Twenty-eight hundred private school students, their parents and teachers were at the Florida capitol Tuesday to rally support for the corporate scholarship program, and Gov. Jeb Bush agreed that changes to the state's voucher system are necessary.
Nearly 3,000 students, parents and teachers were bused to the capitol to support the corporate scholarship program. The program allows companies to send their corporate tax payments to scholarship organizations that in turn hand out $3,500 checks to private schools for low-income parents like Loretta Colfer.
Speaking in Spanish, one mother told the crowd her son's turnaround in private school was dramatic, but the program has been plagued with accountability problems and no state oversight.
Even the governor says that must change.
"But we won't do it in a way that limits the possibility's of a burgeoning private school system that is an equal part, an equal partner with our public school system," says Gov. Bush.
With the voucher program under intense scrutiny newspaper ads have been running across the state, but critics continue to say the plan undermines public schools.
"By taking money out of the public schools for that few, what are you leaving for the children? What we need to be doing is strengthening public education," says Sen. Frederica Wilson, (D) Miami.
The cost of bussing everyone in was picked up by two national non-profit organizations. Both organizations refused to disclose the money they spent.
Thirteen thousand kids received vouchers this year and organizers say there are 20,000 more on the waiting list.