Voucher supporters lean heavily on direct mail in campaign

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A group supporting Florida school vouchers is spending $362,000 on direct mail in the final weeks of the General Election, according to the state Division of Elections.

Florida Federation for Children, which promotes school choice, spent a total of $371,000 during October, nearly all of it on direct mail.

Reports show that at the same time, the group raised $545,000, with $337,000 coming from the American Federation for Children from Washington D.C. and $207,000 from John Kirtley, a prominent Tampa school-choice advocate.

Support for the state’s school voucher program comes as the Florida Education Association teachers union launches a pair of lawsuits at the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. The Republican-controlled Legislature expanded the state’s de-facto voucher program expanded this spring by, prompting the legal challenges.

School-choice supporters are aggressively fighting the challenges, insisting the program helps low-income children with additional education opportunities.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, backed by teacher’s unions, opposes the voucher program.

Among the plaintiffs in one of the suits are the Florida School Boards Association; its participation in the lawsuits has created controversy in much of the state.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.