Universal School Choice Bill Passes Easily in Florida House

Universal School Choice Bill Passes Easily in Florida House

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
March 18, 2023

Last year, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) declared 2022 the “year of the parent.” However, it appears the state legislature is looking to expand upon that focus during the upcoming legislative session.

House Bill 1 – brought forth by Representative Kaylee Tuck (R), is known as the “universal school choice” bill. It passed in the lower chamber by a vote of 83 to 27.

“School choice allows every child to reach his or her full potential. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we transform Florida’s education system,” tweeted State Rep. Tuck.

Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R) announced what he described as the “largest expansion of school choice in the nation.”

“HB 1 expands school choice to all 2.9 million school-aged children, regardless of race, income, background, or zip code, while prioritizing low income, then middle income students. The bill unlocks universal school choice for every Florida student, empowering parents and students with customizable learning options to boost outcomes and create competition in education across the state,” stated Speaker Renner.

According to WFTS, the bill will allow individual students to use state funds to pay for private tuition as well as a plethora of other resources.

“HB1 strips the low-income requirements from the Family Empowerment Scholarship, allowing any public school-eligible student to apply. Low-income families still get priority, however. Families homeschooling can also get a slice of state dollars as well for things like online lessons or private tutoring,” the station reported.

Speaker Renner would go on to mention that the bill will cater to students and parents of all circumstances, “regardless of zip code, race, or income.”

“Governor Jeb Bush kicked off the school choice revolution over 20 years ago and Governor DeSantis will usher in the largest expansion of educational freedom in the country with the passage of HB 1. The goal is to deliver education in a much different way than the one-size-fits-all model that we all knew growing up.”

Should the bill meet the Governor’s pen, students in Florida would be able to use the state funds allotted to them for things such as instructional materials, ACT and SAT fees, tutors, and even approved preapprenticeship programs.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a junior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE), and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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