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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Gov. Charlie Crist signs voucher expansion bill



Florida Gov. Charlie Crist just signed the most sweeping expansion of private-school vouchers in Florida's history. "This is great legislation," he said at a bill signing ceremony for SB 2126 that included both Democrats and Republicans. "It matches our students with the right school."

Senate Bill 2126 significantly increases the value of a tax-credit voucher, offers more incentives to corporations to fund the program and essentially removes a cap on how much they can collectively give.

“This is the largest expansion of a voucher program in the country,” Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who sponsored the House version of the bill, told the Gradebook. “It’s a good day for parents, good for students.”

“It’s gone too far,” countered Pinellas school board member Linda Lerner, who was among the plaintiffs in a successful effort to overturn another voucher program in 2006. “It’s time to get legal opinion about a legal challenge.”

Among those in attendance at the ceremony: Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg. "I am a great fan of the public schools. I argue very vehemently for that," he said. "But there are some kids it doesn't reach. For those kids, this is an opportunity."

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:59am]


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