Florida Voucher Programs - summary by Nat. School Boards Assn

posted Dec 31, 2011, 10:59 AM by Bill Duncan

Florida Voucher Programs

Florida was the first state to create a statewide private school voucher program. In January 2006, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state's original voucher program, enacted in 1999, violates the state constitution. The Florida Legislature also has created two other voucher programs: one for children with disabilities (McKay) and a corporate tuition tax credit program that operates much like a voucher program (Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program).

McKay enrolls 21,054 students for the 2010-2011 school year at a cost of about $152 million, while the corporate tax credit program enrolls 32,946 students with $140 million donations for 2010-2011. A 2007 study found that despite the growth of the McKay program, it has not proven that it works. The state collects little information from participating students and McKay schools are not required to report student outcomes.

In May 2011, state legislature voted to put on the 2012 ballot a state constitutional amendment that would repeal the “no-aid” ban on religious schools. If passed, it would allow religious schools to receive state funds and revive the voucher program ruled unconstitutional in 2006.