Panama City News-Herald: Vulnerable students win voucher fight


Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds ruled this week that Florida’s teachers unions and public schools don’t have standing to question whether a voucher program violates the state’s constitution.

Under the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the state offers a dollar-to-dollar tax credit to businesses if they choose to donate to nonprofit entities that help pay for children to attend private schools.

In other words, under the program the state does indeed receive less tax money, but there is no guarantee that even if the Legislature had received that money it would go to public schools. Lawmakers could just as easily spend that money on law enforcement or the environment if they had it to spend.

Reynolds ruled that since the plaintiffs failed to prove they lost out on money that should have gone to schools they did not have standing to sue.

That’s not a clear constitutional win for either side, but it will allow the program to exist at least until the next challenge. …

… Reynolds’ ruling is good news for 70,000 Florida students and their parents who decided the best choice was something outside of their local public school. Voucher supporters say more than 70 percent of these students are minorities, and their average family income is 5 percent above the poverty level. They add that many of these students struggled in public schools. …

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