BACKGROUND: Low-income families meeting basic eligibility requirements can obtain Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarships for their schoolchildren. For example, a family of four making $43,568 or less can obtain scholarships valued at $4,880 per child. At present, there are 60,000 FTC scholarship students statewide, including 9,448 of these K-12 students attending Catholic schools.
SB 1512 (Stargel) would empower more low-income parents to qualify for the program without having their children to first attend public schools for a year. Current state law requires that children in grades 6-12 who are otherwise qualified for FTC scholarships must have spent the prior year in a public school in order to obtain scholarships. There is no such requirement for children in Kindergarten to 5th grade.
Within the past few days, a number of amendments have been filed which would require FTC scholarship students to take the exact same assessments as their public school counterparts. These amendments are unnecessary and burdensome and would greatly hamper if not end the ability of Catholic schools to continue participating. Catholic schools already administer national norm-referenced assessments which meet validity and reliability specifications set by the Florida Department of Education. This in turn allows our schools to maintain autonomy over the curriculum and standards used in their classrooms. The mandated use of the state assessment would derail true parental empowerment in Florida.
ACTION: Please act now to let your Florida State Senator know you support expanded access to tax credit scholarships without mandated statewide assessments and ask him or her to support removing the prior public attendance requirement for all low-income schoolchildren.
Click the link below to log in and send your message: https://votervoice.net/FCC/Campaigns/35904/Respond