The Douglas County Board of Education has created a “Pilot Choice Scholarship Plan,” through which the Douglas County School District has authorized 500 students to use state, per-pupil educational funds that are earmarked for the public school system as vouchers to attend private schools. Most of the participating “Private School Partners” are religious, and these participating schools may discriminate on the basis of religion in both hiring and admissions.
The Florida Constitution prohibits the state from using taxpayer money to fund religious organizations or programs. During its 2011 session, the Florida legislature proposed an amendment to the Florida Constitution that not only would repeal this strict prohibition on public funding of religious institutions, but would also forbid Florida government bodies from denying public funding to religious institutions unless the U.S. Constitution prohibited the funding. The proposed amendment will become law if it is approved by Florida voters in the November 2012 general election.