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Florida school vouchers

The Florida Education Association is trying to drop the hammer on the State's tax credit scholarship program.
The teacher's union, joined by other public school advocates, says the program is unconstitutional and are now filing a lawsuit.

Here is the breakdown for our area of how many students are participating in the tax credit scholarship, according to Step Up for Students.
In Escambia County: 944 students
In Okaloosa County: 269 students
And in Santa Rosa County:131 students.

"What it's about is politicians trying to take money that should go to public schools" says Bill Vincent with the Escambia Education Association.
The state gives dollar for dollar tax breaks to corporations for providing the private school scholarships.

A similar state voucher program was struck down in 2006. 

"When you remove students from the system we then don't get the money from the state of Florida that helps them" says Vincent.

Shortly after the lawsuit was announced, school choice supporters made sure their voices were heard right outside of FEA's building.

Abigail Rodriguez is one of the nearly 70,000 children in the State receiving a private school voucher.
"The education in private school is so much more advanced, and not only that, we have the opportunity in private schools that we can learn more about God" says Abigail Rodriguez, a student at Potter's House Academy Student.
"The idea of separation of church and state and having tax dollars going to private religious institutions is not something that we believe is not something that we believe is a part of the us or state constitution" says Vincent.
Faith based learning as well as a lack of accountability are main issues that opponents have with the program.

"We also worry about those students who are taking those vouchers because they're going to school because they are going to schools that aren't necessarily held to the same accountability standards as public schools are" says Vincent.
It is estimated that nearly $450,000,000 from the State will be available for the program next year.