March 13, 2023

Kathy Castor: Here’s what school vouchers could cost public schools

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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor represents Florida’s District 14. In this article, she explains why Florida’s proposed voucher expansion is bad news for public schools.

Florida public schools and their students are at serious risk under the radical tax giveaway scheme being fast-tracked by the Florida Legislature. House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 202 would divert public money for unchecked education “vouchers.” They could cost up to $4 billion in the first year alone.

That’s bad news in a state that is already behind in funding public education.

Florida already ranks 43rd in public education funding — more than $5,000 behind the national average. Yet, private profiteers and charter schools continue to press for more. Much of the diverted cash goes to corporations that do not follow public accountability and civil rights laws such as services for students with special needs. Our educators, students and schools cannot afford this massive giveaway.

The Florida Legislature already falls short each year in fully funding a high-quality education for every student as required by our state constitution. Their last voucher expansion actually cut funding for public schools by 9% in the 2022-2023 school year. Under the new legislation, state aid per pupil will fall by $1,340 in Pinellas County and $879 in Hillsborough County.

It’s a backwards approach,

Floridians expect state leaders to use our tax dollars to strengthen public schools, not divert public dollars with no accountability. Please weigh in with your local legislators to oppose the voucher giveaway.

Read the full article here. 

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