Florida House panel to take up school voucher plan

Moving quickly, a House panel next week will take up a proposal that could lead to a major expansion of school vouchers in Florida. 

The House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee is scheduled Jan. 26 to take up the bill (HB 1), which is sponsored by subcommittee Chairwoman Kaylee Tuck, R-Lake Placid. House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, held a news conference Thursday to release the proposal, which would make every student in Florida eligible for vouchers and essentially set up what are known as education savings accounts. 

Tuck said the proposal would allow parents to create a "customized and tailored education system that fits best for their students." 

But the proposal drew criticism from Democrats, with House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, calling it a "continuation of Republican attacks on our public education system that helped create the American Dream by providing education to the poor and rich alike." The House will hold committee and subcommittee meetings over three days next week as it continues preparing for the annual legislative session, which will start March 7.