LWV Press Release: Florida’s Tax Credit Vouchers in Court February 9th

justiceThe Florida League issued a press release today in advance of the scheduled court hearing on Monday, February 9th of McCall et al vs. Scott et al.  The League is a plaintiff in this case against the Florida Tax Credit Scholarships to private, mostly religious schools.

A previous lawsuit against the expansion of the FTC scholarships  was dismissed by Judge Francis.  That suit, Faase vs. Scott, claimed that the procedures used to pass the bill on the  last day of the  session were illegal.  The judge ruled that no significant harm was done by the political maneuvers.  We hope the outcome will be different.

READ ON TO SEE THE PRESS RELEASE.

George Reynolds, Chief Circuit Judge in Leon County will rule on a ‘Motion to Dismiss’ of McCall vs. Scott.  The lawsuit was filed by the Florida Education Association and others, including the League of Women Voters.  The plaintiffs allege that the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) Program is unconstitutional.  These scholarships are funded by corporate donations that the Legislature has approved to be tax exempt.  The case is based upon a decision by the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling that the Opportunity Scholarships funded to private schools by the Legislature directly were unconstitutional.  The FTC scholarships are viewed as a work around of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Bush vs. Holmes in 2006.

 

LWVF Logo (better resolution?)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2015
Contact:

Deirdre Macnab, League of Women Voters of Florida, (407) 415-4559, floridaleague@earthlink.net
BATTLE OVER VOUCHER PROGRAM BACK IN COURT
TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s tax-credit voucher system is “unconstitutional and threatens the education of our most at risk students by educating them on the cheap,” Deirdre Macnab, president of the Florida League of Women Voters, warned on the eve of  another court hearing on the controversial private school program.
The lawsuit, filed by the Florida Education Association, alleges that tax-credit vouchers violate the state’s Constitution by creating a parallel education system and by directing tax money to religious institutions. The League is a co-plaintiff in the suit, which will have its next hearing Monday, Feb. 9, in front of Leon County Chief Circuit Judge George Reynolds.
Macnab said vouchers blur the lines between church and state and create a parallel system of schools that have limited requirements regarding accountability, state-approved curriculum and teacher training.
“The Constitution of Florida specifically calls for a public system of high quality  public education,” Macnab said. “Private and for-profit schools are using marketing messages to entice low income families to leave their public schools. The League says “BUYER BEWARE – these schools are separate AND unequal.”
The voucher program, known as the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, allows corporations to donate taxes they owe to the state to Step Up For Students or AAA the Scholarship Foundation. These are Scholarship Funding Organizations, designated as managers of the tax credit money and they allow the state to circumvent the separation of church and state rule.
Joanne McCall, FEA vice president, has vowed to take the union’s lawsuit to the state Supreme Court if necessary.
Alex Villalobos, Former Republican majority leader in the Florida Senate said “this program is taking critical public funding from our public schools.”
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Posted in Florida, Tax credit scholarships.

2 Comments

  1. But public schools take money from the Florida Lottery…and? Why cant corporations be allowed to donate money to private schools? Because they are religious? What is wrong with that…it seems the argument between separation of church and state is far reaching and not valid. At least the corporations are giving away there money to a worthy cause and helping children in areas where schools are terrible.

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