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The Voucher Expansion Bill, HB-1

HB 5101 is the budget bill. Will it limit the amount that can be spent on the vouchers created by HB-1? This action alert makes it easy to write your legislators about this issue:

Note that 500,000 (students currently enrolled in private schools) times $8,000 is $4 billion so the extra 2.1 billion currently mentioned in HB 5101 (see paragraph below) will not be enough to cover it. More about the analysis:

The voucher expansion bill, HB-1, was signed by Governor DeSantis at a Catholic School that carries a $15,400 cost for tuition, fees and textbooks per this article. The voucher based on 2022-2023 FEFP would be around $8,000. Florida's Constitution demands the state fund FREE schools. In some cases, the voucher money isn't going to schools that will be totally free to the student and in other cases the schools aren't high quality which is what our Florida Constitution also demands. See Florida's Constitution Article IX.

From the HB 5101 bill analysis under fiscal impact on page 15:

The bill conforms statutes to the FEFP proposed by the House of Representatives for Fiscal Year 2023-2024 which includes: $2.1 billion increase in total FEFP funding;  $823.9 million in state FEFP funding;

[Will the difference between the $4 Billion estimated cost and this extra $2.1 billion be taken out of the funding for the neighborhood public schools?]

More excerpts from the bill analysis:

The bill amends the calculation methodology of both the FES-EO and FES-UA scholarships as follows:  For the FES-EO scholarships [vouchers expanded in HB-1], the calculated amount is ... assigned as 100 percent of the funds per unweighted FTE in the FEFP plus a per FTE share of funds for the 0.748 Discretionary Millage Compression Supplement, State-Funded Discretionary Supplement, and the Supplemental Academic and Support Services Allocation. ... The FES-EO scholarship program [vouchers] is funded through the FEFP. Upon completion of the FTE membership surveys, the calculated amount of the scholarship is not recalculated when the FEFP is recalculated; rather the calculated scholarship amount is based upon the 1st calculation (GAA conference report) of the FEFP and is continued throughout the fiscal year. [What happens if the student leaves the private school and goes to the public school after that October count?] ... Repeals the following FEFP categoricals: Funding Compression and Hold Harmless; Sparsity Supplement; and Turnaround Supplemental Services Allocation; Instructional Materials; Mental Health Assistance Allocation; Reading Instruction Allocation; and Safe Schools Allocation; the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation; the Teacher Classroom Supply Assistance. The bill renames the DCD as the Comparable Wage Factor (CWF) and modifies its application by authorizing the use of the CWF in the calculation of the base FEFP funding only when a school district’s CWF is greater than 1.000. The bill also authorizes the application of the modified adjustment to any categorical provided in the FEFP that has a calculation methodology that includes the CWF. [What does that mean? Does it mean if the teachers are paid better in one county, that county gets less funding??]

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