The Florida Senate gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would dramatically expand school vouchers in the state.
The legislation would make all Florida students eligible for vouchers by allowing anyone who is a resident of the state and is eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12 in a public school to receive assistance.
The proposal also would set up what are known as “education savings accounts,” which would allow recipients to spend voucher funds on a range of purchases beyond private-school tuition.
Current voucher programs include income-eligibility requirements.
Senate bill sponsor Corey Simon says parents should be able to send kids to whatever school they want.
“We have got to get out of this mindset that we are going to push these kids into places that, quite honestly, their parents don’t want them there. So, we are restoring the choice back to the parent. That is the whole point of this legislation,” Simon said.
Democrats, including Senator Rosalind Osgood, argue there are different standards for public schools and private schools.
Osgood said, “If we are going to have true competition, and three different systems of education, why would we not use this process to create uniformity across the school system?”
The House passed the legislation last week, and the bill now goes to Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it.