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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida Legislature will consider dramatic expansion for vouchers



Florida lawmakers are poised to consider a dramatic expansion of the state's private-school voucher program for low-income students. Under a comprehensive bill (HB 1009) set to be filed today, the Legislature would increase the amount of individual tax-credit vouchers, offer more incentives to corporations to contribute to the program and essentially remove a cap on how much they can collectively give.

The bill also includes accountability measures, including financial reporting requirements for many private schools that receive tax-credit voucher money and school-by-school disclosure of standardized test scores for voucher students.

Currently, a tax-credit voucher - which is only available to students who qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch - is worth $3,950. But under the bill to be filed by Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, the amount would gradually increase, over four years, to 80 percent of the state's per-pupil funding figure. At the current per-pupil rate of $6,866, the voucher amount would grow to $5,492. And under the bill, it would automatically increase or decrease in tandem with the state rate.

Voucher supporters say many low-income families pass on tax-credit vouchers because they can't make up the difference between the voucher amount and tuition. But the bill would go a long ways in closing the gap. Read more here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:50am]


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