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.