FL teachers union attack on poor, disabled student scholarships fails — for now

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Tens of thousands of economically disadvantaged students and many disabled school children can breathe a collective sigh of relief – for now.

A state judge threw out a teachers’ union-backed lawsuit Wednesday aimed at killing scholarship programs that afforded more than 60,000 kids the opportunity to attend private schools.

Chief Circuit Court Judge Charles Francis dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing.

It’s unclear whether the Florida Education Association will appeal.

The FEA and other plaintiffs argued that state lawmakers did not follow proper procedure when passing an education bill earlier this year.

By expanding Florida’s low-income scholarship program and including a new program for disabled students, the FEA said the Legislature improperly passed two items in one bill. The Florida Constitution contains a “single-subject” rule.

But the case was thrown out before the union’s argument could even be heard.

Notably, low-income scholarship awards do not use taxpayer money. Private donors, often corporations, receive tax credits for contributing to certified nonprofits charged with distributing scholarship funding.

A separate union lawsuit alleges the tax credit program is unconstitutional.

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By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog

Tom Tillison

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