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SPLC Action Fund Statement on Passage of Expansive School Voucher Bill in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The SPLC Action Fund released the following statement from Bacardi Jackson, deputy legal director of the Children’s Rights Practice Group, in response to the Florida Legislature’s passage of H.B. 1 — new legislation that expands school vouchers in the state by $4 billion:

“The new universal school voucher law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis makes Florida the worst state in the nation for public education funding. The insidious agenda to defund and destabilize public education could not have been clearer. The legislature fast-tracked this anti-public education bill with little thought about the enormous cost Florida taxpayers will bear to subsidize private education for the children of millionaires — many of whom are already enrolled in private schools. This new law funds the kinds of fraud and waste seen in other states with similar laws.

“The state spends nearly $4,000 less than the national average per pupil each year. That gap in funding will likely grow as Florida implements this latest voucher scheme that the Florida Policy Institute and others estimate will cost taxpayers $4 billion annually. Evidence shows that students do not perform better academically in private schools, which are not required to have certified teachers or even meet the same building codes as public schools. Students with disabilities lose important protections and rights at private schools. Private schools increase segregation, and many are known to openly discriminate against students and families, including LGBTQ+ people, English learners and Black and Brown people. In addition, private schools, including those heavily funded by public money, have no public oversight. Children in Florida deserve better.”