Tallahassee, Fla.—In a decision issued today, the Florida Supreme Court ended a years-long lawsuit that included a challenge to the constitutionality of the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship and the McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities. The Institute for Justice (IJ) defended the programs on behalf of parents of scholarships students.
“Today, after years of uncertainty, parents of scholarship students in Florida can breathe a sigh of relief,” said IJ Attorney Ari Bargil, who argued in front of the Florida Supreme Court in the case. “The Court held that both programs were safe from constitutional attack because the challengers had not adequately preserved the arguments throughout the litigation.”
As a result of this decision, over 130,000 students in Florida are able to remain in the schools of their choice. “For years, this litigation was a cloud hanging over the educational futures of Florida students. With today’s decision, those children are free to continue attending the schools that their parents—and not the state—deem best-suited to their needs,” said IJ Senior Attorney Tim Keller, who was lead counsel on the case.
The parents represented by IJ were relieved to hear the news that their children would not have to change schools. “I am overjoyed that the Florida Supreme Court left these programs intact,” said Kenia Palacios, whose daughter is an FTC Scholarship recipient. “If the outcome had gone the other way, I don’t know what I would have done.”
The decision was equally important to Deaudrice Kitchen, whose children also use the FTC Program. “Decisions about how to educate our children should be left to parents, not the state,” said Deaundrice. “I am happy that I remain able to make basic decisions about how my children are educated.”