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The Time To Stop SB 48 Is NOW
 
 

Dear Advocate:

A bill with the potential to dismantle our constitutionally-mandated “uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools”  is rocketing through the Florida Senate, and is likely to be heard in its final committee early in March.
 
SB 48 (Educational Scholarship Programs) would

  • combine the current five current education voucher programs into two, and expand these programs at an annual cost of approximately $1 billion
  • expand student eligibility criteria for the needs-based voucher beyond those in low income households
  • make no guarantee that voucher recipients with disabilities receive a free and appropriate education
  • provide for unchecked future growth of voucher programs, including students whose parent/guardian is already bearing the full cost of private school tuition
  • radically alter the way K-12 education is funded by creating student-specific education savings accounts that may be difficult to monitor
  • apply different standards of academic and financial accountability to public and private schools
  • leave parents and caregivers adrift in a sea of public and private educational options without clear guidance on the best course to set

 
Should SB 48 pass, many Florida traditional public and charter schools, which currently educate 2.8 million students, might be forced into reducing their offerings, if not closing entirely. Recent history suggests that this loss is likely to be felt disproportionately in already underserved communities.
 
In 2018, parents and allies in New Hampshire fought back against a universal voucher proposal, and stopped it cold. That same year, Arizona voters likewise rose up to reject similar legislation. It is time for those of us in Florida who value our public schools to stand up, speak out, and inform our elected representatives that unaccountable voucher expansion is not the way to prepare our children for the future.

While your Senators are at home in advance of the March 2 start of the 2021 Legislative Session, please reach out to them. Tell them that you oppose SB 48, and request that they vote against it.
 
The PTA mission is “to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.” Together, let us live up to that mission, raise our collective voice, and defeat SB 48.
 



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