Here’s the scoop from the Orlando Sentinel:
The Florida Education Association is threatening a lawsuit to shut down the state’s scholarship program for low-income kids. Under this program, businesses can donate to nonprofit scholarship organizations, and then claim a tax credit up to a certain limit. The scholarship money brings the option of private schooling within reach of families that couldn’t otherwise afford it.
Why this talk of a lawsuit now, after the scholarships have been operating for seven years? The union worries that the program might offer educational choice to too many poor children.
The Legislature is considering raising the cap on the amount that businesses can donate toward scholarships, and the public-school-employee union is seeing red. Ron Meyer, lead counsel for the FEA, told the media recently that if the program were to triple in size over the next five years, “they may go to court” to kill it.
Meyer doesn’t cite the best interests of children or families in this decision. The union’s concern is simply that the program might grow too large. But the only way the program can grow is if poor parents want it to. The Legislature can raise the cap on donations, but the law requires all funds be assigned to recipient students in the same year they’re given. And scholarship organizations cannot carry over more than a quarter of total donations from one year to the next. So unless demand triples in the next five years, the program couldn’t triple.
More details here.