The Save Our Scholarships Coalition is committed to protecting the wellbeing of Florida’s neediest schoolchildren and the opportunity for parents to choose the school that best fits their child’s learning needs.
The statewide Save Our Scholarships Coalition, made up of parents, school choice advocates, state, business, faith-based leaders, and educators has a mission to get the FEA and FSBA to drop the lawsuit that attacks Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The suit threatens to evict 68,000 low-income, primarily minority schoolchildren from the schools where they are succeeding today.
The Save Our Scholarships Coalition supports a:
- Parent’s right to choose the best school for their child
- Student’s right to achieve in the classroom and reach their greatest potential
- Chance to provide those who face the greatest obstacles more options
- Engaging private and corporate funding to help Florida’s students succeed
- Complementary partnership between public and private schools to benefit the unique needs of Florida’s schoolchildren
- Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Lawsuit Facts.
- FEA/FSBA Legal Complaint.
Tax Credit Scholarship Background
Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program began serving low-income children in 2002, providing scholarships to children in need and choices to parents seeking a different school where their child could succeed.
The facts about students who benefit from the scholarships:
- They live in households that are only 5 percent above the poverty line
- More than two-thirds are African-American or Hispanic.
- More than half live in single-parent homes.
- Were among the poorest performers in the schools they left behind; once on scholarship they achieve the same reading and math gains as students of all income levels nationally, including those from wealthy families.
Today, about 68,000 low-income children are on scholarship, attending more than 1,500 private schools. Even more students are on a waiting list. The scholarships are all funded by private tax-credited corporate contributions. No direct state budget dollars are used to fund the program. Companies receive a 100 percent tax credit for their contributions to a scholarship.
Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Lawsuit Overview
The State of Florida is being sued by the Florida Education Association (FEA), Florida School Boards Association (FSBA), Florida Congress of Parents and Teachers (PTA), Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA), League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVFL), Florida State Conference of Branches of NAACP (FLNAACP) and Florida members of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). These entities are seeking to end the 14-year-old Florida Tax Credit Scholarship that serves more than 78,000 economically disadvantaged children.
This lawsuit was filed on August 18, 2014 and argues that the tax-credit scholarship program violates two sections of the Florida Constitution: Article I, Section 3, which says that “no revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution”; and Article IX, Section 1, which says that “adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require.”