Independent and Government
The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program was created by State Legislature in 2001 and has been the continuing subject of various independent studies.
“Program participants are more likely to come from lower-performing public schools prior to entering the program. In addition, they tend to be among the lowest-performing students in their prior school, regardless of the performance level of their public school.”
“The typical student participating in the program tended to maintain his or her relative position in comparison with others nationwide. It is important to note that these national comparisons pertain to all students nationally, and not just low-income students.”
“The corporate income tax credit scholarship program produces a net savings to the state. We estimate that in Fiscal Year 2007-08, taxpayers saved $1.49 in state education funding for every dollar loss in corporate income tax revenue due to credits for scholarship contributions.”
In 2006, the State Legislature required that every scholarship student take a nationally norm-referenced test approved by the state Department of Education (DOE) every year. Those test scores are reported to a research team that is under contract with DOE to write an annual evaluation. Evaluations are currently done by researchers at the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University
In 2010, the State Legislature required that every school receiving more than $250,000 in any given year hire an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to file a financial report by Sept. 15. The report, formally called Agreed Upon Procedures, is intended to assure the money is used for education-related expenses.
A recurring question about the scholarship is whether it has a positive or negative financial impact on the rest of the public education system. The following reports attempt to answer that question.