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Voucher bill heads to Scott's desk

A surprise procedural maneuver Friday helped Florida lawmakers pass one of the most controversial bills of the session.

Both the House and Senate gave final approval to a bill that would expand the school voucher program and create new scholarships for special-needs children.

The proposal will now head to Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it.

School choice advocates celebrated bill's passage — an unexpected end to a roller-coaster session.

"The House has made school choice a priority this year for Florida families," said House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who championed the bill. "With this bill, more kids will have the opportunity to reach their full potential."

But Joanne McCall, vice president of the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union, said she was disappointed.

"The members of FEA are chagrined by the continued march to expand voucher schools that are largely unregulated, don’t have to follow the state’s academic standards, don’t have to hire qualified teachers and don’t have to prove to the state that they are using public money wisely," she said.

McCall said it was "especially galling that the voucher expansion was tacked on to an unrelated bill on the final day of the session."

Read more here.

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