Step Up's Florida Tax Credit Scholarships are funded by companies that receive a tax credit for their donation. The Florida Legislature created this program and any change must be passed in a bill by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.
We need your help.
Organizations are facing an increasing challenge raising money for the scholarships, and need help with more funding options. Many of our state senators and representatives support educational options for our parents and children. Some do not. It’s up to us to make our voices heard. We hope you will share your views with lawmakers and others – and we’ll show you how.
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Below is a list of other scholarships and programs that might be a good fit for your child.
The Gardiner Scholarship program helps parents individualize the educational plans for their children with certain special needs.
The Gardiner Scholarship is different than other state scholarships in that it allows parents to personalize the education of their children with unique abilities by directing money toward a combination of programs and approved providers. These include schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology – even a college savings account.
In 2018, the Florida Legislature created the Hope Scholarship Program to give public school children in Florida relief from bullying and violence. The scholarship gives parents the opportunity to transfer their child to another K-12 public school with capacity within the school district, receive a scholarship to transport the student to a public school in another school district, or to request a scholarship for the student to attend an eligible private school. A qualifying incident must have taken place at a public K-12 educational institution, any school-related or school-sponsored program or activity, riding on the school bus or waiting at the school bus stop.
Qualifying incidents include battery; harassment; hazing; bullying; kidnapping; physical attack; robbery; sexual offenses, harassment, assault or battery; threat or intimidation; or fighting at school as defined by the Florida Department of Education in accordance with s. 1006.09(6).
In 2018, Florida became the first state to offer an education savings account program for students enrolled in public schools. The Reading Scholarship, administered by Step Up For Students, was created to help public school students in third through fifth grade who struggle with reading. The program offers parents access to educational savings accounts, worth $500 each, to pay for tuition and fees related to part-time tutoring, summer and after-school literacy programs, instructional materials and curriculum related to reading or literacy.
Charter schools are public schools of choice. They are very popular—and among the fastest growing school choice options in Florida. Charter schools are largely free to innovate, and often provide more effective programs and choice to diverse groups of students.
Magnet schools are district-run schools with a particular theme or academic focus, such as mathematics, science, technology, business, or performing arts. Magnet schools offer students specialized programs and create innovative learning approaches in a diverse environment. Some magnet programs require entrance exams or auditions to attend.
The McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities provides over 31,000 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school. The McKay Scholarship Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of an eligible special needs student may choose to transfer the student to another public school.
Florida's students can choose between several Internet-based schools. These schools offer both full-time and part-time virtual options for Florida students:
FLVS Full Time (FLVS FT) - operates two schools (grades K-5 and grades 6-12) to offer a full-time, grades K-12 public online program. These full-time virtual schools are school choice options for all students across the state. School districts and virtual charter schools may also contract with Florida Virtual School to provide the FLVS FT program to district school students.
FLVS Flex - operates three schools to offer a supplemental online option (online courses) for Florida students in grades K-12. It offers over 150 courses for grades K-12 students statewide.
K12 Online Virtual School - Tuition-free and online virtual public schools.
Connections Academy - Online public schools from home.
Home education, as defined by Florida law, is “sequentially progressive instruction of a student directed by his or her parent or guardian to satisfy the requirements of Statute 1003.21 and 1002.41.” The law is broad, giving parents quite a bit of freedom to direct their child’s education. Children of all ages are home-educated across the state, and many are entering college straight from their courses of study at home.
Copyright 2019, Florida Voices for Choices