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School choice back in play in Florida


The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission (TBRC) has almost resurrected Opportunity Scholarships in Florida. Not satisfied with a little success, the TBRC followed this effort with a second entry to be placed on the November Ballot on school spending, by mandating 65% of school spending would be require to be spent in the classroom.

The TBRC meets once every 20 years to consider placing issues on the November Ballot to be considered for the Constitution. Much was expected on property insurance and property taxes, yet a surprise came last week with two educational reform measures passing the two-thirds threshold.

In 2006 the Florida Supreme Court ruled against the Opportunity Scholarships targeting low income Floridians. The court cited the rarely used Blaine Amendment calling for "uniformity" in school funding. The court held that despite non-uniformity in public education, Opportunity Scholarships violated this provision and relegated 1000 or more recipients of better education back to failing government schools.

But we are hopeful because two good issues will be on the ballot this November. Struggling students in failing schools may have hope again with Opportunity Scholarships.

Floridians have the unique opportunity to show the nation that Opportunity Scholarships will lead to a better education system for all Floridians.

A record pro-school choice vote would give us the opportunity to lead the nation on this important issue.