Agudath Israel of Florida Applauds the Passage of a New Scholarship Bill

Rabbi Moshe Matz, Agudath Israel of Florida’s Executive Director, marching with Martin Luther King III and other school choice advocates, in a rally in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2016

The Florida State Legislature has passed a bill creating a new scholarship program to benefit low and middle income families. The Family Empowerment Scholarship would provide scholarships to families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level, greatly expanding on the eligibility levels of the existing Florida Tax Credit Scholarships.

This is important for the 13,000 Florida students who are currently waitlisted on existing scholarship programs. Many members of Florida’s Orthodox Jewish community have children benefiting from the Step Up for Students scholarships, but there are many more who are just above the current income limits or waitlisted.

Rabbi Moshe Matz, Agudath Israel of Florida’s executive director, has played an integral role in the school choice effort in the state for nearly fifteen years and this year was no different. Agudath Israel worked with the administration, many legislators and a wide coalition led by Step Up for Students and ExcelinEd in support of this monumental expansion of school choice. “This is an extraordinary achievement, and our coalition partners in Step Up for Students and ExcelinED deserve a lot of credit for their work on this,” said Rabbi Matz. “When the governor signs this bill it will make a tremendous difference in the lives of many Floridians.”

Noting with appreciation the leadership of key legislators in both houses of the state legislature, Rabbi Matz said, “Senate President Bill Galvano, Senator Manny Diaz, and Senator Kelli Stargel in the state senate have the thanks of Agudath Israel and the community it represents for this great achievement. In the House, Speaker Jose Oliva, as well as Representative Byron Donalds, Representative Chris Latvala, and Representative Jennifer Sullivan deserve appreciation for their support for this bill.” “Governor DeSantis has championed this legislation from its beginning and has made it a priority for his administration,” said Rabbi Matz. “Today, this achievement deserves to be celebrated, and Agudath Israel is looking forward to seeing the bill signed and implemented as soon as possible.” 

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