Will Weatherford’s Massive Expansion of Vouchers Promises Cash Bonanza for Step Up for Students

That “massive expansion” of Florida’s voucher system Will Weatherford promised is here. From Flagler Live:

Under the proposal (PCB FTSC 14-02), retailers could divert sales-tax payments to the system; middle-class families would qualify for partial scholarships; and each scholarship would cover more of the cost of attending a private school.

The bill would also increase a cap on the program’s fundraising; drop for many students a provision requiring those in middle school or high school to have attended public schools for at least one year before qualifying for a voucher; and toughen standards on organizations that provide the scholarships.

In an interview last week with The News Service of Florida, Weatherford said his goal was to make sure the program was available for more students.

“I’d like to get to a place where there never has to be a waiting list,” said Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. “If there’s a single mom who’s got a son or a daughter who’s stuck in a failing school, and she wants to go into the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program to give her kid a better chance in life, I would never want to say, ‘Our door is shut to you because we hit thee cap and we don’t have enough room for your child.’ ”

Weatherford false meme is deliberately misleading intended for the bleeding heart. Last year there were 107 failing Florida schools – many of them charter schools for which Weatherford also flacks. Florida’s current voucher system isn’t restricted to kids in “failing schools.” Weatherford knows that. And he also knows that his new bill promises a cash bonanza for the organization which manages the program.

One of the most sweeping changes to the program would be the authority for sales taxes to be sent to scholarship organizations instead of the state, which would provide tax credits to retailers that do so. Until now, the program has been largely funded by credits against taxes paid by corporations, including corporate income taxes and insurance premium taxes.

No wonder Step Up for Students’ Jon East is gushing over this.

Unlike in past years, the only scholarship organization did not keep track of a waiting list for this school year, a spokesman said. But about 60,000 students were given scholarships, and another 34,000 started the application process before the program cut off the process because it was full, according  to Jon East of Step Up For Students.

“We think that suggests that there is a fair upside still to families wanting this scholarship. … I think it’s fair to say that there’s quite a bit of unmet need,” East said


East and the rest of the SUFS gang must be rubbing their hands in glee over the chance to get sales tax directly from Florida businesses. He is one of seven executives who make over $100,000 on the taxpayer’s dime. A  hefty pay raise is sure to be in order. Maybe they can even get a few more on the payroll.




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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