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Florida governor signs bill for new private school vouchers

Posted at 3:47 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 15:47:22-04

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill creating a new voucher program for thousands of students to attend private and religious schools using taxpayer dollars traditionally spent on public schools.

The Family Empowerment Scholarship program was a top priority for the Republican-led Legislature and DeSantis, who signed it Thursday.

Up to 18,000 students can enroll in the program's first year from families with annual incomes at 300% of federal poverty guidelines, or $77,250 for families of four.

DeSantis and GOP lawmakers say the program gives parents more school choice for their children.

Democrats contend it will siphon money from cash-strapped public schools and that the Florida Supreme Court found a similar law unconstitutional in 2006.

Other Florida voucher programs serve low-income, special-needs, disabled and bullied students.