Everything Parents Should Know About Florida’s New “Family Empowerment Scholarship” Part 1
On May 9th, 2019, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bill into law that will afford parents more freedom in school selection through an all-new, state-funded voucher program. This legislation creates an exciting opportunity for parents who want greater autonomy over their children’s academic future.
The official signing took place at William A. Kirlew Junior Academy in Miami Gardens. Before an exuberant crowd, DeSantis spoke about the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES), which will help terminate a Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship waiting list that currently contains 13,000 families.
“I personally believe as a matter of principle and philosophy that parents know what’s best for their kids, they know the right environment, and that if you empower parents regardless of income that the parents ultimately can make the best decision,” DeSantis said.
For parents, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of Florida’s increasingly choice-friendly education system. Whether you’re looking for an affordable private elementary school in Clearwater, FL, with a proven track record of student success, or you have an older child who wants to finish high school in a new setting, Lakeside Christian School provides students with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.
The Family Empowerment Scholarship
The FES will help facilitate a broader school choice initiative serving 18,000 students in year one, followed by another 7,000 students in the coming years. Unlike the FTC Scholarship, which relies on corporate contributions, the FES will gain funding from the Florida Education Finance Program.
In the Tampa Bay area, this will allow more parents to enroll their children in one of the private schools in Clearwater, FL, like Lakeside Christian School. Many families want the option to provide their children with an education that helps them grow academically, socially, and spiritually, and the FES is designed to support this endeavor.
More Opportunity for Low-Income Families
One recent study conducted by the Urban Institute indicated that low-income FTC students had a 43 percent greater probability of enrolling in four-year colleges than their public school peers. In addition, the study showed that they were 20 percent more likely to actually earn bachelor’s degrees. Figures like this help justify the existence of the FTC Scholarship’s extensive waiting list, but the FES will do away with this list altogether.
According to DeSantis, the primary goal of the FES is to offer “more opportunity for thousands and thousands of low-income families here in the state of Florida,” which is why this new scholarship initiative is viewed as a “big, big deal” in the eyes of parents, students, and legislators.
In part two of this two-part series, we’ll cover some additional perspectives on this new law and explain why choice matters for your children’s education.
If you would like to learn more about scholarship opportunities at Lakeside Christian School, the best private school in Clearwater, FL, please give us a call at (727) 239-7808 or schedule a tour of our campus.