NewsCovering Florida


HB1 for universal school vouchers takes major step forward

Florida House of Representatives
Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 18:04:25-04

TALLAHASEE, Fla. — After hours of debate, Florida Republicans pushed through their plan to offer private school vouchers to every Florida student who wants them.

HB1, the universal school voucher bill, cleared the House floor today, March 17, with some bipartisan support.

The final vote was 83-27.

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.

The bill will now need the backing of the Senate to reach the governor. The upper chamber's vote is expected in the coming weeks.

If the Senate also approves, the governor would get the bill next — and while he's had some reservations about giving vouchers to those who can already afford private schools — he said it wasn't a deal breaker.