January 19, 2023

FPI: New Legislation Would Raid Public Schools’ Coffers Yet Again to Pay for Private Schools

We cannot understate the fiscal damage that HB 1 would inflict upon Florida’s public schools. Our state’s voucher program is already siphoning $1.3 billion from school districts’ budgets —10 percent of total state school aid this year — and diverting it to private schools, according to a recent report from FPI and Education Law Center (ELC). Now, legislation just introduced would expand our state’s voucher program even more, forcing school districts to forfeit even more public taxpayer dollars for private education, and possibly halting important investments such as increases to teacher pay, supplemental tutoring, and STEM enrichments.

Our public schools are already underfunded. In fact, ELC ranked our state 44th in the nation for per pupil funding, which is about $4,000 below the national average. There is no fiscally sound reason to fund the voucher expansion by reducing funding for local public schools. With enough political will, the Legislature can fully fund more than one priority — and ensure our local public schools have the resources they need.

We strongly oppose HB 1 and urge lawmakers to consider the harm it would cause to the public schools in their districts.

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