Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bills on vouchers, anti-bullying clear hurdles

Bills on vouchers, anti-bullying clear hurdles

from The Gradebook | - St. Petersburg Times and tbt* by Jeff Solochek

A piece of legislation that would greatly expand Florida's school choice programs took another step forward today. On a largely partisan vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed, the House Policy and Budget Council approved HB 653, which would allow more low-income students to participate in the Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship program.

Democrats argued that the bill ignores the larger problems in public education, and it takes money away from the system at a time when money is short. "If we want to fix this (education system), let's do it right," said Rep. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall of Miami.

Republicans saw it as a matter of parental choice and improved education options, one that might save money, too. "This program provides the means to those parents that are underprivileged ... to go to a school of their choosing at a fraction of the cost of FTE," said Rep. Kevin Ambler of Lutz. "This is the exact right time to be extending a program like this."

The bill next heads to the House floor.

The House Schools and Learning Council also moved forward an anti-bullying bill (HB 669)that the House has approved twice before. To read an interview with the mom who's pushing for the legislation, click here.


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