FEA appeals ruling on Florida tax credit scholarships
The Florida Education Association has not given up its battle against the state's corporate tax credit scholarship program, which allows about 90,000 low-income students to attend private schools.
The union announced Wednesday it has appealed rulings that it had no standing to challenge the program, because the money does not go through the state budget. Rather, the courts found, donors contribute to a scholarship funding organization and receive tax credits for the amount.
FEA president Joanne McCall said in a release that the group wants to discuss the constitutionality of the scholarships, and not the union's standing.
"We're frustrated that the court will not even allow us to argue the merits of this case," McCall said. "The lower courts have ruled that teachers and our partners in this lawsuit aren't allowed to challenge the constitutionality of the tax credit vouchers. It's the job of the judiciary to act as a check and balance on the legislative and executive branches of government. A decade ago, the courts ruled that a previous voucher scheme was unconstitutional. They should examine this voucher plan as well."
Not surprisingly, groups that support the program and oppose the lawsuit issued statements criticizing the FEA's appeal.
"The union's decision is wrong for the children, and wrong for our public schools," said Bishop Victor Curry, New Birth Baptist Church in Miami and Chairman of the Save Our Scholarships Coalition.