School voucher legislation back in action with the Senate

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School voucher legislation may be back in action as the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amended bill on Tuesday that includes a proposal on Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

Sponsored by Sen. Bill Galvano, the bill changes accountability requirements for private schools so they can accept vouchers.

It also eases eligibility requirements for vouchers, but keeps the same annual income limits for families receiving scholarships.

A House plan allows partial scholarships for a family of four that earns up to $62,010, nearly $20,000 more than the current limit of $43,568.

Sen. Kelli Stargel tacked the measure onto a bill (SB 1512) to help parents with disabled children pay for educational services. Stargel applauded the amendment.

“I think the ultimate goal of this bill is we want all of our children to be successful, we want all of our children to have opportunities, and for those parents to be able to determine what opportunity is best for their child,” Stargel told the committee.

However, Democrats oppose the combined legislation with the voucher provision. “It breaks my heart to have to vote against this bill,” said Democratic Sen. Arthenia Joyner.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.