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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Some proposed voucher expansions not contested



This voucher idea generated a heap of controversy in Florida a few months ago. This one drew scrutiny last week. But this one has been flying under the radar - and apparently drawing nothing but praise.

HB 1329 and SB 1656 would expand the pool of students eligible for McKay vouchers, which are available to students with disabilities. They would allow Section 504 students and students who are in Tier 3 of the Response to Intervention process to apply for the scholarships.

HB 1329 sailed through the House K-20 Innovation Subcommittee yesterday on a 14-0 vote.

Last year, Florida had 51,069 Section 504 students, according to Florida Department of Education figures. The department does not have info on the number on Tier III RTI kids.

It's not clear to us what the value of the McKay voucher would be for the potential new students. The bill refers to a matrix that frankly we're not familiar with. DOE told us it's still figuring out what the value would be. Can anybody set us straight on this?

A staff analysis says the value of the voucher for the potential new students would be higher than what those students currently get in the state's funding formula, but it doesn't say by how much. It says the bill's fiscal impact is "indeterminate."

UPDATE: D'oh! An engaged reader gently pointed out to us that the bill was amended before it got that unanimous vote. The bill that passed does NOT include the Tier 3 kids. It also sets the scholarship amount at the same amount the student would have generated under the state funding formula.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 2:04pm]


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