TALLAHASEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate passed HB1, the universal school voucher bill, 26-12.
HB1 previously cleared the House floor on March 17, with some bipartisan support.
Low-income students will still have priority when it comes to private school vouchers, but under the bill, anyone can apply — even homeschoolers.
Republicans have said they're doing away with the current "one-size-fits-all model" for education to allow families to craft the best plan for their kids.
Many Democrats worry that the price tag is too high. State analysis puts new costs between $210 to $220 million… but third-party nonprofits say billions. There are also concerns that public schools will miss out on the dollars.
Following today's vote, the Florida Education Association issued the following statement.
Florida’s families overwhelmingly count on their neighborhood public schools as the best place for their children to get the education they deserve and need. HB 1 will siphon billions away from the schools where nearly 90 percent of Florida’s students learn and grow. This bill will leave children with fewer resources in their already underfunded classrooms and fewer teachers and staff to meet their needs. Sending tax dollars to unaccountable, corporate-run private schools is just wrong. This bill is a political priority of a governor who puts his political ambition ahead of Florida’s families.
The bill now heads to Governor DeSantis' desk. While he has previouslyhad some reservations about giving vouchers to those who can already afford private schools, he said it wasn't a deal breaker.