While Circuit Court Judge Reynolds denied a request for a summary judgment to halt the voucher and tax credit scholarship programs, the Citizens for Strong Schools case continues. The judge ruled that the attorneys for the case did not show harm to the defendants due to vouchers and tax credit scholarships for private schools, but argument could be made when the case comes to trial in March, 2016.
A Politico article summarizes the way forward for the Citizens for Strong Schools case. The case argues that the State educational policy provides inadequate funding for a high quality system of public education. Charter schools and various forms of voucher programs, testing and teacher evaluation programs all have a negative impact on the constitutional provision for providing a ‘uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of free public education’.
Given that the Florida State Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that vouchers for private schools were unconstitutional, the McKay Scholarship program and Personal Learning Scholarships, which are funded directly by the State, could have the same fate as the case moves forward.
The argument against tax credit vouchers is countered by an Arizona case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that tax credit scholarship programs were based on voluntary donations and were not a form of government spending. This case cited the Establishment Clause that prohibits government interference in religious affairs. The Florida case is broader.