Florida Politics | by Renzo Downey | May 25, 2021
Conservatives have long touted school choice.
Americans for Prosperity-Florida has launched an ad campaign praising Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing a recent school choice expansion.
The ad, a 30-second video airing on television and online, thanks the Governor for signing the school voucher bill (HB 7045) and encourages him to continue supporting school choice. AFP-FL, the state branch of a libertarian advocacy group, spent six figures on the ad, which is running statewide.
Under the expansion, a family of four earning less than $100,000 a year would be eligible for the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program, a low-income grant originally created in 2019. The bill also increases voucher amounts from 95% to 100% for students in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, Family Empowerment Scholarship and Hope Scholarship Program.
“Governor DeSantis is fighting for all Florida students. He has enacted policies that will give parents the freedom to choose the educational opportunity that best fits their child’s needs,” said AFP-FL State Director Skylar Zander. “Our Americans for Prosperity activists across the state and Florida families thank the Governor for his dedication to giving more kids the opportunity and tools to succeed.”
AFP-FL has backed the legislation since April, soon after lawmakers filed a version of the school choice bill in the Senate.
The ad argues DeSantis prioritized students by creating individualized educational options and giving students more freedom.
“Our children now have the opportunity to access an education that fits their unique needs, and it’s working. Thank Governor DeSantis and urge him to continue working to ensure Florida’s future remains full of sunshine for our students,” the ad concludes.
Florida Republicans have long championed school choice. Parents, they contend, can best determine a child’s unique educational needs.
Democrats, however, criticized the bill for eliminating programs originally serving students with special needs while using public funds to boost private schools rather than public schools. Republicans counter that the program empowers parents, giving them free choice of where to send their children.
Brevard County Republican Rep. Randy Fine sponsored the bill, while Hialeah Republican Sen. Manny Díaz shepherded the Senate version. The law takes effect July 1.