March 27, 2023

Potential Impact of Universal Vouchers a Looming Risk to Our State

At a time when our K-12 schools are already severely underfunded, the governor approved a program that will reroute billions in education funding from public education to unaccountable private schools.

A well-resourced and supported public education system is the cornerstone of a free, thriving democracy. This is why in 1998 Florida voters resoundingly supported an amendment to our state constitution declaring it a ‘paramount duty of the state’ and a ‘fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida.’ By opening up the floodgates of funding to private education, including by giving vouchers to the wealthiest families in the state, HB 1 presents a significant long-term risk to the funding for our public schools, which currently educate 87 percent of K-12 students in Florida. It is our ‘paramount duty’ to continue to shine a light on the potential costs of this program and the risks it poses to our public education system.

Instead of pumping the brakes on a program we project will cost $4 billion in the first year of implementation, legislators fast-tracked universal vouchers. The potential impact on the funding for public education in our state — the bedrock for our communities, economy, and children's futures — is a looming risk to our state. FPI will continue to analyze and communicate the fiscal impacts of HB 1 in the years to come so that Floridians can hold policymakers accountable for any cuts to public schools that may come as a result of the universal voucher program.

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