Florida's school choice programs ensure that no child will be left behind by allowing parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provided over 19,850 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school during the 2014-15 school year. The McKay Scholarships Program also offers parents public school choice. A parent of a special needs student who is dissatisfied with the student’s current school may choose to transfer the student to another public school.
"The school-choice issue is not about public versus private; it's about choice. It's about knowing what works well for my family and being able to make that choice for them." -- Parent of a McKay Scholarships Student
The scholarship amount is the state maximum amount or the private school tuition and fees, whichever is less. The scholarship amount is divided into four quarterly payments for the school year. If the intent is filed or the student is enrolled after a deadline, the student will not be eligible to receive that quarter’s scholarship payments but will have met the deadline to receive payment the next quarter.
Step Up Scholarships
In 2001, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (income-based scholarship) to assure that low-income children have learning options. Under the law, the scholarships are based on financial need, not how well your child does in school.
Students learn in different ways and parents need to find the best school for each child. Sometimes that means another public school in a different neighborhood or sometimes that means a private school. Step Up For Students exists to help low-income families enjoy all of those options.
With the income-based scholarship, families can choose between two options:
A scholarship to help cover private school tuition and fees, worth up to $5,272.
A scholarship to assist with transportation costs to attend a public school in a different county, worth up to $500.