Agudath Israel of America expressed its profound disappointment at the decision of the Florida Education Association and others to challenge the state’s Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program in court. The statewide teachers union, together with the Florida School Boards Association, Florida PTA, and others announced today that they are joining together to deny low-income children the opportunity to attend the school of their choice.
Speaking at a press conference in Tallahassee this morning, Agudath Israel of Florida director Rabbi Moshe Matz said, “a lawsuit, filed just days before the beginning of the school year is nothing more than a shameful attempt to scare parents away from exercising their right to choose the school that best meets their child’s needs. This program should be lauded for giving educational opportunities to low-income children and expanded, not litigated.”
The scholarship program, enacted in 2001, is funded through corporate donations. Corporations are awarded dollar-for-dollar state tax credits for those contributions. Administered by Step Up for Students, the program has awarded nearly 400,000 scholarships since 2002 and is poised to serve approximately 67,000 low-income children this year, including more than 1,000 students choosing Jewish schools across Florida.
“We hope the courts will dismiss this ill-advised lawsuit” said executive vice president of Agudath Israel, Rabbi David Zwiebel, Esq., “and affirm the right of parents to choose the learning environment that best suits their child.”
Agudath Israel’s Florida office has been a longtime advocate for the scholarship program and will continue to do everything it can to ensure that thousands of low-income children retain their scholarships. Florida residents who wish to receive email updates on this important issue should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.