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Tax Scholarship Lawsuit Heads For Round 2: Appeals Court

Round two of a fight over Florida’s tax credit scholarship program gears up next month. And the scholarship-funding group Step Up For Students, continues to press the state’s teacher’s union to drop its lawsuit against the program. Speaking before the Economic Club of Florida Tuesday, John Kirtley likens the tax credit scholarship program to other state-sponsored systems like voluntary pre-kindergarten or the state’s Bright Futures College scholarship system. Public dollars in those programs sometimes goes to religiously-affiliated groups.

“If that was really the union’s complaint, why aren’t they filing a lawsuit against all those other programs. I don’t know why they’ve decided to focus on this one program that serves the poorest, the poorest performing and children of color. I don’t understand," he said.

Florida’s tax credit scholarship system gives businesses tax credits in exchange for tuition vouchers. The Florida Education Association has claimed the program steers what would have been public money to private schools. A circuit judge originally dismissed the case on the grounds the union didn’t have standing to sue.

The suit is on appeal before the First District Court. Arguments are set for May 10.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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