Florida's largest school-voucher program is unconstitutional because it redirects taxpayer money to religious schools and creates a separate system of state-funded schools, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Tallahassee by the teachers union and others.
The lawsuit challenges the Tax-Credit Scholarship Program, which this year is expected to pay private-school tuition for nearly 70,000 students from low-income families. About 70 percent of the participating private schools are religious.
The program is a "risky experiment," said Joanne McCall, vice president of the Florida Education Association and the lawsuit's lead plaintiff. It sends students to private schools that are "largely unregulated" and do not have to follow state academic standards, teacher-hiring requirements or accountability rules.