(DCWatchdog.com) – Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who many believe has his eyes on the White House, has signed a new bill that creates a universal school choice program, allowing families in the state to choose alternatives to public schools.
The Education Quality Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives sponsored House Bill 1.
The law sets up an Education Savings Accounts (ESA) program, which makes every family in the state eligible for up to $8,000 in funding for education expenditures outside the public school system, The Daily Caller reported.
The taxpayer-funded vouchers will be made available to families based on priority status. The first to receive them will be families of four earning less than $51,000 per year.
“The state of Florida is number one when it comes to education freedom and education choice,” Governor Ron DeSantis declared at a press conference earlier this week.
“Today’s bill signing cements us in that number one position because we will be signing legislation which will represent the largest expansion of education choice not just in the history of this state, but in the history of these United States,” he added.
Florida’s new universal school choice law makes all students who are “residents of the state” or “eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12” eligible for the Education Savings Accounts voucher.
The state’s previous school choice program, which 1.3 million students utilized, had limited eligibility. It was restricted to students with disabilities or from low-income families.
According to The Florida Voice, many students in the state were on waitlists for the previous program.
“With the governor’s support and signature today, Florida delivers the largest expansion of education freedom in our nation’s history, and that is something we should all be proud about,” Paul Renner, the GOP Speaker of the state House of Representatives, stated at the press conference on Monday.
DeSantis’s signing of House Bill 1 has made Florida the sixth state nationwide to have made its school choice program universal in the past two years.
Arizona was the first state to adopt universal school choice granting eligibility to all K-12 students under its former Republican Governor, Doug Ducey.
Earlier this month, on March 8, the GOP Governor of Arkansas, Sara Sanders, signed a new bill establishing a universal school choice program in the state by the 2025-2026 school year.
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