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Voucher Bill Advancing

By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-891148.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The value of private school vouchers for low income children would go up under a bill that's advancing in the Florida Senate. The increase would be less than 200-dollars this year, but the amount would continue to grow for at least three years.

This year, state vouchers to pay for private schools are worth $3950. Senator Joe Negron wants to boost it immediately to 65-percent of per student funding in public schools and to 80-percent in steps over three years. That would make a voucher worth about $5500. Negron says in the long term, it will save the state money because private schools can educate children at a lower cost than public schools.

"Private schools probably don't have as many of the programs that a public school has. So to me a parent has to weigh his options. My children attend a public school, and I'm content with the education they are getting there, but some parents feel like for their children that is not the best decision."

Negron proposes expanding the funding sources for the Tax Credit Scholarship program to include sellers of alcohol, oil and gas. The measure cleared the Finance and Tax Committee and has a host of committee stops before getting to the Senate floor.