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State News

Tax Credit Scholarship Enrollment Hits New High

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Florida’s tax credit scholarships, also known as school vouchers, are more popular than ever, and promoters are crediting opponents.

Step Up for Students says there are nearly 100 thousand students in a voucher-like program in Florida and the annual increase of 14 thousand is the biggest yet.  Doug Tuthill, the group’s president, says awareness is key.

“You know, we’re celebrating our 15th –year anniversary this year and I think we’ve been around long enough that more and more families know about us and I really think that’s what’s driving these enrollment numbers.”

Relentless coverage of a legal challenge by the Florida Education Association hasn’t hurt, Tuthill says.

“There’s been an enormous amount of publicity about the program because of the court case, and that publicity has driven awareness, and I think that’s helping to drive this dramatic increase in applications and enrollment.”

Under the program, corporations donate to organizations that provide the scholarships. The corporations get tax credits from the state in return.

An appellate court last week upheld a lower court ruling dismissing the teacher union’s legal challenge. An FEA spokesman says the union is still deciding it's next move. Critics say tax dollars would be better spent improving public schools.