The following Letter to the Editor was published in The Daily Sun on March 11, 2023.
The Florida Legislature is passing an expanded school voucher program. (HB1 & SB202). The program will divert $7,000 for each student whose parents decide to use a private or home school education for their student, regardless of income. The Education Law Center and Florida Policy Institute estimates the expansion will cost approximately an additional $4 billion in state money. Source: https://edlawcenter.org/.
If the state does not increase revenue to cover the increased cost, public schools will be severely underfunded. In Charlotte County the estimated state aid rerouted through vouchers will be $14 million in 2023-2024, with the state aid per student dropping from $2,283 to $1,714. Source: https://edlawcenter.org/.
This voucher expansion program will negatively affect 85% of the children in Charlotte County who are enrolled in public schools. Charlotte County is not going to close public schools and services. The burden to fund public schools will fall to us, as taxpayers in the form of increased property and sales taxes in order to sustain public schools.
Additionally, there is nothing in either bill that increases the accountability or transparency for private or home schooling (what a great money-making scam. You can home school your kindergartener and make $7,000). Taxpayers will not be apprised of how these schools are performing.
I urge you to contact Ben Albritton, Michael Grant, and Spencer Roach. Tell them you do not support the voucher expansion program that will ultimately increase our taxes to pay for private education and home schooling.
Maria Metge, Punta Gorda
State Senator Ben Albritton: 850-487-5026
State Representative Mike Grant (District 75- Western Charlotte): 850-717-5075
State Representative Spencer Roach (District 76 – Desoto, Northern Lee and Eastern Charlotte): 850-717-5076