McKay Scholarship bill withdrawn

Backers of a bill that would give Florida students with disabilities quicker access to state-funded vouchers for private schools say they need another year to work on the proposal.

Senate Bill 172, filed by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, was withdrawn from consideration last week.

The bill called for removing the rule that students spend a year in a Florida public school immediately prior to becoming eligible for the McKay Scholarship. Advocates support that provision whole-heartedly, but some feared potential complications between parents and school districts.

“We want to go back and rework it a little,’’ said Steve Hicks, president of the Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools, which presents private schools that accept the vouchers.

The plan is to gather stakeholders and meet during the year before presenting a new bill for the next legislative session, he said.

Sen. Diaz de la Portilla could not be reached for comment.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.