Gainesville private school to increase enrollment amid DeSantis’ voucher expansion

DeSantis signed a bill that offers tax-payer funded vouchers to students to attend private school
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Private school students across the state could soon be getting more classmates, including the students at Gainesville Christian Community School.

Right now 226 students are enrolled at the school, but now that Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that offers tax-payer funded vouchers to students to attend private school, that number could rise.

“We’re building a 28,000 sq. foot gymnasium/classroom facility, which will allow us to double our enrollment and provide another 250 spots for new students,” said James Schrader, Principal.

Schrader said he is in favor of this new law.

“It’s exciting and intimidating because I think we will see a massive influx in our student body in the years to come.”

The bill, HB 1, eliminates the current financial eligibility restrictions and allows any Florida student K-12 to be eligible for a private school voucher.

Critics argue that because it gets rid of the income eligibility requirements, it would give wealthy people a handout they don’t need.

HB 1 states that the vouchers would be handed out through a system that prioritizes poverty-level income households:

“The bill also continues to prioritize awards to students with household incomes that do not exceed 185 percent of the federal poverty level while incorporating a second priority to award scholarships to students who live in households with incomes between 185 percent of the federal poverty level and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.”

One mother whose child attends Gainesville Christian Community School and has special needs, said she is in favor of school choice.

“My child does have special needs and she has blossomed since she’s been going here. I think a private school is a better way to go than public school,” said Takirah Washington.

Opponents have raised concerns over how the voucher program could negatively impact public schools.

This measure will become law on July 1, just in time for the new school year.

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