June
23rd 2014
Florida Doubles Number of States with Cutting-Edge Choice through ESAs

Posted under Governor & Parents & School Choice & State Legislature & Tax Credits

“And then there were two.” Usually that phrase suggests narrowing down the field, like moving to the championship round of your favorite sport with only the two finalists left to vie for the title. Or maybe like tomorrow in Colorado, it means narrowing down the field of major party candidates to one each.

But today’s case, in which I’m ready to break a mile-wide smile, we reach the number two by addition, by doubling the number of states from one to two. States with what? Education savings accounts to give families of select kinds of students maximum choice. First there was Arizona, now there is (no surprise) Florida:

The law allows certain parents access to Personalized Learning Scholarship Accounts, modeled on Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Parents receive an allotted sum in their education savings account, which they can use for private school tuition, educational therapy, private tutoring, or other educational expenses. The money rolls over year to year and can be saved for college.

The American Federation of Children lauds the decision of Gov. Rick Scott to sign SB 850 — which not only creates Personalized Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) for special needs students but also expands the nation’s largest scholarship tax credit program.

For those paying really close attention (give yourselves a gold star!), you may be wondering: Didn’t this already happen? So yes, a month ago I jumped the gun and pretty much assumed that Governor Scott would make the measure official so it could help kids like Nathan. Guess what? That assumption proved correct.

Also, last month Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education hadn’t yet released a one-page flier telling Florida parents the important details about PLSAs, like:

  • Who exactly is eligible for the scholarships?
  • How much money is the scholarship worth next year?
  • How can the scholarship funds be used?; and
  • When can families apply?

Now I get to celebrate the multiplication of ESA states one more time. Not to mention think about how that number might continue to grow, and when Colorado will jump on board as part of this liberating wave of an amazing educational future!

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