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State scholarship program gets a major corporate donor

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-989773.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The Walton Family Foundation, bearing the name of Walmart founder Sam Walton, has made a $1.4 million donation to Step Up For Students. Lynn Hatter reports Step Up for Students administers the corporate tax scholarship program that gives money to low-income kids in failing public schools to go to private ones.

According to Step Up for Students chairman John Kirtley the money will help the organization run the Corporate Tax Scholarship program. The organization was set up in 2001 by the Florida legislature.

"The statute requires that 97-percent of the money given from companies to the non-profit must be used for scholarships and only three-percent can be used for admin costs. So, the money the Walton family foundation has given to us will help with the administrative costs of running the program."

What the money won't go to is more scholarships. Step Up for Students has hit the state-mandated 175-million dollar scholarship donation cap and can't collect any more money this year. It's using what it has to move more than 10-thousand students eligible for scholarships off a waiting list.