New Florida School Choice Program Caps 18,000 Enrollment

By  //  October 12, 2019

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Ron DeSantis in Miami Gardens last May, at the voucher bill signing. (Sunshine State News Image)

(SUNSHINE STATE NEWS) – A new voucher program approved during the 2019 legislative session that dramatically expanded Florida’s school choice program but is being challenged in court has reached its first-year enrollment cap of 18,000 students, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday.

The Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, adopted as Senate Bill 7070 in party-line votes, is the state’s fifth school-choice voucher program but the first to use public money to pay for private school tuition and to be directly administered by the state’s Department of Education (DOE).

SB 7070 allocates up to $140 million in state money to offer as many as 18,000 vouchers to students during the 2019-20 school year. That enrollment cap was reached early this month, less than two months into the school year, the DOE reported.

“I’m proud to announce that the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program has attained the highest first-year enrollment for a private choice program,” DeSantis said. “I fought for the creation of the Family Empowerment Scholarship and signed this bill into law because I heard directly from families on the Tax Credit Scholarship waitlist who want to send their kids to schools that are the best fit for them.”

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