Florida Governor Ron DeSantis praised Fifth Third Bank for reversing its decision to stop funding the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.
The bank said it was halting their donations to the program after it was discovered that more than 83 private and religious K-12 schools had a policy that barred gay students from applying and enrolling.
“The tax credit scholarship program provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 low-income families in Florida,” stated DeSantis “I support these families and am glad to see Fifth Third continue to do so as well. Thanks for empowering parents and students.
Fifth Third Bank may have been one of the companies pressured to resist funding of these religious schools by Florida legislators.
Two of the most outspoken pro-LGBTQ and race equality elected officials in the Florida legislature, controversial Reps. Anna K. Eskamani (D) and Carlos Guillermo Smith (D), are facing significant backlash over their effort to “bully corporate donors” of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program into pulling their contributions from the education initiative that supports LGBTQ and black students attending private religious schools.
A press conference held last week by the Florida African American Ministers Alliance for Parental Choice in the state Capitol, had with some 100 black and Hispanic pastors and parents in attendance to push back against Smith and Eskamani’s anti-school choice push.
Several of Eskamani and Smith’s fellow Democratic colleagues took issue with their push to stop corporate funding for the scholarship program,
Rep. James Bush III (D) warned that if these scholarships are scrapped, schools in his district were going to close.
“I don’t think that I would be in the best interest of minority kids,” said Bush about Smith and Eskamani’s efforts. “We have children that need these opportunities. When there are opportunities for parents to make choices in school that they feel will address their specific need, then I feel we should afford them that opportunity.”
Another Democrat, state Rep. Al Jasquet, told The Floridian that he didn’t believe Smith and Eskamani “haven’t truly wrapped their minds around what it is when the Constitution says “guarantee of a quality public education and I think too much focus is put on public, and we don’t realize that the real value sits in the word quality in our education.