Legislative Report for Keys Dems 1-31-23

Tallahassee Capital Building

Dear Legislative Team Members, and all interested citizens
Thanks to the Democratic Public Education Caucus of Florida (DPECF), we have been sent the following link at Private School Directory (floridaschoolchoice.org) that contains all private schools in the state as compiled by the Florida DOE. For those of you who listened to the first House committee hearing yesterday on HB 1 School Choice, you heard Scott Hottenstein, President of DPECF, provide a powerful analysis of statewide data from this directory:
1. Out of the 3097 private schools, 2291 are unaccredited (74%)
2. 1086 of 3097 private schools are for profit (35%)
3. 1672 of 3097 are religious (54%)
4. 2311 of 3097 take vouchers of some sort
5. 1598 of 2311 voucher schools are unaccredited (69%)
6. 712 of 2311 voucher schools are for profit (31%)
7. 1332 of 2311 voucher schools are religious (58%)
8. There are only 63 voucher schools that are non profit, non religious, accredited schools (3% of voucher schools)
9. 590 voucher schools are nonprofit accredited (26%)

We are also beginning to see more information come out regarding the explosive financial costs of this bill–a fact that has been short-shrifted by the Republican leadership. Here is a background paper (Sept 2022) from the Florida Policy Institute (FPI) regarding the voucher program: 6329b87a0e04e4c9a1bf1492_2022_ELC_FloridaVoucherOverview_final.pdf (webflow.com)
Norín Dollard, a senior research analyst at FPI, was also recently quoted in the Tampa Bay Times about HB 1 and said, “Conservative back-of-the-napkin math suggests that if just 25% of the newly eligible students participate, and those currently in the program remain, the added cost would reach $600 million. As participation grows, the total could approach $4 billion or more within five years.” (https://www.tampabay.com/news/education/2023/01/25/florida-republicans-push-vouchers-all-dont-say-how-pay-them/). 
We have been promised more forthcoming information from the FPI and updated information from DPECF that will be passed along to all of you when it comes. In the meantime, this information can be used to educate others at your club meetings, in letters-to-the-editor, town halls, house parties, etc. GET ON IT! This anti-democratic bill is fast-tracked to move fast. We have no time to waste.

Jean Siebenaler