BRIEF: School Choice in the States September 2014

Delaware – Doran Moreland @Dmoreland9

The Friedman Foundation will release a new survey of Delaware voters in October. The report will highlight Delaware’s surprising interest in vouchers and education savings accounts. We’ll share the link with complete data on our social networks on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, so be sure to follow us to catch the release.

Florida – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn 

On September 24, a Florida judge dismissed a lawsuit against the state’s new education savings accounts, the Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts Program, and the Florida Tax-Credit Scholarship Program expansion. The judge ruled that the Florida Education Association, the state teachers’ union, did not have standing to sue. The original complaint contends that the law containing the school choice programs violates a state constitutional requirement that each piece of legislation be limited to a single subject. Union leaders are unsure whether they will amend the complaint and file it again.

Two lawsuits against school choice programs are currently pending:

  • Last month, the Florida Education Association and other groups filed a lawsuit challenging the nation’s largest school choice program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Plaintiffs claim the program aids religious institutions and violates the state’s constitutional mandate to provide Florida children with free public schools.
  • Earlier this year, Citizens for Strong Schools, Inc. and Fund Education Now amended a five-year-old lawsuit regarding funding inadequacy to include new claims concerning the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program and the McKay Scholarship Program, a voucher for students with special needs. The plaintiff’s amended complaint contends that the school choice programs, among other programs, contributed to inadequate funding in public schools.

Indiana – Michael Chartier @mchart1

The Indiana Department of Education recently released the number of students who opted for vouchers in the state. This year, 29,437 children will utilize the Choice Scholarship Program to attend a private school outside of their zoned public school. That is a more than 48 percent increase in the number of students from the previous year. Indiana continues to be the fastest growing voucher program in the country.

Kansas – Michael Chartier @mchart1

Families in need of more schooling options are already feeling the positive impact of the Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program, a tax-credit scholarship program passed this year by the Kansas legislature and signed by Gov. Sam Brownback. The Urban Preparatory Academy opened in Wichita in September as a direct result of demand from the new program.

Pennsylvania – Stephanie Linn @StephanieJLinn 

On September 15, the Pennsylvania House Education Committee held an informational meeting on House Bill 2373, which would allow unused credits to be transferred between the state’s two tax-credit scholarship programs. Ina Lipman, executive director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia, testified on behalf of the legislation.

“There are 10,000 empty seats in quality private and parochial schools currently available in the Philadelphia area,” she said. “Through continued support of EITC and OSTC programs and greater cooperation among both programs, we will have the means to serve thousands more economically disadvantaged children in our city.”