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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida Legislature might consider further expansion of corporate tax credit scholarships



They did it last year. And there's talk that Florida lawmakers might do it again.

"There may be an opportunity to expand the corporate tax scholarship fund," said House speaker-in-waiting Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel.

The demand is proven, he told the Gradebook.

"There's still a waiting list" of students requesting the vouchers, he said. "There's still a cap on the amount. People like myself and others are saying, You've got 1000's of kids who want to be in the Step Up For Children program but because of the cap they are unable. Let's fix that."

Critics have complained that the program funnels money away from the public schools. Those critics don't include the low-income parents who use the scholarships, though, Weatherford observed.

"I've never had a single parent come up to me and say, 'Look, this is a problem,'" he said.

If the change can be made without fiscal impact -- something Weatherford argues is possible because the scholarships are less than state per-student funding for public school -- look for this to happen. But if it's not at least revenue neutral, maybe not.

Committees resume their meetings again next week. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Saturday, October 1, 2011 2:18am]


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