Sending public money to private schools is unconstitutional in Florida. The legislature gets around the law by allowing corporations to claim tax credits if they donate their tax obligations to foundations that provide scholarships to private schools.
We do not know much about these schools. They are shielded from disclosure laws public schools face. Evidently, at least someone in the DOE is watching. According to the Florida News Service, here’s one private religious school facing the loss of state scholarships.
PRIVATE SCHOOL FIGHTS REMOVAL FROM SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS
Faced with the possibility of paying back more than $69,000, a Broward County private school is challenging a decision to remove it from two state scholarship programs. The challenge, filed by Upperroom Christian Academy, was sent last week to the state Division of Administrative Hearings and is scheduled for a Dec. 31 hearing. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart in September notified the school that its eligibility had been revoked for the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program and the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. In part, the department said the school received scholarship payments at another location, giving the department “reason to believe” the school might not be operating at the site it reported to the state. Also, the department alleged that the school submitted inaccurate information about health and fire inspections. The department ordered the school to pay back about $69,300 in scholarship funds. In the challenge, an attorney for the school said it “did not knowingly or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, safety and or health” of students.