On Jan. 19, students and chaperones from throughout the state of Florida are scheduled to attend the “Rally in Tally” event in Tallahassee. These students, parents and school administrators represent more than 35 Catholic schools from Florida, five of which are from the Diocese of Orlando.
The event seeks to raise awareness of the value of scholarships for low-income families. The scholarships are subject to a pending lawsuit against the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program (McCall v. Scott). Organizers have set a goal of 10,000 students, which would make the event among the largest school choice rallies in our nation’s history. The event will feature keynote speaker Martin Luther King III and parents and families who benefit from the scholarship program.
The rally is organized by Florida Voices for Choices which is seeking to maintain the scholarship program which serves 78,000 economically disadvantaged children.
The lawsuit argues the FTC program violates two sections of the Florida constitution such as Article I Section 3, which says that “no revenue of the state or any political subdivisions 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.”
The scholarship has helped thousands of students to attend the school of their choosing. In the 2015-2016 school year, it’s set to provide $447.3 million in scholarships, that’s close to 78,000 low-income children in more than 1,500 private schools.
Participation in the FTC program by Florida Catholic schools during this school year is 3,156 students in the Diocese of Orlando alone. Statewide the numbers increase to 13,369 Catholic students.
Participants at the rally will march from the Civic Center a couple of blocks to the Capitol, which is located across the street from the Supreme Court building.
“We are fighting for our kids to get the education they deserve,” said Catherine Durkin Robinson, Executive Director of Florida Voices for Choices.