Using tuition vouchers to subsidize private and religious schools violates the Florida Constitution.
The Florida voucher program grades schools on an “A-F” basis. It allows children at schools graded “F” for at least two out of four years to use a state-funded tuition voucher at any private school, including a religious school.
Using government money to subsidize private schools through the school voucher program violates a state constitutional provision that mandates public money be used solely for public, not private, education.
Article IX, Section 1, of the Florida Constitution states, “Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education …”
Under the Florida voucher program, once a student receives a voucher, the student may continue to attend a private school at the public’s expense until he or she finishes middle school, regardless of any change in the “grade” assigned to the student’s public school.
The student remains eligible for a voucher through high school as well, even if the public high school to which he or she would have been assigned has never been designated a “failing” school.
The voucher program violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 3, of the Florida Constitution and Article IX, Section 6, which mandates that the state school fund shall only be appropriated to free public schools.
The government needs to give the “failing” schools resources to reduce class size, develop innovative programs, and provide computers, adequate books and supplies instead of squandering it on the “A and B” schools that don’t need it.
School vouchers effectively abandon the public school system, which is one of the major reasons why the voucher program should be challenged.
Kaye Dallas for The Famuan