New scholarship to expand private school access to low-income children

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced scholarship Friday in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. – Low-income Florida parents will soon have more options to help finance their children's education.

Flanked by Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, parents and school officials, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new scholarship at Cavalry City Christian Academy in Orlando on Friday.

The scholarship is intended to supplement the current Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and serve over 14,000 families on the waiting list for that scholarship, DeSantis said.

The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship offers money to go toward students' attendance at private schools or public schools out of their district. To be eligible, students' families must make less than 260 percent of the federal poverty level, with different amounts available depending on each family's total income. Any children who are in foster care are also eligible.

Over 70 percent of students who currently receive the scholarships are Hispanic or black, according to DeSantis.

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DeSantis said the new scholarship is similar to the Tax Credit Scholarship in that the same low-income students will be eligible. The first recipients of the scholarship will be those on the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship's waiting list.

Florida's 2019 budget covers funding for both scholarships, DeSantis said.

DeSantis' announcement is the latest expansion of Florida's taxpayer-funded support for private schools in the two decades that Republicans have controlled the governor's mansion.

DeSantis has been actively announcing changes to Florida's education system in recent weeks.

The governor was in Titusville on Wednesday to announce that he was issuing an executive order designed to ensure that schools are increasing safety measures. 

Earlier this month, DeSantis announced his plans to fund every family on the waiting list for the Gardiner Scholarship, which serves children with special needs. DeSantis has also said he intends to eliminate "every remnant" of the Common Core curriculum in Florida schools by 2020.