious institutions and creates a parallel education system.

The appeals court is backing the school voucher program which funds private-school education for more than 90,000 students. They judges say it does not violate state laws as the program does not use money from tax collections.

“Tax credit scholarships are constitutional for all the reasons the Supreme Court indicated,” Leslie Hiner, vice president of programs for EdChoice, told the Tampa Bay Times.

Hiner, who oversee oversees an Indiana-based school choice advocacy group, said the court ruling was a win because the program allows low-income students to attend private schools.

“Their futures have been threatened by this litigation,” she said. “Florida’s courts have clearly recognized the importance of these scholarships to these children.”

Bishop Victor Curry of New Birth Baptist Church in Miami also serves as chairman of the Save Our Scholarships Coalition and he suggests ending the lawsuit.

“It’s long past time for all of us who care so passionately about public education to put aside our differences and work together,” Curry said in a statement. “This sweeping ruling should compel us to focus on the real enemies — despair, hopelessness and the ravages of generational poverty.”

FEA said they would decide if they will appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.


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