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Florida lawmakers file bills to give private-school vouchers to all

Florida lawmakers filed bills this week that would allow almost any parent to use public school money to send their children to private school.

The bills by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, will create what some call "education savings accounts" and others call "vouchers for all."

The filing comes after weeks of speculation that "universal voucher" legislation wouldn't be filed this year, given the lukewarm response from other voucher supporters that followed the initial pitch from Gov. Rick Scott and Patricia Levesque, the Jeb Bush aide who headed Scott's education transition team.

Even Scott seemed to be backing away from the idea, saying three weeks ago he was more focused on creating more charter schools.

It remains to be seen how much traction Negron's bill will get.

"I don't see that happening," House speaker pro tem John Legg, R-Port Richey, said of education savings accounts, when speaking to the Pasco County School Board on Tuesday. "With that said, I don't have a crystal ball. Members can file legislation. It's open for discussion."

He added, though, that if the idea does come up, he doesn't expect it to move.

Ron Matus can be reached at matus@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8873. Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614.

To read the bill go to myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=46192&SessionId=66.

Florida lawmakers file bills to give private-school vouchers to all 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 1:16pm]
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