Some Dems help GOP push voucher funding draining public schools

James Bush (D) Opa Locka, Amika Omphroy (D) Sunrise, Patricia Williams (D) Ft. Lauderdale, Nicholas Duran (D) Miami

By Jodi Yonder, Contributor

TALLAHASSEE—Four House Democrats joined the Republican majority in pushing through a voucher expansion bill in the appropriations committee.

Representatives James Bush (D) Opa Locka, Amika Omphroy, (D) Sunrise, Patricia Williams (D) Ft. Lauderdale, and Nicholas Duran(D) Miami, approved legislation that not only allowed higher-income families to participate but grows students carved out of public school funding formulas.

Critics said this rush to fund the ” hollowing out” of public schools loads education funding accounts that parents can spend as they wish without enrolling their children in school.

“This is not to move money from the left pocket to the right pocket. It’s putting more money in the beneficiaries’ pocket,” according to bill sponsor Rep. Randy Fine, (R) Palm Bay.

It is a veritable free for all that pays short-lived profit schools with tax dollars.

According to critics, more than $1,500,000 is slated for allocation this year alone. They add that the House and Senate bills fuel the cottage industry surrounding the unregulated vouchers and choice schools where 60 percent of the students, most African Americans, return to public schools in two years or less.

Step Up for Students is a one-stop shop for those interested in opening schools for profit or parents looking for vouchers or school supplies like laptops and tablets. They can get it all online at Step Up for Students.  The misinformation and damage are particularly onerous for families of color who suffer the brunt of the voucher profiteering.

Florida has the dubious distinction of having the most extensive voucher system in America. And despite the consistent barrage of criticism, the intensified push to expand it has become a GOP obsession.

So much so that the naming of several merged scholarship programs is causing a contentious rift among Republicans. And public school advocates were disturbed by the Democrats joining the GOP quest that continues to drain public school coffers in the districts where their students attend.

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