Florida Appeals Court Strikes Down Voucher Law

A state appeals court struck down Florida’s 1999 voucher law, marking the third court decision finding the voucher program unconstitutional. The full 1st District Court of Appeals rules that the voucher law violates Florida’s constitution by allowing public funds to be spent on religious schools. “This is a big win for the people of Florida who believe in separation of church and state,” said Ron Meyer, the lead attorney for the opponents of the voucher program, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The contested Florida voucher program allows students attending failing public schools (or those schools that receive grades of “F” two or more years in a four-year period) to transfer to other public schools or to obtain vouchers to attend private schools, including religious schools. This is the smallest and oldest of Florida’s three voucher programs, which together allow 25,000 students to attend private schools using public funding. More than three-fourths of those students attend religious schools. “Giving tax money to religious schools clearly violates [Florida’s] constitution, and court after court has ruled that way,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “I hope Gov. Bush and state legislators get the message that you can’t force Florida taxpayers to support religion.” JOIN the Feminist Majority


Orlando Sentinel 11/13/04; Associated Press 11/13/04; Americans United 11/15/04

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