Scott Signs Another Expansion of the Voucher Program; Meanwhile a Zephyrhills Private School is Investigated for McCay Abuse

The tax credit scholarship that Rick Scott expanded this week is different from the McCay Scholarship plan, but both are taxpayer-funded programs which take money away from public schools. Florida’s policy-makers emerged unscathed from last summers’ revelations of wide-spread abuse of the McCay scholarship program. They’ve got another one on their hands this morning.

ZEPHYRHILLS, Florida — The allegations don’t just include abuse of taxpayer funds, but also of children with disabilities. And there’s practically no system in place with the state to stop it.

The 10 News Investigators received numerous complaints about how Zephyrhills Christian Academy neglected its McKay Scholarship students, who all have diagnosed learning disabilities. The Investigators also found that the Department of Education had little contact with the school over how it spent its $135,339 in tax dollars this year.

Tens of thousands of Florida schoolchildren receive McKay scholarships, designed to give students with learning disabilities an opportunity to apply their public school funds to a private school education. The idea is to give parents a choice and students more personalized attention.

Its almost as if they don’t care and that any way to shift education toward private entities – no matter how corrupt – is acceptable and desirable.

ZCA costs most parents approximately $5,000 per year to attend. But a growing number of the school’s student base now collects McKay Scholarships, funded by the state. While approximately 14% of Florida school children have diagnosed learning disabilities, more than a quarter of students at ZCA have been diagnosed so they can collect McKay funds.

As long as the state’s education apparatus is controlled by an ideological republican governor in Scott and its personnel vetted by Jeb Bush, you can expect such corruption and fraud to continue to be unaddressed in any meaningful way. When it comes to privatization zealots,  the ends justifies the means.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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