Florida Governor DeSantis Approves “Game-Changing” School Choice Legislation that Grants School Vouchers to All Students in the State


“Effective immediately, all K-12 students in Florida, including those who are homeschooled, can take advantage of school vouchers,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed the bill into law on Monday at an all-boys Catholic high school in Miami. “This legislation eliminates the previous financial eligibility restrictions and allows students of all economic backgrounds to participate in the state’s voucher system, so long as they are residents.”

“Effective immediately, all K-12 students in Florida, including those who are homeschooled, can take advantage of school vouchers,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The bill, known as HB1, was passed in the state House on March 17 and in the Senate on March 23. The law also removes the enrollment cap on parents who can participate in the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options. Previously, a family of five making over $129,880 was ineligible for the scholarship, which is funded through the Florida Education Finance Program. “Now they and others of varying means will be able to apply for assistance,” said DeSantis. “Lower-income families will, however, continue to receive priority.”

“The number of Family Empowerment Scholarships for students with unique abilities will increase from 1% to 3% annually,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed the new school choice legislation into law on Monday. Along with providing parents with greater school choice, the legislation also requires the development of a government website to inform parents of every educational option available to their family.

“This is a monumental day in Florida history,” said Florida’s education commissioner, Manny Diaz Jr.

“This is a monumental day in Florida history,” said Florida’s education commissioner, Manny Diaz Jr. “Florida will always make good on our promise to ensure every single child has access to a world-class education.” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R) also hailed the new law, which removes cumbersome regulations that public schools had to deal with in the past, saying “it serves to jettison a number of cumbersome regulations public schools had to deal with in years past.”

According to Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R), the new school choice legislation will reduce red tape that burdens traditional public schools and allow them to compete alongside other school choice options. “By reducing red tape that burdens our traditional public schools, these institutions, which have served our communities for generations, will have a meaningful chance to compete right alongside other school choice options,” Passidomo said.

Senator Corey Simon (R) emphasized that parental choice is crucial in deciding the academic experience that best fits a child’s needs. “A street address or level of income should never replace the vital and irreplaceable role of a parent to decide what academic experience best fits the needs of their child,” said Simon. He also highlighted that the legislation is part of a broader focus on funding students instead of systems.

However, House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell and other opposition members are concerned about the cost and potential impact on Florida public schools. “The Republican voucher expansion may be too expensive and could be devastating to Florida public schools,” said Driskell.

The cost of the voucher expansion is a matter of concern, with different estimates floating around. “The cost to public schools is estimated to be roughly $209.6 million,” reported The Tallahassee Democrat, citing the state House. However, a Senate analysis predicted a higher cost of up to $646 million in the 2023-2024 school year alone.

According to the Florida Policy Institute, a leftist research outfit that claims to prioritize fiscal conservatism, taxpayers might ultimately have to bear a cost of up to $4 billion.

Ahead of the passage of HB1, Mary McKillip, a senior researcher at the leftist Education Law Center, expressed concerns that expanding parental and student choice would amount to a “devastating attack on the public schools.” However, Governor Ron DeSantis maintains that the new law is not an attack on public schools but rather a defense of Floridians’ ability to make their own choices.

According to Governor Ron DeSantis, “Florida is number one when it comes to education freedom and education choice, and today’s bill signing represents the largest expansion of education choice in the history of these United States.” He added, “When you combine private scholarships, charter schools, and district choice programs, Florida already has 1.3 million students attending a school of their choosing.”

Laura Zorc, director of education reform at the Freedom Works advocacy group, believes that HB1 is a reflection of DeSantis’ approach to governance. She told Newsweek that “he’s very pro-parent, he’s very in tune to making sure our kids get what they need to be educated. And so he’s allowing them — us — to make that choice.”

Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R) praised the governor’s support, saying that “Florida has delivered the greatest expansion of educational freedom in the nation and will unleash a wave of opportunity for millions of families.”


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