School Choice Programs Costs LCS $11.5 Million

School Choice Programs Costs LCS $11.5 Million

The general fund budget for Leon County Schools is being hit with an unanticipated $11.5 million decrease.

According to an item approved by Leon County School Board members on Tuesday, the decrease is the result of adjustments related to the Family Empowerment and McKay Scholarship school choice programs.

Last year the impact was significantly less – approximately $3 million.  

The state sanctioned scholarships provide opportunities for qualifying families to choose where they send their children to school.

For example, the McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities is providing nearly 30,000 Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school. The McKay Scholarship Program also offers parents the choice to transfer their eligible child to another public school.

The Family Empowerment Scholarship Program is designed to offer families of students with disabilities, as young as 3 years of age, access to additional education options. Families may choose to enroll their student in another public school, or they may take the opportunity to receive a personal education savings account (ESA) for their student. An ESA can be used to fund not only items such as private school tuition and fees, but also online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses and other approved customized learning services and materials.

In Leon County, the Family Empowerment Scholarships represents approximately 1,300 Student FTE, which equates to $10,945,603.  McKay Scholarships represent approximately 175 Student FTE, which equates to $2,005,286.  The students that are included in these numbers are reported under LCS, but the funds are allocated to the individual private schools, therefore, it is a reduction in the estimated funds the school district receives. 

The school district sets aside funds for these anticipated decreases, however, this year the actual FTE in these programs were much higher than what LCS had anticipated.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Leon County School Board Chairman Daryl Jones requested that Superintendent Hanna schedule a workshop focused on explaining the specific impact of these scholarships on LCS finances.

15 Responses to "School Choice Programs Costs LCS $11.5 Million"

  1. The same lament occurs every year when local school boards whine about Florida Public Charter Schools “stealing money” from their budgets. Clearly Board members do not read and/or understand state statutes. The biggest whiners are usually the Superintendents that have to explain where the money goes (went).

  2. We had to have a meeting last year with one of my children’s principal and teacher. There were a few things we were concerned about but the only thing that seemed to get their attention is when we mentioned taking our kids out of LCSB system. Money seems to be their motivation. By the way if anyone wants to see the AP Invoice Listing and other budget stuff for 20-21 I have a copy here:

  3. One way a lot of money is wasted in Leon County Schools is by a severe overage of administrators both at the school and district office level. For example, just a few years ago, Montford MIddle School had 5 administrators- one principal (if you can call him that), 3 assistant principals, and a dean. This is/was a total WASTE of money. None of the other middle schools had this luxury, especially in the struggling schools. It seems that whatever Montford wants, Montford gets. Oh, let us not forget that the Superintendent’s wife teaches there, too. The good ole boy system is still alive and well in the school district.

  4. Message to Steve: School choice is not costing Leon County schools a dime. The poor performance of the school district is what is causing it to lose support. Furthermore, as long as you are an apologist for Rocky Hannah, (I heard you on the radio last Thursday) Tallahassee Reports will fail to grow and gain readership.

    P.S. I’ll bet Rocky would like to have all that money he wasted on the school bus software about now.

  5. Just for S & Gs… School Choice does not “cost” LCS anything. It’s our tax dollars, not theirs. In this lay the problem. Instead of fighting School Choice, LCS should focus on becoming a choice. But they clearly do not have the leadership to recognize that reality.


  6. Forty years ago, McDonalds was great. Made good burgers and service was good. Then they started trying to compete with new products and both quality of products and service went into the crapper. Same with public schools. Stick to teaching reading, writing and arithmetic and not all the woke crap and indoctrination and maybe people will learn to like your product again.

  7. 11.5 Million. There is really no reason to reelect any current LCSB members that makes any logical sense whatsoever. None of them. They ALL gotta go.

  8. School choice is like a car choice. Customers (parents) will buy from the company (school) that offers the best value, quality and service for their dollar. Offer a better product, Rocky, and you won’t be loosing students.

  9. Wonder what percentage of the total budget this represents and how much does the District have in unrestricted fund balance?

  10. If the LCSB and the Teachers would do better Jobs teaching the Kids, maybe the Kids will come back and so would the money.

  11. “The general fund budget for Leon County Schools is being hit with an unanticipated $11.5 million decrease.”

    Why was this unanticipated? In addition to the appalling literacy rates and general ignorance of students (which has been going on for years), the students now have been subjected to oppressive mandates, CRT, and LGBT grooming.

  12. The moderate Democrats made a critical error in allowing the progressives, ultra liberals, and Woke uprising to overtake and create an unacceptable culture. Now they are waking up to the consequences of their actions. It will take them generations to recover if they recover at all.

    The great reckoning is coming in the midterm elections and not a moment too soon. Their cancel culture has cancelled themselves out.

  13. Every child needs to have he opportunity of a good education, but the should have full control about where, what, and by whom their children are taught. The government should have NO say in the matter. This is a fundamental natural right, and something that our founders should have addressed.

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