In January 2023, the Florida House proposed a universal private education voucher program that would bring the state’s voucher system to a scale far beyond its recent dramatic expansion. High-income families, current private school students, and homeschooled students would be newly eligible for vouchers under the proposed law. Even under conservative estimates, Florida Empowerment Scholarship (FES) vouchers would cost the state about $4 billion dollars in the initial year of HB1 implementation. Without additional state revenue added to school district budgets, funding for public school districts would drop over $900 per pupil, from $4,175 to $3,261 per pupil in state aid in the first year. The Florida Senate bill, SB202, mirrors this original version of HB1.
In February 2023, a proposed committee substitute for HB1 was approved, including an estimate of $210 million for the initial year of implementation. The FPI/ELC cost estimates of the revised HB1 compared to the House fiscal analysis can be found here.
In March 2023, Governor DeSantis signed HB1 into law effective for the 2023-24 school year after it was approved by the House and Senate.
View current and estimated number of students and costs for vouchers by district.
Over the past four years, Florida has seen tremendous growth in the amount of public funds being spent on private education. In 2022-23, an estimated $1.3 billion in funding will be redirected from public school districts to private education, representing 10% of state education funds allocated through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP), the state’s school funding formula. The diversion of funding from district budgets to private school vouchers can have a substantial negative impact on school budget planning. Many Floridians are likely unaware of the financial impact being placed upon public school districts and the way these voucher programs are affecting the availability of their tax dollars for public education.