School Choice Law
Mr. Woodring has been involved in litigation defending school choice for the past 18 years, with cases reaching both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Florida Supreme Court. School Choice remains one of the most important and heated areas of education law in Florida and around the country. Because school choice has the potential to help many students and parents that are not well served by traditional public schools, it has grown more and more popular. Choice legal issues basically break down into two categories:
Charter schools continue to rapidly expand, with almost 700 charter schools now operating in Florida, and charters now operating in over 40 other states. Charter schools are public schools, held accountable for results, free from many, but not all of of the legal restrictions that accompany traditional public schools. All Florida Charter Schools are operated by not-for-profit boards separate from the local school district. Just recently, the Florida Legislature authorized virtual charter schools, so we now represent both bricks and mortar and virtual charter schools. Please check out our Charter School page for more information.
Scholarships or Vouchers
We have some of the role most robust tax credit scholarship and voucher programs in the country in the State of Florida. The Florida tax credit scholarship program now provides educational options for over 80,000 poor, mostly minority students that now have the opportunity to attend over 1500 private schools in the State of Florida. The McKay scholarship program provides options for tens of thousands of students with disabilities, allowing them to attend private schools that their parents have determined are best for their children with special needs. And the newest voucher program in the Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA), a newly created scholarship program that allows parents to provide services off of a the diverse menu to students with significant disabilities. And, last but not least is the state of Florida’s VPK program that provides a scholarship the parents of 4-year-old’s to attend mostly private but also public programs that qualify to provide VPK services. See the services we provide in the VPK area here.
We can handle matters concerning private schools and providers eligibility for students participating in these voucher or tax credit programs- there are a number of statutory and rule requirements for eligibility and participation in these state scholarship programs.
There are other public school choice program’s, such as magnet schools or district-wide choice, but for the most part we do not provide legal services to parents in regular public programs, because the cost of providing services usually outweighs the benefit.