Thousands of parents and children rallied Tuesday against a lawsuit that could end the state’s largest private school voucher program. Protestors gathered in Tallahassee to support the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.
The scholarship enables low-income families to afford private school education through corporate donations. One parent, Nina Cherry, said the scholarship has had a clear effect on her family.
“It helps me, because I’m able to put them in a private school which fits their needs. So if that was taken away from me, that would – I would have to put them back into you know, a different school that doesn’t really fit their needs,” Cherry said.
More than 78,000 students across the state receive vouchers through the state’s tax credit scholarship program. The Florida Education Association is the lead group behind the lawsuit that contends the program is unconstitutional.
The League of Women Voters of Florida backs the lawsuit.
"Separation of church and state is a fundamental American value. It is a constitutional requirement.," said League President Pamela Goodman. "Circumventing the law by allowing corporations to shift their tax obligations to private foundations supporting scholarships to private schools is a legal maneuver. Florida lawmakers need to stop trying to find tricks that only shortchange our students, and concentrate on sustainable funding for quality public education."
Nina Cherry disagrees.
“That’s not true at all,” she said. “I think that as a parent you should have a choice where your child goes. For me, personally, I don’t have a problem with public schools. It’s just not for my child.”
The protest drew a crowd of over 6,000 people, including Martin Luther King III.